Manchester Tier 3 lockdown talks continue as stalemate reigns

Talks between Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Westminster over Manchester’s entry into Tier 3 coronavirus lockdown continue after a weekend stand-off.

The Government has been pushing Burnham to accept the restrictions, with first Chancellor Michael Gove then Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick both suggesting the Government could enforce the restrictions themselves if a deal is not made.

But Burham is yet to fold, telling Sky News he was “not just going to roll over at the sight of a cheque”, as he pushed for more financial compensation for those affected by greater lockdown restrictions.

Under Tier 3 restrictions, people would not be able to meet or mix with people outside of their household or support bubble, even in most outdoor spaces.

Pubs and bars must also close unless they are operating as a restaurant, and alcohol may only be served as part of a meal.

Comparatively, in Tier 2, the ‘Rule of Six’ applies in all outdoor spaces meaning households can mix outside, and pubs and bars can remain open.

Burnham had previously suggested that the Prime Minister was exaggerating the problems that Manchester faced, as the infection rate for the city fell slightly to 458 cases per 100,000.

But NHS data revealed to Sky News and the Guardian that two of the region’s 12 hospitals were operating at full capacity, with an average of 82% ICU capacity being used.

The news comes even as Greater Manchester MP Yasmin Qureshi had to been admitted to hospital with pneumonia following a positive coronavirus test.

Burnham also penned an open letter to Boris Johnson yesterday, calling for a cross-party consensus on what a financial compensation framework should look like for those in Tier 3 restrictions.

The letter, which you can read in full here, calls for a return to the 80% furlough scheme both for employed and self-employed individuals, as well as additional support for businesses.

Talks are expected to continue today, with Jenrick suggesting the deal needs to be struck by the end of Tuesday, or the Government will step in.

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