Tier 3 local lockdown restrictions are to be imposed in Greater Manchester, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
The move into the highest tier means that bars and pubs which do not serve food will be closed across the region. The adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops must close, as well as soft play areas.
The new measures will come into force at 00:01 on Friday 23 October 2020.
The announcement comes after talks between the Government and local leaders in the Greater Manchester region over financial support to accompany the tighter restrictions concluded without a deal.
Announcing the measures, Boris Johnson said;
“This evening, informed by the data we have just seen, I can announce that Greater Manchester will move to the Very High alert level.”
“I know that these restrictions are tough, both on businesses and individuals. And believe me no one wants to be putting these things into effect.”
Greater Manchester will follow Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region in facing restrictions under the ‘very high’ level of the local lockdown system.
‘An absolute disgrace’ – Significant anger over financial support package
The financial support offered to accompany the new restrictions in Greater Manchester has been described as ‘an absolute disgrace’ by Deputy Labour Leader and Ashton under Lyne MP Angela Rayner. In a tweet, Ms Rayner said;
“£8 per person in Greater Manchester. An absolute disgrace, I am disgusted. Meanwhile, consultants are getting paid £7,000 per day for test & trace.“@BorisJohnson you will be personally responsible for driving people in my constituency and across GM into destitution and poverty.”
The Prime Minister said that he regretted that a deal had not been agreed with Greater Manchester leaders over the financial support being offered, later saying that the Government would ‘continue talking to Andy Burnham and his teams’.
Mr Johnson described the support from the Government as a ‘comprehensive package of support’ – however, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burham has described the offer as ‘brutal’ as being told by the media how much would be offered to the region ahead of Downing Street’s press conference.
During a press conference ahead of the announcement by the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening, Mr Burnham said;
“It’s brutal, to be honest.
“This is no way to run a country in a national crisis.
“It’s not right, they should not be doing this.”
Mr Burnham said that ministers rejected a ‘fully-costed plan’ totalling £90 million to protect businesses – £15 million a month to the end of the financial year. Local leaders then lowered this request to £65m, though a deal could still not be reached.
Some MPs have also expressed ‘disappointment’ following the announcement of the new measures for other reasons. Conservative MP for Bolton West, Chris Green said “I don’t believe the science supports this action”.
Confusion over support being offered for businesses in Greater Manchester
In his statement, Boris Johnson said that the following support was being offered;
“The Job Support Scheme ensures those affected by business closures are still paid. And once you top that up with Universal Credit, those on low incomes will receive at least 80% of their normal income.
“We have made available up to £465 million to help local authorities implement and enforce restrictions. Greater Manchester will receive £22 million of this.
“And that’s on top of the extra £1 billion of extra funding we are providing for all local authorities across the country.
We will work with local authorities to allocate testing and introduce local contact tracing.”
The figure of £22 million announced at the press conference is in addition to other funding, though exactly how much support businesses will get is still uncertain and has been criticised by local leaders.
According to reports, an offer of £60m is still on the table for the region. The Liverpool City Region received £44m when it moved into Tier 3, whilst Lancashire has been given £42m.