OLDHAM along with the rest of Greater Manchester will be in Tier 3 - the highest level of restrictions - when the country emerges from the latest pandemic lockdown on Wednesday next week (December 2) Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out the plans in the Commons after ministers  warned that more areas will likely be in higher tiers compared to the regime before the lockdown.

Only a few of the least affected areas are expected to be placed in Tier 1 (where restrictions are limited).

Greater Manchester, Lancashire, including Blackburn and Darwen and Blackpool will be in Tier 3.

Large swathes of the country - including London - are to be in Tier 2 restrictions with a ban on households mixing indoors and pubs, and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a "substantial meal".

In Greater Manchester, it means a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as parks. Bars and restaurants would be limited to takeaway or delivery services and people would be advised to avoid travelling outside their area.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: "Greater Manchester’s infection rate is reducing faster than any other part of the country but we have to accept that it is still significantly higher than the England average. That said, if the current rate of improvement continues, we will be asking the Government to move our city-region into Tier 2 in two week’s time.

"What we believe is completely wrong is the Government’s decision to provide no additional business support to areas in Tier 3 than those in Tiers 1 and 2.

"The new Tier 3 will hit the hospitality sector extremely hard. While there are grants for businesses forced to close, there is no extra support for business which supply them like security, catering and cleaning.

"This will cause real hardship for people whose jobs will be affected and risk the loss of many businesses.

"Ministers need to explain how they believe it is fair for Tier 3 areas to get no more support than those in Tier 2. They also need to explain why places with high numbers of hospitality businesses – like city centres – get the same population-based grant as more suburban and rural areas with fewer businesses affected.

"The effect of these policy decision will be to level down the economies of city-regions across the North. It is unfair and the opposite of what the Government has promised to do. Ministers must review this and provide more financial support to Tier 3 areas."