Manchester officials say they are still waiting for Downing Street meeting

# 20:10
16 October 2020

Tensions are running high between Downing Street and local leaders in Greater Manchester, who have been unable to agree on whether the areas should move to England's highest, tier-three level of Covid restrictions, APA reports citing BBC.

Mayor Andy Burnham, his deputy mayors and other Greater Manchester leaders have just released a statement, saying: "At our last meeting with Downing Street officials yesterday morning, we were told they would arrange a further meeting later in the day to provide a response to our requests. That did not happen and, despite being on standby all day today, we are still waiting for it to be arranged. We can assure the prime minister that we are ready to meet at any time to try to agree a way forward.

They add that they are “not convinced that closing hospitality venues is the only way to protect hospitals" and they would prefer to look at other measures "such as reinstating shielding arrangements and introducing tougher instant closure powers on non-compliant pubs, restaurants, shops and other business premises”.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned he may “have to intervene” if tier-three measures were not agreed for Manchester.

The prime minister urged Mayor Andy Burnham to "engage constructively" with the government, saying the situation was worsening every day and "time is of the essence".