Manchester chief exposes 'disgraceful' deal on live TV by reading from his phone


Details of the government’s “disgraceful” cash offer for Greater Manchester emerged on live TV in chaotic scenes.

Local leaders discovered midway through their own press conference that a £60m pot, which had been offered for going into Tier 3 lockdown, had been taken off the table.

Instead Greater Manchester will only get a separate £22m pot for testing, tracing and communications – which works out at just £8 a head – which was on offer from the start.

The revelations cut off metro mayor Andy Burnham midway through an address to locals and the media, and left him visibly furious.

As onlookers booed and shouted “disgraceful”, he said: “This is no way to run the country in a national crisis. 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 that we are in is frankly disgraceful”.

Andy Burnham raged: “This is no way to run the country in a national crisis. This is not right. They should not be doing this”

It comes as Greater Manchester will be forced into a Tier 3 lockdown against its will this Friday after Downing Street walked out of talks in a spat over just £5million.

Mr Burnham accused the government of “playing poker with people’s lives” and a “deliberate act of levelling down.”

He revealed he had asked for pot of £90m to help stricken workers and businesses, on top of a standard £22m pot for testing and tracing and local communications.

READ  Nurses call on Boris Johnson to turn applause for NHS into immediate pay rise

In negotiations he cut the plea for that second pot to £75m, then £65m – but the government would only offer £60m, which he said was not enough.

And after talks fell through, Boris Johnson tonight said the region will for now be given only the £22m that was originally on the table.

In chaotic scenes, Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese read out apparent details of the settlement from his phone midway through the press conference.

Boris Johnson claimed he couldn’t do a deal with the region that was “out of kilter” with those agreed elsewhere

He said MPs had been told the lockdown would begin at 12.01am on Friday, be “£20m only and they are going to try to pick off individual councils”.

Mr Johnson took a £55million package for business and worker support, which was part of earlier negotiations, off the table, The Mirror understands.

An additional £5million for other measures would have taken the package on offer earlier this afternoon to £60million.

And after talks fell through, Boris Johnson tonight said the region will for now be given only the £22m that was originally on the table.

Boris Johnson claimed he gave “generous and extensive offer to support Manchester’s business. This offer was proportionate to the support we’ve given Merseyside and Manchester.”

He claimed he couldn’t do a deal with the region that was “out of kilter” with those agreed elsewhere.

And he insisted “our door remains open” to still offer a second pot of business cash on top of the £22m.

READ  Brexit votes: what will MPs vote on in the Commons on February 27 and March 12?

He said: “The £22m that you mention, that’s separate and additional to any other support we were trying to agree with Manchester for business support.

“I’ve mentioned the support that’s already gone in to support business in Manchester.

“Our door is open to continue that particular conversation.”

Greater Manchester will now be placed in Tier 3 lockdown from 12.01am on Friday.

As with other Tier 3 areas, all pubs and bars will have to close for at least 28 days unless serving substantial meals. Indoor or garden gatherings between multiple households will be banned and residents will be advised against travel.

On top of usual Tier 3 rules, betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres, and soft play areas must also shut in Greater Manchester.

In an angry press conference, Mr Burnham said: “The ‘whatever is takes’ moment of earlier this year has completely gone.

“It’s ‘you’ll get what we will give you’.

“And that isn’t acceptable in the middle of a national crisis like a pandemic.”

Andy Burnham accused the government of playing ‘poker with people’s lives’

He added: “Are they playing poker with places and people’s lives through a pandemic? Is this what this is about?

“Are they piling pressure on people to accept the lowest figure they can get away with?

“Is that how they’re running this country?

“Is this a government committed to levelling up this country?

“What we’ve seen today is a deliberate act of levelling down.”





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here