There was a step forward in the negotiations over the Lancashire Financial Package as it was on the verge of placing it in Level 3 insurance.
Over the past week, there have been meetings between county leaders and the government about how much money the Lancashire will receive as part of the deal to enter Level 3.
Lancashire was looking to gain control of £ 50 million in unspent business support grants – provided by the government earlier in the pandemic – for distribution by county councils as they saw fit.
It is understood that the money will be used to protect the vulnerable and support businesses that are forced to close, such as non-food bars.
This morning (Oct 18), Lancashire County Council Leader Geoff Driver revealed that a “really good deal” had been negotiated with the government following the last round of the past meetings on Thursday and early Friday.
County Councilor Driver added that there was “absolutely no doubt” that Lancashire was heading to Level 3.
He told BBC Radio Lancashire: “What we have to do is get the best package to help everyone by being at Level 3 and there is a risk that will be canceled at the last minute.”
He also criticized the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who said that the North was not ready to be a “Canary Islands in the coal mine” of the third level.
Kuhn Driver also hinted that the Lancashire deal was not universally accepted by leaders in the county, saying that some of his colleagues were “playing politics” in the deal.
He said, “No we are not [canary down the coal mine]. I’ve heard some comments being made and it’s a sad fact but a true fact that some people are just trying to get politics on it – and I have to say that some of my colleagues in Lancashire are doing exactly the same thing.
We were in yesterday’s meetings until 11:15 last night and started the meetings again this morning at 7:15 in the morning.
“We have just postponed until the officers return to the government with the recent changes to the deal that were put on us, and while we’re talking now, it is likely to happen. I really hope the deal will not be canceled due to some unrealistic late demands made by some of my colleagues.
“It’s a really good deal negotiated with the government and as I say, I just hope the practice of politics doesn’t make it fail at the last minute because the people who will suffer as a result are Lancashire.
“I don’t think there is any doubt whatsoever that Lancashire will enter level 3.
“What we have to do is get the best package to help everyone by being at Level 3 and there is a danger that will be canceled at the last minute.”
The Lancashire leaders met again with the government at approximately 8:30 AM.