Local Greater Manchester leaders have been given until noon on Tuesday to agree the terms of the Tier 3 deal put forward by the government.
A government spokesperson had said earlier this evening that it was “carefully considering next steps” after the government and local leaders including Mayor Andy Burnham failed to reach agreement this afternoon.
And now it seems that its patience has run out, and tonight Robert Jenrick, the Housing Communities and Local Government Secretary who has been closely involved in the discussions, handed local leaders in Greater Manchester a deadline.
He 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.”
Jenrick claimed there were now more Covid-19 patients in Greater Manchester hospitals than in the whole of the South West and South East combined.
And he added: “But, unfortunately, despite recognising the gravity of the situation, local leaders have so far been 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.”
The exact terms of the government’s deal aren’t known, but Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is known to want more support for workers and firms who would be affected by a move to Tier 3.