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15 October 2020 10:33

England Boris Johnson Theresa May

Greater Manchester set for Tier 3 lockdown with bars, pubs and gyms forced to close: live UK coronavirus updates

Greater Manchester is expected to enter the toughest level of coronavirus restrictions today meaning pubs, bars and gyms forced to close - despite an imminent legal challenge from the hospitality industry. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly set to sign off the tier 3 measures after the Government reportedly put pressure on the region's local leaders including mayor Andy Burnham. Nighttime economy adviser Sacha Lord has said the measures will "rip the heart out of our sector", and has instructed barristers to challenge the Covid-19 three-tier system. Mayor Burnham had resisted pressure to follow the Liverpool City Region into the Tier 3 restrictions – which would see bars, gyms and betting shops forced to close – despite soaring infection rates. (Image: Darren Robinson Photography) However, following a briefing with the deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries on Wednesday, he said he expected to have a further meeting with Mr Johnson's team on Thursday.

After instructing Kings Chambers, Mr Lord said: "Safety must always come first, but as an operator in Greater Manchester for 26 years, I cannot sit by and simply allow the Government to rip the heart out of our sector. "To many operators and major breweries across Greater Manchester, this feels like a cheap headline. The night-time economy in Greater Manchester is our five biggest industry. Lancashire had expected to also move into tier 3 - however it was reported on Thursday morning that it would remain in tier 2. Follow below for the latest updates and business reaction throughout the day: Greater Manchester's political leaders have been on a collision course with the government all week resisting efforts to place the region in Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

And there are fears it won't be good news as cases continue to rise across Greater Manchester. The government said it wants to secure agreement with political leaders before changing the tier levels - however, this appears to have been unlikely in our region. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here A conference call will take place with Lancashire MPs at 10.15am, followed by Greater Manchester's MPs at 10.45am. Greater Manchester's mayor Andy Burnham - who has been an outspoken critic of placing the region into Tier 3 - is pointedly last to speak with Downing Street at 11am. He said there is not enough financial support for businesses that will be badly impacted by restrictions - with the expected closure of pubs.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, will make a statement to MPs in the House of Commons this morning at 11.30am, when it is expected the new restrictions will be outlined. But Councillor Eamonn O'Brien, leader of Bury council told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme, this morning: "I think we all accepted this was a very dire situation and it's getting worse. "For me, there's absolutely no guarantee and no real evidence that Tier 3 will do anything to change the picture we've been presented with. He added: "It still very much feels like government telling us we must accept this and not changing their approach based on the feedback." (Image: PA) Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi refused to be drawn on what would be happening in Greater Manchester later. He told the BBC: "It's important that we look at how we actually surpress this virus - because the alternative is much worse for the people of Manchester and the rest of the country." And Professor Calum Semple, a member of Sage, told the BBC Breakfast programme that "in his opinion", Manchester needed to go into Tier 3 measures - as did other regions.

He said: "There is always going to be some friction between the focus on the numbers of case, and the need to keep the economy going. "But from a purely academic point of view where I'm coming from, if you allow the numbers to rise it inevitably has an impact on the economy because you start to lose the capacity to deliver these other essential services." Sign up to FREE email alerts from LancsLive - daily Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Invalid Email Lancashire leaders are meeting with government officials within the next hour – and just 30 minutes before Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons. Mr Hancock could confirm whether all - or parts - of Lancashire are to be shifted into Tier 3 of the coronavirus restrictions. A similar statement from Mr Hancock is expected for Greater Manchester and Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. Discussions between Lancashire council chiefs and Number 10 are now entering their seventh day, with the Government understood to be keen to move Lancashire into the "very high-risk" category - otherwise known as Tier 3. The move would mean the closure of non-food pubs and bars – and potentially some other non-essential services including casinos and gyms. Lancashire representatives are continuing their efforts to negotiate a funding package worth nearly £50m more than the £12m believed to be on offer from the government – including a massive discretionary grant scheme to support businesses directly or indirectly affected by a tougher lockdown. As LancsLive revealed last night, there is still no agreement on a deal – but the timing of this morning's meeting suggests Lancashire could be about to be made a take-it-or-leave-it offer. It comes as London is now expected to be placed in a Tier 2 local lockdown from first thing on Saturday (October 17). Health Secretary Matt Hancock is set to address the House of Commons at 11.30am for an official update. You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here. To keep updated, follow LancsLive on Facebook and @LiveLancs on Twitter. Prof Calum Semple said unless something happened to stem the spread of coronavirus, "the numbers will keep rising, there'll be further hospital admissions and further deaths. When you start to get levels of infection like this in the community, it starts to affect other services such that, so many teachers will be off sick off with Covid that the schools will have difficulty delivering education. Greater Manchester is set to become the second region in England to enter strict Tier 3 lockdown restrictions, according to a senior government aide. Following reports that Greater Manchester was set to enter the highest tier, Boris Johnson's aide Eddie Lister confirmed it to local leaders on a Zoom call on Thursday morning, according to Paul Waugh from the Huffington Post. It comes days after Liverpool became the first area to be placed under the highest tier of the new [email protected] aide Eddie Lister has just told Greater Manchester leaders on a Zoom call that the area is indeed going into Tier 3 "Very High" covid risk category, source says. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has been having talks with No 10, having signalled resistance to pressure to enter Tier 3 despite soaring infection rates. It means the city faces having to close its bars, gyms and betting shops, while pubs will only be able to serve alcohol to people sitting down for a "substantial meal". View photos Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has previously resisted the city being placed into Tier 3 restrictions. Burnham previously said the region could legally challenge any decision by ministers to put it into Tier 3 restrictions. He told an online press conference on Wednesday that if Greater Manchester was put into Tier 3 it would be "by imposition, not consent". Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work? This morning, Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Breakfast that, in his opinion, Manchester needed to go into Tier 3 measures, as did other regions. He added: "There is always going to be some friction between the focus on the numbers of case, and the need to keep the economy going, but from a purely academic point of view where I'm coming from, if you allow the numbers to rise it inevitably has an impact on the economy because you start to lose the capacity to deliver these other essential services." Burnham said a national circuit-breaker lockdown, which Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for on Tuesday, would be a "better and fairer way" of tackling the pandemic. He told a press conference: "I think that (a circuit-breaker) is more likely to succeed for three reasons. "It is being done nationally so there isn't that opportunity for a neighbouring area to bring cases back into a Tier 3 area." He said it would also be beneficial because regions would get national support and would bring cases down further to allow local areas to "reset" test and trace. Click here to sign up to the latest news and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter