The government has been accused of “waging war” against Greater Manchester after the region’s mayor found out from the media that it had been put in Tier 3 lockdown.
Boris Johnson has imposed tough coronavirus restrictions on Greater Manchester after talks with the region ended in acrimony and chaotic scenes.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham was giving a press conference on Tuesday when he discovered the government had refused to meet his demand for £65m to support the livelihoods of people in the region as they face the closure of pubs, bars, bookmakers and other premises.
Burnham, the former Labour cabinet minister, was shown a phone screen by Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese that appeared to suggest the area would be put into tier 3 at 12.01am on Friday, and Burnham was told the message said ”£20m only and they’re going to try to pick off individual councils”.
“It is brutal. This is no way to run the country in a national crisis,” Burnham said after a pause.
“Grinding people down. Try to get people to accept the least they can get away with.”
It was unclear how much money the region would get.
Addressing reporters, Burnham said leaders of the authorities in Greater Manchester had originally wanted £90m – £15m a month until the end of the financial year – to protect incomes for people forced out of work.
They reduced that sum eventually to £65m, but ministers would only offer £60m.
The prime minister then confirmed a £22m sum as he announced the new restrictions at a Downing Street press conference, and repeatedly dodged questions about what additional support the region would get – if any.
In ten years in Parliament I’ve never seen anything like this. MPs are on a call with the Health Secretary being told Greater Manchester is getting only £22m while our Mayor is at a press conference being told by the media. This is bad faith, it’s immoral - just disgraceful
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) October 20, 2020