The mayor of Greater Manchester will appear on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday to defend his stance to resist a Tier 3 blockade for the region.
This comes as Mayor Andy Burnham has blamed Chancellor Rishi Sunak for being the “problem” in line for a Greater Manchester blockade, as confusion was thrown during talks with Downing Street yesterday.
The feud between No. 10 and Labor mayor continued Saturday after Downing Street said new talks were set for the weekend, only for Mr Burnham’s office to deny it.
Mr Burnham and conservative politicians in Greater Manchester oppose the Level 3 measures being put in place, with the mayor calling for greater financial support for workers and businesses.
He has called for a return to the generosity of the initial work scheme that saw 80% of workers’ salaries paid by the Treasury, but Chancellor Mr Sunak has offered only a 66% subsidy to those whose firms were forced to close with measures of Tier 3.
The mayor of Greater Manchester told New Statesman magazine: “I think the problem now is, to a large extent, the Chancellor. I think he has made wrong judgments all this time.”
He criticized Eat Out for helping the meal subsidy scheme as a “poor judgment” and added: “The cost of this should have been paid for the oven now”.
But he insisted during the interview that the failure ultimately lies with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister: “He should not allow the Treasury to run politics.”
Mr Burnham and council executives have insisted they are “ready to meet at any time” in order to mediate a deal with No. 10, but there was a communication failure on Saturday.
Downing Street indicated that a call was scheduled for Sunday morning after a message was left with Mr Burnham.
But a spokesman for the mayor said: “Nothing has been fixed yet.”
A Downing Street source responded: “No one reached out this morning to try and arrange a meeting with the Mayor of Manchester.
“We will continue to strive and reach an agreement on these difficult but necessary measures to protect the NHS and the people of Manchester.”
But Mr Johnson has already threatened to impose measures without local support after warning that “time is of the essence” and that “tragically more people will die” with each day delay.
Mr Johnson has been under heightened pressure to accept a brief national blockade known as a “circuit breaker” to take control of the Covid-19 revival. The prime minister has favored local measures to try to slow the spread of the disease, but on Friday acknowledged he “can not rule out anything” in taking national action.
In other developments this weekend:
- There were also 16,171 cases of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus in the UK and an additional 150 deaths of people who had tested positive in the last 28 days, according to Government figures, which estimate a total of 43,579.
- Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said his brother died after being admitted to intensive care with Covid-19.
- Wales will have a two-week switch imposed next week, according to a letter issued by the Passenger Transport Confederation.
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