Manchester lockdown: When is deadline for agreement? Tier 3 lockdown imminent

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Manchester ranks among the worst affected areas in the UK in terms of COVID-19 cases, with a current infection rate of 424.7 per 100,000 people. Rates have notably started to climb down in recent days, but the area remains under threat both from reduced hospital capacity and further economic chaos under Tier 3. Boris Johnson has previously warned Mr Burnham he faces having restrictions “imposed” on his region should protests persist.

When is the deadline for a Tier 3 agreement?

The Government has spent the best part of a week locked in negotiations with Andy Burnham and leadership in Manchester to reach a lockdown agreement.

Mr Burnham and other local leaders have demanded further economic support for businesses which would end up severely impacted by restrictions, while Westminster hopes to contain the city.

While both sides have signalled some progress, neither has reached a compromise.

Further talks yesterday did not reach an agreement, and the Government has issued an ultimatum.

Westminster has now given Greater Manchester until 12pm today to agree to their terms.

Speaking late yesterday, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said without an agreement he would have to inform the Prime Minister “we’re not able to reach an agreement at this time”.

He said: “The public health situation in Greater Manchester continues to deteriorate.”

“We’ve now had 10 days of discussions, in good faith, with local leaders in Greater Manchester.

“We’ve not so far been able to reach an agreement.

“We’ve offered a comprehensive package of support, in addition to the national measures that have been set out by the chancellor.

“I’ve written this evening to the mayor of Greater Manchester and to local leaders in the city region to say that, if we’re not able to reach an agreement by noon tomorrow, then – with deep regret – I’ll have to advise the prime minister that we’re not able to reach an agreement at this time.”

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But Mr Jenrick stopped short on stating whether the Government would plunge Manchester into Tier 3 restrictions.

He said a decision such as this is “a matter for the Prime Minister to decide”.

Leadership in the region remains hopeful they could strike a deal in the remaining allotted time but said they would have little choice but to comply with a Tier 3 lockdown.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said officials would “clearly need to comply” with the orders from Westminster.

Downing Street’s urgency to reach a deal comes as it said it believes COVID-19 would overwhelm Greater Manchester’s intensive care capacity by November 12.

But Mr Burnham and Sir Richard have decried “selective” use of statistics by the Government, adding current occupancy is “not abnormal” for the time of year.

They added in a joint statement: “Also, providing information about individual hospitals does not reflect that our hospitals work as a system to manage demand. We are not complacent about the position in our hospitals and are monitoring the situation closely.

“But in the current situation, we believe it is essential that our residents are given clear, accurate information about the state of the NHS in Greater Manchester and that public fears are not raised unnecessarily.”

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