Boris Johnson is “punishing” Greater Manchester by cutting £60m in government lockdown support cash to £22m because local leaders rejected the deal, MPs have said.
The prime minister faced anger from Tory and Labour MPs after he confirmed at a Downing Street press conference he would intervene and impose tier 3 restrictions on the area with just £22m offered to help struggling firms.
Labour MPs branded the deal an “utter disgrace” and said Johnson “appears to be waging war on the people of Greater Manchester” during the Covid-19 crisis.
It comes after talks with mayor Andy Burnham and other local leaders had collapsed on Tuesday, and the area will now see pubs, betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres, and soft play areas shut down.
Earlier, at a press conference in Manchester flanked by other council leaders, Burnham said the city faced a “winter of real hardship”.
The former health secretary said Johnson was behind a “deliberate act of levelling down”, adding that city officials had calculated £65m was “needed” but Downing Street had offered just £60m.
Johnson, however, appeared to confirm just £22m of business support would go to the city, leading to a string of claims Johnson had turned his back on the area’s residents. Conservative MP Chris Green, who represents Bolton West, was among the Conservatives angry with the government over the new lockdown.
He wrote on Facebook: “The government believes that three weeks of closing pubs and soft play centres will make a dramatic difference. It hasn’t and it won’t.
“I am disappointed that this lockdown has been imposed and I don’t believe the science supports this action. I think the health and economic impact will be damaging to our community but we have to do all we can to respect these rules since they have been imposed.