How did Andy Burnham become the so called ‘King of The North’?
The Mayor of Greater Manchester has been hailed as a northern hero, after he spoke out against the treatment of the city region by the government during tier three discussions.
Last week Andy Burnham spoke out against the governments tier three restrictions at a press conference. amid growing frustrations that they had not promised enough cash to support residents facing further economic hardship.
After days of tense negotiations £60 million pounds worth of funding was withdrawn after meetings between the mayor and the government failed to reach a deal.
The Mayor, Andy Burnham, 50, who was a leadership candidate to replace Ed Miliband and was elected the city regions first mayor in 2017, held extensive talks between the Greater Manchester authorities and the government to reach a deal about the region being subjected to tier three restrictions.
But after strong opposition, last week an emotional Burnham found out live at a press conference that £60 million pounds worth of funding had been withdrawn from the government. The scenes witnessed live outside Bridgewater Hall just a few hours before the prime ministers press conference.
The Mayor branded the governments offer of just 22 million pounds, which equated as £8 per person as “disgusting”. With a rally of support from other northern councillors and MPs both Labour and Conservative.
His firm opposition to accepting the tier three restrictions that had been already been imposed on the Liverpool and Merseyside region has led to locals branding him as the ‘King of the North’.
Some bars and restaurants even going as far to show their support to the cities leader by offering him a free pint.
Mr Burnham described the governments approach as “A deliberate act of levelling down” and said the government were doing more to grow the north south divide, by going from a national approach to a tiered regional approach.
Many in the Greater Manchester region agree, feeling that the £22 million of support is unfair in comparison to the £42 million offered to the smaller region of Lancashire, considering there are 1.4 million less people living in the Lancashire region.
Adding to confusion, Boris Johnson later revealed the region will still be able to access £60 million originally offered but that individual councils will have to bid to access the money.
As the government continue to hold fractious negotiations with new areas facing tier 3 restrictions, what is clear is that Andy Burnham echoes the sentiment of many residents living and working in the north of England.