Greater Manchester to face stringent restrictions as leaders fail to agree deal

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor
·3-min read

Greater Manchester will be placed under stricter coronavirus controls after talks between the Government and civic leaders concluded without an agreement.

The region’s mayor Andy Burnham held last-ditch talks with the Prime Minister earlier on Tuesday aimed at securing additional financial support for his consent on new restrictions.

But Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the discussions have concluded “without an agreement” and accused the mayor of being “unwilling to take the action that is required”.

Pubs and bars will be closed, unless they are serving substantial meals, for a 28-day period, along with betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas.

The measures are expected to come into effect at 00.01 on Saturday.

Mr Jenrick said in a statement: “I’m disappointed that despite recognising the gravity of the situation, the mayor 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.

“I have therefore advised the Prime Minister that these discussions have concluded without an agreement.”

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

The Cabinet minister issued Greater Manchester leaders an ultimatum on Monday night warning that if a deal could not be reached by midday then the Government would have to act.

The Government offered £55 million but Greater Manchester demanded £65 million, a source said.

Whitehall increased its offer to £60 million but Mr Burnham refused to budge, leaving Government sources accusing him of “intransigence”.

“It was his pride that got in the way of striking a deal,” a Government source said.

It is not yet clear how much financial support the region will receive.

Mr Burnham is due to respond in a press conference at 4pm.

The new measures could lead to the closure of more than 1,800 pubs and 140 wine bars, as well as 277 betting shops and 12 casinos, according to the real estate adviser Altus Group.

In other developments:

– Downing Street said talks are continuing with local leaders in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber about further coronavirus restrictions.

– Official figures showed the number of weekly registered coronavirus deaths has risen beyond 400 and increased by a third in the space of seven days.

– Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for the 10pm curfew in the capital to be scrapped now the city is under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.

– Test subjects could be exposed to the new coronavirus in controlled settings from January in a bid to speed up vaccine development, officials confirmed.

– Number 10 confirmed that, under Tier 2 and 3 rules on household mixing, people can still meet up for work meetings indoors under certain circumstances.