The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said he will encourage council leaders to take a "pragmatic" approach to negotiations over business support for the region as it enters Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions. The Government is now asking the city region’s council leaders to negotiate individually, after talks over a package for the whole area broke down without a deal.
The mayor wanted a minimum of £65 million in financial support for his region before new restrictions were imposed. After some confusion last night, today the Government confirmed £60m is still available.
In an interview with ITV Granada Reports, Andy Burnham said "whatever way the Government now wants to work with Greater Manchester I hope we’ll all find a way of making it work."
Why could Lancashire reach a deal, but Greater Manchester couldn't?
The mayor said he had "given it everything" over the last few weeks, admitting that last night’s outcome felt like a failure after he was unable to secure the support he wanted for businesses and workers in the region.
But Andy Burnham denied claims from some Conservative MPs that he has placed his "own ego" above his responsibility to the people of Greater Manchester.
'Do you accept that you got anything wrong in your approach?'
Asked whether he had got anything wrong during the talks, Mr Burnham also questioned whether he was right to tell BBC Question Time that the Government was "treating the North with contempt" while negotiations were ongoing.
But he said he felt compelled to "take a stand" for the North of England, and has "no regrets" about the decision to campaign against the Government’s Tier 3 restrictions being imposed on the region.
'Did you have a role in making Tier 3 anxiety worse?'
The row between the Government and Andy Burnham took more than a week to resolve. But he said he hoped that by speaking up he has helped people to feel less frightened about what he says is a ‘winter of hardship’ to come.
You can watch the full extended interview with ITV Political Correspondent Hannah Miller here: