Stalemate over Manchester Tier 3 restrictions as time runs out

The midday deadline for a deal on tougher coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester has passed without news of a breakthrough.

Neither side has yet said if an agreement has been struck between local leaders and the government.

They had been racing to secure a compromise – the main bone of contention of which was how much money workers and firms hit by a more stringent local lockdown should get.

Live updates on Greater Manchester stalemate as deadline passes without a deal

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said if the stalemate remained past 12pm on Tuesday, the government could be forced to intervene.

And Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear he was willing to impose the move to Tier 3 “in order to protect Manchester’s hospitals and save the lives of Manchester residents”.

The move would take around three million people into the highest band of COVID-19 restrictions, as the UK battles a second spike.

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Earlier, mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham criticised a “late-night ultimatum” by Mr Jenrick that he called “a bit provocative”.

Responding to the £22m offered by the government, Mr Burnham accused ministers of “trying to penny pinch”.

But he said he would “accept” Tier 3 being imposed if Mr Johnson chooses to, because it is his “prerogative”.

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said a “good package” of support was already on offer and there could be “more to come”.

And he cautioned swift action was necessary because by the first week of November at the current trajectory, there will be no intensive care unit beds in Greater Manchester.