Talks With Greater Manchester Ended Without a Deal: UK Minister

Talks With Greater Manchester Ended Without a Deal: UK Minister
Britain's Housing, Communities, and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick arrives at number 10 Downing Street, in central London on March 17, 2020, (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Lily Zhou

The British government’s negotiations with the Mayor of Greater Manchester on placing the region under tier 3 lockdown have ended without a deal, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Tuesday.

Jenrick, who has been talking on behalf of the government with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham on support packages for workers and businesses affected by the lockdown, said he was disappointed with the outcome.

“I’m disappointed that despite recognising the gravity of the situation, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has been unwilling to take the action that is required to get the spread of the virus under control in Greater Manchester and reach an agreement with the government,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

“I have therefore advised the Prime Minister that these discussions have concluded without an agreement,” he added.

Jenrick has said on Monday that the prime minister would make a decision on the next steps in a no-deal scenario.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has told Sky News on Friday that the government would “much rather work with the local leaders if at all possible,” but does have “the powers to proceed in any event.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to make an announcement at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The negotiations between the cabinet and Greater Manchester have lasted over a week.

Burnham on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other party leaders, proposing “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“.

As most places likely “will find themselves in Tier 3 at some point,” the Mayor said, “establishing clear national entitlements of the kind we had during the first lockdown will create a sense of fairness which in turn would help build public support for, and compliance with, any new restrictions.”

Burnham repeatedly said the financial support from the government is not enough to help workers and businesses affected. He made a statement on Thursday declaring local leaders had “unanimously opposed the government’s plans for Tier 3,” which requires closure of pubs and bars unless the government provides “proper compensation.”

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield city region, which is also in talks with the government, said on Monday that the government has to offer the support they need if they are required to lockdown.

“Our Council leaders and I stand ready to work with Govt, but they have to offer the support we need to protect lives and livelihoods in South Yorkshire. They haven’t done that yet,” the Mayor wrote on Twitter.
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