Supported by leaders across the region, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is continuing the fight against the region being designated a Tier 3 – Very High Level – area without additional financial support.
Tier 3 would introduce greater restrictions, with some businesses forced to close, in an effort to stem the rise in coronavirus cases.
He has warned that he will bring legal action if such measures are imposed but yesterday talks led by Mr Burnham and Greater Manchester leaders appear to have stalled.
Speaking yesterday evening, and clearly angry, Andy said that the region is fighting back for fairness and will continue to stand firm with local leaders unanimously opposed to moving to tier 3.
“Ministers “are asking us to gamble our residents’ jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work. Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coal mine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed.
“This is an important moment. Greater Manchester will stand firm. We are fighting back for fairness and for the health of our people in the broadest sense.”
Andy is arguing instead for a “circuit-breaker” approach – a short, limited lockdown – to bring the virus under control. View the full speech from Andy on the BBC
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said:
“Ultimately we need to take action” warning that the Government can’t have a situation where the government is held over a “barrel over money and politics.”
He urged Andy Burnham to do the “right thing by the people of Manchester.
Mr Raab said the government would “hold in reserve the ability” to impose stricter restrictions.