Greater Manchester has reportedly refused to go into a tier three lockdown unless the Government gives it more cash.
A decision to put it on the ‘Very High’ risk alert level has been delayed amid a stalemate between the Department of Health and local leaders.
The Treasury reportedly refused the request for more funding at a tense crunch meeting this morning.
A statement from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was expected this morning but it has been postponed because no decision has been made about whether the region should be reclassified.
Greater Manchester is already under a second tier lockdown, which means a ban on households mixing in any indoor setting as well as in private gardens.
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On Wednesday Mr Burnham threatened to sue the Government if the strictest tier of coronavirus restrictions are imposed on the region.
He made it clear he would oppose any such measure and said he would consider taking legal action if a tier three was enforced upon Mancunians.
Under the rules of tier three residents are banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs will have to close unless they can operate as restaurants only.
These are only the minimum requirements and extra restrictions can be imposed.
In the Liverpool City Region – the only area under tier three so far – casinos, betting shops, gyms and leisure centres have also been ordered to shut.
Meanwhile Lanchashire, which was expected to be plunged into a tier three lockdown, has been kept under tier two.
More to follow