Watch: Moment Andy Burnham is told on live TV about Tier 3 lockdown
This is the moment Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham finds out on live TV that his region has been forced into a Tier 3 lockdown – with a financial package £43m less than he was asking for.
Burnham was given the news while holding a televised press conference in Manchester, shortly before Boris Johnson held his own briefing in Downing Street confirming the move to Tier 3 – the most severe category in the local lockdown system.
After seeing the message, and finding out Greater Manchester would get a support package of £22m, Burnham said: “It’s brutal, to be honest. This is no way to run the country in a national crisis. It isn’t. This is not right.
“They should not be doing this, grinding people down, trying to accept the least they can get away with. £22m to fight the situation we are in is frankly disgraceful.”
Johnson later said the £22m funding would be part of a “comprehensive package of support”.
Burnham had demanded a minimum package of £65m to prevent a “winter of real hardship”. The government is said to have offered £60m before talks collapsed.
He said: “I could not make it work on what the government was offering. And that was why the negotiations fell back.
“But if the government put £60m on the table, I mean, surely, if they are taking that off again, is that a game of poker? Are they playing poker with places? And people’s lives through a pandemic? Is that what this is about?”
Johnson said of the negotiations: “Over the last 10 days we tried to get an approach with local leaders in Greater Manchester. Unfortunately an agreement wasn’t reached and I do regret this.
“As I said last week, it would have been better and we would have a better chance of defeating the virus if we work together.”
He said that, in addition, the government “made a generous and extensive offer to support Manchester business” but “the mayor didn’t accept this unfortunately and given the public health situation I must now proceed with moving Greater Manchester to the very high alert [Tier 3] level.”
Whitehall insiders also accused Labour mayor Burnham of “intransigence” and claimed his “pride” had scuppered a deal.
Leading Labour MPs reacted furiously to the package. Deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted: “Disgraceful, a punishment nothing else.”
She labelled the government “vindictive and nasty”.
Fellow frontbencher Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, posted: “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.”
She added: “The government appears to be waging war on the people of Greater Manchester.”
Some 2.8 million people will be under the Tier 3 restrictions when they come into force on Friday.
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 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.
Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?