MANCHESTER is set to finally go into a Tier 3 lockdown today – but Boris Johnson and Andy Burnham are still haggling over millions of pounds of extra cash for the area.
The PM and Manchester Mayor held a last-minute phonecall this lunchtime to try and break the deadlock and seal a deal in order for the city to go into the highest level of restrictions.
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The city was last night dramatically given a deadline of midday today to agree to a deal or have the restrictions forced upon them by the Government – which has now passed.
Boris Johnson will give a press conference this afternoon at 5pm where it's expected he will announce more restrictions will come for the Northern City.
The pair have held last minute phonecalls this lunchtime to try and hammer out a deal – but they are still £50million apart.
Manchester Council leaders have today confirmed they are asking for £75m in extra cash help – but leaders have only offered £22million so far.
No10 said they were looking at how to bridge the gap but that £22million was a starting point – at around £8 a head for "contact tracing, complicance and enforcement".
A spokesperson said: "What we have been looking at in addition to that is significant packages of support for the local economy.
"You can see that is something we have been in discussions with leaders in Greater Manchester about."
Earlier Mr Burnham finally admitted he would accept the higher lockdown – despite case numbers falling in parts of the city.
The Mayor said he would ask people to obey the law if he was ordered into the next set of restrictions – and warned tier three rules are coming for everyone this winter.
This is despite the latest figures showing Manchester, Trafford and Stockport showing a decline in their weekly figures – down 17 per cent, six per cent and six per cent for the week ending October 15.
Other parts of the area – with a total of 2.8million people – have seen rising cases, however.
Rochdale has seen a sharp 17 per cent rise, followed by Wigan with 13 per cent in the last week.
Manchester's overall rate is down from 583 cases per 100,000 at the peak, to around 353 yesterday.
This morning Mr Burnham stressed he would accept the decision if he had to, but he was still fighting for extra cash help for businesses – and warned of a mental health crisis on the cards.
He told BBC News: "We would ask people to obey the law, we are quite clear about that…. [but] I can’t just accept more and more and more restrictions, that causes health harm in a different way.
"We will say to people you have to obey the law of the land."
But he warned that imposing new rules without his backing may not win the support of the public.
Mr Burnham claimed he was fighting for a financial deal not just for Manchester but for the whole country, as "I would predict that all areas will end up in tier 3 throughout the winter".
He has also argued that a new shielding system should be used instead for the mots vulnerable – before going for more additional restrictions for the whole area.
Meanwhile, local MPs were furious with the discussions with the Government.
Manchester MP Lucy Powell said the Government response to Greater Manchester on Tuesday morning was an "insult".
She tweeted: "Where to start with government response to GM this am:
"- Not good faith discussion but only 2 ministerial meets.
"- Been in Tier 2 since July when our rates lower than lowest regions today.
"- Rates are falling in Mcr and stabilising across region.
"- £7.85/person offer is insult."
Labour's Andrew Gwynne said today: "Why does this government hate Greater Manchester?" accusing ministers of offering less than they did to their own areas.
But Rishi Sunak hit back, saying MPs need to act in a "constructive spirit".
He vowed: "Greater Manchester is being treated exactly the same as every part of our UK. These are national support schemes."
The Manchester Mayor and Westminster Government have been locked in a furious fight for days over extra new rules for the area.
He wants the Chancellor to pay more towards people's wages than the two thirds he has promised so far, for firms that have to close.
Bars and pubs which don't serve food, and gyms and other indoor areas in some areas have been ordered to shut to stop coronavirus from spreading.
Mr Burnham said he thought shielding of elderly and vulnerable people in Greater Manchester needed to be "looked at seriously" and suggested it was "part of the solution".
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Radio 4's Today programme today a deal needed to be struck or hospitals could be at risk.
He said: "We have been negotiating in good faith for 10 days with Andy Burnham and other local leaders in Greater Manchester.
"By the first week of November, if the trajectory continues at the rate it is at the moment, they will run out of ICU capacity in Greater Manchester.
"That is something we should both focus on, set politics aside.
"We have said to Andy and other local leaders that we will put £22 million into help for Greater Manchester, £8 per capita."
Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned swathes of South and West Yorkshire — including Sheffield and Leeds — could be placed in Tier 3 this week.
Chunks of the North East and Nottinghamshire were put on a similar timetable.
It means that than 21million Brits are set to fall under tougher lockdown rules within weeks.
A third of the country faces the highest Tier 3 restrictions or “circuit-breaker” closures.
That is on top of 2.7million already in Tier 3 in Merseyside and Lancashire, along with 3.4million people in Scotland and 1.9million in Northern Ireland.
Tonight, Downing Street insisted it would persist with a localised approach.
A spokesman for Boris Johnson said: “We keep all of our measures under review but the PM has made very clear that he doesn’t want a return to something like a national lockdown and believes our three-tiered approach is the right way forward.”
Mr Hancock told MPs: “Following the introduction of measures in Liverpool and Lancashire, talks continue with Greater Manchester, and this week further discussions are planned with South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside.”
The leader of Hartlepool Borough Council had a forthright message for anyone suggesting the town should be placed in Tier 3.
Shane Moore tweeted on Monday evening: "Apparently it was announced in the House of Commons earlier that there were talks happening in relation to #Hartlepool & wider #TeesValley going into Tier 3.
"This is untrue.
"No talks with us since update on Friday & if anyone suggests it to me this week they'll be told to sod off."
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