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Burnham: PM’s £12m offer for Manchester Arena bombing costs ‘not good enough’

The Greater Manchester mayor said the actual cost to local councils, emergency services and NHS facilities is at least £17 million.

Theresa May has made an offer to pay for the costs of this year’s Manchester Arena bombing which falls £5 million short of what local authorities say is needed.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said the Prime Minister’s offer is “not good enough” and called on the Government to make good on promises to fund the response to the outrage.

Government sources said Manchester had been assured it will receive £12 million, with £3 million being made available immediately.

But Mr Burnham said the actual cost to local councils, emergency services and NHS facilities is at least £17 million.

Describing a letter from Mrs May as “inconclusive”, he said: “Here we are, six months on from the attack, at the end of Budget week, and we still don’t have an answer.

“The reason that matters is we are left with the bill. That will mean we have to cut public services to cover those costs. It’s not acceptable for us to be left in this position.

“Having received this letter today I need to send a message straight back to the Government on behalf of Greater Manchester to say, while we appreciate the letter, it’s not good enough and we expect these costs to be paid.”

Mr Burnham said the offer to Manchester contrasted with the Government’s coverage in full of the costs incurred due to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

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“It was said to us at the time, whatever we need will be there,” he said. “It was said to many of us at the time, and I think we can expect those words to be honoured.

“It is not the case that we can just be paid the majority, or what the Government considers to be reasonable. We are not trying it on here – we are not sending in a bill that is inflated in any way. These are the costs.”

A Government spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring the victims of this terrible attack and Greater Manchester have all possible support.

“We have given strong assurance Manchester will receive £12 million. That includes £3 million being paid now and a further £1 million being made available to support the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

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Flowers and tributes left in St Ann's Square in Manchester after the attack (PA)

“This is an ongoing process and the Government stands by its commitment to provide all necessary further assistance.”

But Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said the Government’s response left “many questions unanswered” about the money the city would receive.

She told the Press Association: “It’s not just the combined authority and the police, but Manchester City Council directly has been supporting many of the families… the health services – there’s huge implications for budgets which are currently being finalised for next year.

“It’s also not in the spirit of what the Government said at the time, which is that they would meet all the costs and to find out at this late stage that that’s all up for negotiation is just not on.”

Some 22 people were killed by the suicide bomb attack on a concert by pop star Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena on May 22. A further 16 people were very seriously injured and a total of 512 people were either physically injured or left profoundly traumatised, with 112 treated in hospital.

A pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of the 22 victims was adjourned on Friday until June next year.

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