Boris Johnson braces for new Covid clash as Nottingham Labour leader readies to ‘fight’

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The Prime Minister is believed to be in talks with local leaders in the north for the introduction of Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions in more areas, after Greater Manchester was forced into the new high-level band of infections. But after Greater Manchester Mayor’s rejection of a hefty financial package to support his region entering the new tier of restrictions, Boris Johnson may be in for more clashes with other northern leaders. 

Nottinghamshire Council leader David Mellen told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he is ready to “fight” for his people to receive the best financial deal before the region enters the new restrictions.

He said: “I think it needs to be as good as any other region in terms of the support for the economy.

“We are an area with high levels of deprivation, similar to Liverpool, and in order for us to maintain employment and to support our businesses there will need to be a reasonable package that comes which is just as good as other areas have received.”

Asked if he would be happy for the package to be calculated on the basis of head per population as it was for Liverpool, he replied: “I think it’s quite confusing to absolutely understand the deals because there seems to be an amount given or promised which is base on head per population and then additional top-ups on top of that.

“We will want all the factors to be taken into account in terms of Nottingham’s status and in terms of Nottingham’s economy.

“We are very happy to have robust conversations about that because obviously as a leader in Nottingham it is my duty to fight for the best deal we can for the people and businesses in our city.”

It comes after the Government failed to reach an agreement with Greater Manchester leader Andy Burnham over financial support for the region as it entered Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Burnham responded to Conservative MP Chris Clarkson’s request that Mr Burnham should now let local MPs and council leaders attempt to get a settlement.

Mr Clarkson said the Government offered to give Manchester “92 percent of what you asked for, with a settlement of an additional £60m funding, you decided the best option was to walk away having secured absolutely nothing.”

Mr Burnham tweeted in response: “You haven’t got this quite right Chris.

“We asked for £90m – which is the cost of an 80 percent furlough & self-employed scheme.

“We were offered £60m – 66 percent of our ask, the same that pub staff in Heywood & Middleton are deemed to be worth.

“You can vote to change that today. Will you?”

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it was “a great shame” that the Government was unable to reach an agreement with leaders in Greater Manchester after having tried “extremely hard”.

He told Sky News the clear public advice he received was that Greater Manchester was facing “a serious and deteriorating situation”, and that the Government needed to act.

“We probably in honesty should have acted a few days ago but we hadn’t been able to reach an agreement with the mayor of Greater Manchester,” he said.

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Mr Jenrick said “very productive” conversations have taken place with the mayor of Sheffield Dan Jarvis.

“Those discussions are coming to a conclusion this morning, I hope,” he said.

Mr Jarvis tweeted on Monday night that he was ready to work with the Government but it had not yet offered enough support.

It was put to Robert Jenrick that it sounded like Sheffield and South Yorkshire would be going into Tier 3.

He told Sky News: “It’s not right for me to pre-empt a full statement that the Prime Minister and Dan Jarvis will make later today.

“But we have had very successful conversations with him and with the leaders of South Yorkshire.

“Again there’s a serious situation there, and rightly they wanted to take action.

“We’ve discussed that over the course of yesterday and early this morning and an announcement will be made shortly.”

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