'You'll have to look on the website': Minister behind Greater Manchester negotiations doesn't know if gyms will remain open

Communities minister Robert Jenrick on Sky News

Communities minister Robert Jenrick on Sky News - Credit: Twitter

The minister behind coronavirus negotiations with Andy Burnham and other Greater Manchester leaders was unable to say whether gyms would remain open under the region's new restrictions.

Communities and housing minister Robert Jenrick appeared to have no idea if gyms would remain open under Tier-3 restrictions coming into force on Friday, despite being involved in lockdown talks.

Appearing on Sky News, Jenrick said it would be better if gym users in Manchester checked the government's website instead or relying on his advice.

"I think that gyms are being asked to close but you'll have to look on gov.uk, or we can revert to you when the regulations are published. But we've adopted the same model as Lancashire, " he said.

Taking aim at the minister, Cathy M tweeted: "He said that they mirror Lancashire restrictions - gyms in Lancashire are open. How hard is it."

Sam Bourne wrote: "So the guy who led the negotiations for the government doesn't actually know what the regulation will entail."

The minister was also asked about the £60 million rescue package that had been offered to the region before talks with Greater Manchester leaders collapsed on Tuesday.

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The region will now face Tier-3 lockdown controls - the highest on the government's new lockdown scheme - from the end of this from week after talks for a renewed financial deal with Downing Street ended in acrimony.

Asked if the cash was still on the table, Jenrick said: "It's more than just on the table, it's there and it's got Manchester's name on it and I want to ensure it gets into the hands of local business people, particularly the smaller businesses of Greater Manchester, some of which are now going to have to close, hopefully for a short period of time." 

Jenrick said a review on funding and restrictions was set in 28 days and said individuals could rely on the Job Support Scheme, which will pay furlough workers two-thirds of their wage, for assistance.

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