BOLTON Council leader David Greenhalgh is facing criticism from his Labour counterparts after announcing that he would be working with the Government on a Tier 3 funding deal for the borough.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would bypass Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and offer the £60 million agreed by the Government to the 10 local authorities which make up the region.

Mr Burnham said the Government walked away from negotiations after he called for a "bare minimum" of £65 million.

Tier 3 restrictions were imposed on the region on Tuesday and the Government said £22 million would be available for enforcement, but it initially appeared unclear whether any further support would be available.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said: "Yesterday the Mayor of Greater Manchester was offered a further £60 million which he turned down... So I can tell the House today that that cash will be distributed to the boroughs of Greater Manchester."

Cllr Greenhalgh, the only Conservative council leader in the area, said he had spoken to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and confirmed Bolton Council was willing to look at an individual deal.

But the council leader's decision has drawn criticism from Bolton's Labour Group who feel Cllr Greenhalgh's move has split the previously steadfast opposition between Greater Manchester's boroughs.

Cllr Nick Peel, Leader of Bolton Labour Group, said: "I welcomed the strong opposition to the Tory Government voiced by Cllr Greenhalgh, who has been joined by Tory MPs in pointing out the shambolic way that the Government has handled the Covid-19 crisis from start to finish, and I welcomed the statements made by Cllr Greenhalgh when he was backing the GM Mayor, Andy Burnham, and the other nine leaders, in getting the very best deal for Greater Manchester.

“However, we now see the Government attempting to divide our regional leaders, by approaching individual councils in an attempt to get them to accept a lesser deal, and it would appear that Cllr Greenhalgh is sadly prepared to accept a lesser deal for Bolton people.

“I would say to Cllr Greenhalgh – ‘this is not the time for cold feet and to allow yourself to be brow beaten by this Government that is open in its hostility to the North. This is not a time to put your Party loyalty first, but to put the people of Bolton first.'

“If Cllr Greenhalgh does indeed accept this lesser deal for Bolton people, then we need to know the details of what he has given up. Andy Burnham’s ask was that the Government fund the low paid, the self-employed and businesses to the appropriate degree to prevent financial hardship as a result of Tier 3. If Bolton’s Tory leadership have now backed down from this position, then it is indeed a sad day for this town.”

After nine days of ill-tempered negotiation, Cllr Greenhalgh said he had no choice but to arrange an individual deal for Bolton.

He said: “It’s pretty rich to be accused by the Labour Leader of putting party loyalty first. Over the past weeks I have spoken out against my own Government on both local and national media. I can certainly not be accused of always towing the party line. When making decisions I have put what I believe to be the interests of residents and businesses in our borough first, which I am doing now.

“The talks between Government and Greater Manchester failed to reach agreement which led to Imposition of Tier 3. This was not what I wanted, but the reality was the PM’s announcement did not include the £60m extra financial package of help that the Government had said was their final offer.

"Hours later statements were released that the £60m was still on the table and available to individual councils should they wish to start a dialogue, and this I did.

"This is extra money for Bolton businesses and employees that would be lost if I don’t go and get it, there is no more money on offer, and I will always work to get the hospitality and those businesses affected as much help as I can."

Cllr Greenhalgh added that Bolton was not accepting a lesser deal compared with other regions.

"These offers are the same as was accepted by the Labour Mayors of Liverpool and South Yorkshire," he added.

"Of course today we have seen a massive increase in the level of support to Bolton businesses from the Chancellor, which of course I am delighted with, particularly as the Tier 2 money announced will be backdated retrospectively to Bolton businesses to August.”