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Greater Manchester mayor 'moving on' from Covid funding row

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image captionMr Burnham said the OneGM scheme would support struggling businesses

Greater Manchester's mayor is "moving on" from the funding row with government by launching a scheme to help the region's businesses.

Tier three restrictions and a £60m package were imposed on the region after Labour's Andy Burnham and Whitehall failed to reach a deal.

Mr Burnham said he was "hopeful" £5m more could be secured, but his scheme would help during "a hard winter".

He said the initiative's full details would be revealed in the coming days.

The "OneGM" scheme aims to draw on the £60m funding, while also drumming up support from larger Greater Manchester businesses to help smaller firms and charities.

'Really challenging winter'

Mr Burnham told a press conference he wanted to "move beyond the arguments of recent days" and create a "positive, practical mood".

He said the initiative was about "rallying people together" to "see what we can achieve".

"This is the Greater Manchester family coming together on a cross-community basis to say how we're going to support people and businesses through what is going to be a really challenging winter," he said.

He added that the region still hoped to receive the £65m it had asked government for, once backdated support for businesses under tier two measures was included.

Speaking at the press conference, actress Julie Hesmondhalgh welcomed the scheme, which she said she hoped would help those in the arts sector and freelancers who had "fallen through the gaps" of government support.

She said the sector was "going to need a lot of help", adding: "It's bad now but it's only going to get worse."

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