Manchester mayor says Government should not ‘impose’ local lockdown decisions

Decisions on easing or tightening local coronavirus lockdown restrictions should not be “imposed” by the Government, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said.

The Labour former cabinet minister called for more negotiation and agreement between Westminster and local authorities on such issues.

His comments came after the Government moved to ease lockdown measures in some parts of the North West from next week.

Mr Burnham told BBC Breakfast: “I think we will better negotiate what lies ahead of us in the autumn and winter if Government listens to local leaders – they know their communities.

“It wasn’t just in Greater Manchester where they overruled us. In Bradford, basically communities were split there – some are still under restrictions, some not.

“You then have the situation where some people on one half of the street are under restrictions and others not.

“My main message to the Government is you must not impose these things from London when you are going to affect communities in this way, it must be by negotiation and agreement.

“And that needs to be a core principle that we agree on before we go any further into the rest of what will be a very difficult year.”

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham

Mr Burnham said communities should be “worried” about the way decisions were being taken.

“Imposition of decisions like this without agreement or negotiation is absolutely the wrong way to go.

“With the Health Secretary warning today of extensive lockdowns throughout the rest of this year, I think communities everywhere should be worried.

“This has to be partnership between national and local government.”

The Greater Manchester mayor said: “We need a much better process for agreeing these things.

“The Government have given a role to members of Parliament, who in my view are bringing political considerations to this.

“These decisions should be driven by public health alone, not politics.”