The mayors of Greater Manchester, North Tyne and Liverpool have united in calling on the government to provide an 80% furlough scheme for businesses and workers in areas under regional lockdowns.
In a statement, Andy Burnham, Jamie Driscoll and Steve Rotheram said that paying two-thirds of salaries "will not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands" and that the Universal Credit top-up "is not the answer".
The statement from the northern mayors said: "The government is claiming that the north is divided and only interested in getting what we can for our own region. This is simply not the case.
"We are all united in fighting for an 80% furlough scheme for all people affected by regional lockdowns, wherever they are in the country. Paying two-thirds of salaries will not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands – it should at least match the 80% that was available under furlough , with the minimum wage as the minimum support.
"The Universal Credit top-up is not the answer. It doesn't help everybody and takes weeks to come through. It will not prevent severe hardship for thousands of low-paid workers before Christmas.
"But we won't forget the self-employed and freelancers and other businesses who will be affected by these lockdowns, they also need support and we stand firm for those too. This is a fight for what is right."
The government has said it will pay two-thirds of workers' wages for businesses required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.
Liverpool city region was the first to be put into the government's new ‘very high' alert level this week which means households cannot mix indoors or outdoors and wet-led pubs and bars must close.
Lancashire has since been added today, and while it is understood there have been talks over moving Manchester to the third tier, local leaders have resisted the move.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to deliver a press conference at 4pm today.