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Leaders in the North East to resist government attempts to force the region into Tier 3

LEADERS in north-east England warned today that they will oppose any government attempts to force the region into Tier 3 anti-coronavirus restrictions that could cost thousands of jobs and shut down hundreds of businesses.

The message came as Warrington in Cheshire joined neighbouring Liverpool and Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire in Tier-3 Covid-19 lockdowns.

In Nottinghamshire, three borough districts – Nottingham, Broxtowe, and Gedling and Rushcliffe – go into Tier 3 lockdown tomorrow, meaning that more than eight million people in England’s north and Midlands will be under the strictest restrictions for at least a month.

Council leaders in Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, north and south Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham said that they had been warned by email that their districts may face a Tier 3 lockdown “shortly.”

But they insisted that numbers of Covid-19 infections in the region are falling and that the current Tier 2 restrictions are sufficient. They also criticised low levels of government funding for areas under tight restrictions.

In a joint statement, council leaders, Northumbria’s police and crime commissioner, North East England Chamber of Commerce and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership said that they “remain united in our approach to tackling the pandemic.

“At every turn, we have put any differences aside to work together for the benefit of our residents, businesses and communities,” the statement read.

“We took the decision early last month to approach the government to ask for restrictions and resources to be put in place due to a worrying rise in the community Covid infection rate.

“While we welcomed the government’s response, the package of measures we put forward to support this move was not delivered.

“Three weeks on and there is evidence that the restrictions are starting to have an impact. Figures are moving in the right direction, with the rise in cases slowing and giving us cause for cautious optimism.”

The leaders said that they were concerned by the suggestion that a decision could be taken nationally to move their region into Tier 3, adding that they “strongly oppose this at the current time.”

They added: “We’re appealing for the government to work with us and give the latest measures sufficient time to work before they think about more restrictions.”

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