Andy Burnham given midday deadline to break the region’s Tier 3 stalemate

Leaders across the region have been given until midday today to reach a decision on Tier 3 restrictions – or risk facing intervention from Westminster.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been battling the tougher lockdown restrictions for 10 days as he fights for a better financial package for the region.

If a deal is not reached by 12pm today, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said PM Boris Johnson would decide the next steps.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the “implication” was the top tier of rules would be imposed.

Burnham told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he would be meeting local leaders this morning to set out their request to the government.

He admits he is asking for a “fair figure” of support.

The leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said he still hoped it would be possible to reach an agreement.

He told BBC2’s Newsnight: “I am hoping that tomorrow (Tuesday) morning we will be able to sit down again with ministers and come to an agreement which will serve the best interests of the people of Manchester.

“Clearly if Government imposes Tier 3 – and I hope that won’t happen – we will clearly need to comply with that.”

As well as the financial wrangle, Burnham is also battling the tougher lockdown as he says there is no proof it will work to stem the rise in Coronavirus cases.

He told Sky news: “All of the experts – chief medical officer, chief scientific adviser, the deputy chief medical officer – every single one of them has said to us they are not certain Tier 3 will work.

“The only way it’s got a chance of working is if you fully fund it so that lots of things can close so that they can have the maximum impact.

“The problem with the Government strategy is it isn’t doing that, it’s trying to penny pinch on Tier 3.

“That’s the problem, I don’t think its own strategy will work. It’s not backing itself to make its strategy work.”

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