Two aspects of the apparent conflict between authorities in Manchester and the cental British government deserve mention:
1. Not only are criminal gangs extremely powerful in Manchester, but they make much of their profit in areas of business that don’t fare well during lockdown: illegal drugs, the hospitality sector, and property deals. On the other hand, of course they will be making a big slice of the action wherever the authorities are handing out coronavirus money, but I doubt that that kind of income stream has even come close to compensating for their lockdown losses given that a) illegal drugs are such a big part of the economy, and b) they make money from all sorts of state “development” and “enterprise” stuff even when there is no lockdown.
2. A narrative about regions of England versus the government is beneficial for those who want to promote regionalism with a view to reorganising the British kingdom such that not England but regions of England are put on the same level in some contexts as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Part of the prep work for devolved English regional parliaments for example would be to gear people up to voting in their elections, and there’s nothing like a bit of “conflict” (“Boris doesn’t know what life is like north of Watford”, etc.) for encouraging that. In any forcible mass vaccination, many “identity” stops will be pulled out, very probably including “being a northerner”.