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Greater Manchester deal falls over a £5m gap

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

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image copyrightEPA
image captionBoris Johnson's allies blamed Andy Burnham's "pride" for the failure to reach a deal

After Monday's will-they-won't-they and political tit-for-tat, the back-and-forth between the Westminster government and the leaders of Greater Manchester is at an end.

But it's a messy one, and a politically risky one for them both. And, given what could be at stake, a situation that already looks like a political failure.

Tuesday started with more conversations between the two sides - actually, this time, starting to talk in detail about the money.

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Greater Manchester was offered £60m from central government to help support businesses under the new Tier 3 limits, the BBC understands.

But in a conversation with the prime minister, Mayor Andy Burnham suggested it was not possible to accept less than £65m.

Greater Manchester leaders originally submitted a request for £90m, which had been costed by a former Treasury official. On Tuesday morning, they discussed £75m with government officials, which would have covered the period until the end of the financial year.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionAndy Burnham's team accused the PM of "trying to grind us into submission"

It's understood Boris Johnson and Mr Burnham themselves discussed a figure of £60m but were unable to agree.

Ministers were reluctant to set a precedent of giving one region more proportionately than another, especially given ongoing talks with several other parts of the country which could also face tougher restrictions.

A Greater Manchester source said: "We had costed what people needed. Rather than give us what people needed, they were only willing to give us what they would offer."

But government sources have suggested Mr Burnham was intransigent, with one saying: "Other local leaders in GM were more reasonable and constructive, but Burnham was too proud to make a deal."

In response, a Greater Manchester source said there had been "unanimity" and accused the government of "trying to grind us into submission".

It is now not clear what financial support the region will receive.

So after 10 days of talks (of a kind) and billions spent during this crisis, it is quite something that the deal fell over a gap of £5m - a figure not disputed by either side.

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