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Andy Burnham: Government is trying to 'penny pinch' over Tier 3 restrictions

Andy Burnham has accused the Chancellor of “trying to penny pinch” and “responding to the pandemic on the cheap” as the Mayor of Greater Manchester gears up for a last push to get funds to support the region’s Tier 3 restrictions.

Local leaders were sent a “provocative” letter last night, with an ultimatum that they must agree a deal by noon or face restrictions being imposed unilaterally. 

But Mr Burnham claimed ministers were still not addressing concerns about those on low incomes and the self-employed, warning that without better support a mental health crisis would follow hot on the heels. 

He took particular aim at Rishi Sunak for his “abrupt change since the summer”, warning that local lockdowns were already “divisive by their nature” and would end up “levelling down” the North.

“But this isn’t just Greater Manchester’s problem – everywhere could end up in Tier 3 over the winter,” he added. “If they impose a punishing lockdown over winter, it will be poorest people who suffer the most.”

Local leaders would respond to the Government’s letter with one of their own, adding: “If the Prime Minister wants to call me I will always speak to him.”

Nadhim Zahawi, the business minister, told Sky News he was still hopeful an agreement would be reached, saying: “We have to put lives of the people of Manchester above all our interests.”

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