Greater Manchesters’ leaders have been given a deadline of noon tomorrow to reach an agreement on the terms of a Tier 3 lockdown.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said in a statement that he has written to local leaders to warn them about the deadline, saying they must take ‘action urgently’.
Leaders in Greater Manchester have been in tense discussions since last week over the terms of an agreement to introduce stricter measures.
The region’s mayor Andy Burnham has so far resisted calls to reach an agreement, due to concerns about the financial package on offer.
Mr Jenrick, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, said: ‘The deteriorating public health situation in Greater Manchester means that we need to take action urgently.
“We have held discussions in good faith with local leaders for ten days in order to ensure that the measures put in place were tailored to the local community.
‘We have offered an extensive package of support for local people and businesses, proportionate to the approach we have taken in the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire and in addition to the wider national support.
“There are now more COVID-19 patients in Greater Manchester Hospitals than in the whole of the South West and South East combined.
“But, unfortunately, despite recognising the gravity of the situation, local leaders have been so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control.
“I have written to local leaders this evening to make clear that if we cannot reach agreement by midday tomorrow then I must advise the Prime Minister that despite our best endeavours we’ve been unable to reach agreement.
“It’s not too late for local leaders to work with us to take action for the sake of the people of Greater Manchester.”
MPs in Manchester reacted in anger at claims they have been ‘unwilling to take the action that is required’.
Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish wrote on Twitter: “It’s disgraceful that Gov still hasn’t set out any detail of what their “offer” is.
“They’re contemptuous of GM with their spin, threats and demands when all we want are workable measures and proper protections for our businesses and residents after 3 months of failed local lockdown.”
While Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said: “Will they now engage in meaningful discussions then? Only two meaningful ministerial meetings taken place so far.”