close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
P
Pa
October 19, 2020

Burnham urges vote to ‘break the impasse’ over Tier 3 curbs

Top Story

P
Pa
October 19, 2020

MANCHESTER: Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called on Westminster’s political leaders to help in “breaking the impasse” over the coronavirus restrictions by holding a Commons vote to secure greater support for the hardest-hit areas.

The Labour mayor was said to have had a “constructive” conversation with Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser, Sir Edward Lister, on Sunday afternoon as he battled to get increased funding in exchange for the region accepting Tier 3 measures.

Amid continued clashes with the government, Burnham called for MPs to help workers and businesses hit with the harshest restrictions by having an urgent debate this week, warning that “this is not just a Greater Manchester issue”.

He wrote to the Prime Minister, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other party leaders in Westminster, warning that “most places” will end up in Tier 3 at some point before a vaccine is rolled out.

Burnham called for a “full and fair furlough scheme” covering 80% of wages, or at least the national minimum wage, support for the self-employed and improved compensation for businesses. He said the “clear national entitlements” similar to during the first lockdown are essential to create the “sense of fairness” to ensure compliance with new restrictions.

“We recognise the uncertainty that this is causing and write to ask for your help in breaking the impasse and finding a fair resolution,” Burnham said.

“This could be done by Parliament calling an urgent debate and vote this week to establish a cross-party consensus on what constitutes a fair financial framework for people in areas under Tier 3 restrictions.”

After confusion and mixed messages over whether talks between No 10 and the mayor would continue, Burnham spoke with one of the Prime Minister’s top advisers on Sunday afternoon. Burnham’s spokesman said: “The mayor has had a constructive call with Sir Edward Lister.”

Earlier in the day, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove heightened tensions when he accused Mr Burnham of having engaged in political “posturing” and called for him to accept the measures “to save people’s lives”.

Gove told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday he wanted to “reach an agreement with the political leadership” in Greater Manchester. “I want them to put aside for a moment some of the political positioning that they’ve indulged in and I want them to work with us in order to ensure that we save lives and protect the NHS,” he added.

“Instead of press conferences and posturing, what we need is action to save people’s lives.” Senior Conservative backbencher Sir Graham Brady, who is the MP for Altrincham and Sale West in Greater Manchester, told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House that the region’s Labour and Tory MPs were “pretty united” in opposing Tier 3.

Burnham accused the Prime Minister of having engaged in an “exaggeration” of the severity of Covid-19 in the region. “It’s a serious situation but I don’t think it was the situation that was described by the Prime Minister on Friday evening,” the mayor told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. Business leaders were also calling for greater support from the Treasury for firms forced to close in Tier 3, as well as those in Tier 2 which face “dramatically” hampered finances.