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Manchester's Andy Burnham urges MPs to back him over Tier 3 funding by holding Commons vote

ANDY BURNHAM has urged MPs to intervene this week in a conflict between regional politicians and the government over funding for areas put under Tier 3 coronavirus rules.

Greater Manchester’s Labour mayor called on MPs to hold a Commons vote to ensure that Tier 3 areas get enough financial support for businesses to be able to pay wages if they are forced to close.

He warned against the region being put under “very high” coronavirus alert without sufficient funding, adding: “This is not just Greater Manchester’s fight.”

It came as Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove did not deny on Times Radio that Greater Manchester had until the end of today to accept Tier 3 measures or have them imposed.

He also accused regional politicians of indulging in political “posturing.”

Senior Conservative backbencher Sir Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, told BBC Radio 4’s that the region’s Labour and Tory MPs were “pretty united” in opposing Tier 3 without sufficient funding.

Northern Tory MPs also criticised an open letter sent by 20 other Tory MPs who represent Tier 1 “medium alert” constituencies and urged Mr Burnham to “engage” with the government.

In response, Mr Burnham on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show said: “I’m not sure a sort of ‘we’re alright Jack’ letter from a group of southern Conservative MPs is going to cut much ice here.”

He added: “Anywhere could end up in Tier 3 this winter … it’s everyone’s concern that we protect the lowest paid in our communities.”

Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is backing Mr Burnham in calling for a “full and fair furlough scheme” covering 80 per cent of wages, or at least the national minimum wage, support for the self-employed and improved business compensation.

The Liverpool region was the first Tier 3 region. Lancashire joined Tier 3 on Saturday, with pubs and bars closed unless they can serve meals and household mixing banned indoors and in gardens.

On Saturday, Tier 2 measures — prohibiting households mixing in pubs and restaurants — were introduced in London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield.

PM Boris Johnson has been under increasing pressure to impose a short “circuit-breaker” national lockdown as recommended by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage).

Sage member Professor Jeremy Farrar said it is “never too late” to impose one but the best time would have been last month, when Sage first advised it.

Wales will have a two-week circuit-breaker imposed from this week, according to a leaked letter from the Confederation of Passenger Transport.


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