“A deliberate act of levelling down”: Burnham slams Government as Tier 3 support talks fail

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has hit out at the Government after talks over a support package for entering Tier 3 restrictions collapsed without a deal.

Mr Burnham, who has spent 11 days with fellow GM leaders locked in talks with the Government, said that he had requested a minimum of £65 million to support those who would be affected by the restrictions.

However, the Government only offered £60m in support, causing negotiations to fall apart, and offers of financial support withdrawn.

Boris Johnson announced that Greater Manchester will enter Tier 3 restrictions from midnight on Friday.

Mr Burnham said: “It cannot be right to close people’s place of work, to shut somebody’s business, without giving them proper support.”

Leaders in Greater Manchester requested the financial support to protect the livelihoods of those who would be out of work due to Tier 3 restrictions.

Earlier today, Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, advised the Prime Minister that the talks with leaders from Greater Manchester had broken down.

Mr Jenrick said: “The mayor of Greater Manchester has been unwilling to take the action that is required to get the spread of the virus under control in Greater Manchester and reach an agreement with the government.”

The Government offered Greater Manchester a support package worth £60 million, which was £5m short of the minimum support requested by the region’s leaders.

Mr Burnham said: “What we’ve seen today is a deliberate act of levelling down.”

Labour Leader Keir Starmer said: “The collapse of talks with local leaders in Greater Manchester is a sign of Government failure.

“The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt.”

Mr Burnham said: “We will carry on fighting for you, we will carry on putting your health first.

“But health is more than the virus. We will support people’s health in the broadest possible sense. Tough days lie ahead. Please look out for each other, as I know you will.”

The Prime Minister, in a Downing Street briefing, did not answer a question from the BBC’s Vicki Young asking if Greater Manchester would still get the £60m on offer this morning.

Despite that, MPs across Greater Manchester have reportedly been told that the region would get just the £22m on offer.

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