Northern leaders stand firm against Tier 3 restrictions without proportional support

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Manchester and North East leaders stand firm against Government Tier 3 restrictions without proportional support

Related tags Coronavirus lockdown Manchester North east

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said he will not back plans to raise the region's Coronavirus alert level without a comprehensive package in place to help protect businesses.

It was reported earlier today​ (15 October) that both Greater Manchester and Lancashire were set to join the Liverpool City Region in the 'very high' risk tier, which would see pubs and bars in both areas ordered to close and social mixing between households will be banned indoors and outdoors.

However, in a statement this afternoon, Burnham confirmed that following a series of meetings with Government minsters, local Manchester leaders had rejected Westminster's 'flawed and unfair' proposals.

He said that imposing tougher restrictions of the region would only work if it were accompanied by proper compensation, including an 80% furlough scheme for employees of businesses forced to close.

The Government has announced it will make a further wave of furlough support available, which will cover two-thirds of workers’ wages up to £2,100, but this has been slammed​ by both industry voices and Conservative MPs for not going far enough.

Burnham said Greater Manchester was standing firm and fighting back for its people.

"They 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 say will not work," he said.

"If the Government is convinced this approach will work, [then] they have to back that properly, fully financially, so it will have a chance."

Meanwhile, Gateshead council leader Martin Gannon has said that leaders in the North East have met and agreed they will also oppose the Government’s plans to place the region in Tier 3.

He confirmed that the leaders of Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham held a meeting at 10am and agreed their opposition, stating that the current set of measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus were working and needed more time.

From Saturday, London's Coronavirus alert level will be raised from 'medium' to 'high' this weekend in a move that 'could be the death knell' for thousands of hospitality businesses.

The decision, which was confirmed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier today, will mean households across the capital will be barred from mixing in any indoor setting including pubs, restaurants and bars.

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