'Explosive' two-line email over Tier 3 sent to North East leaders from Government
North East leaders were told late on Thursday October 22 that they must stage fresh talks with Government over a potential move into Tier 3 of the coronavirus lockdown.
The missive, sent by Robert Jenrick’s private secretary, warns leaders “there may shortly be a need to move Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durhaminto level 3 restrictions.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, confirmed that “further conversations” with North East leaders are coming soon.
She said: “We’re engaging with councils regularly and further conversations with local leaders will follow shortly.”
It comes as Greater Manchester’s Tier 3 restrictions come into force and has left leaders in the region unsure of what any further meeting could entail.
North East was allowed to remain in Tier 2 after being given a reprieve a week ago, but leaders were told they had seven days to show existing measures were working.
Leaders were due to report back to Government this morning but it is not thought that this is the meeting the late night demand was referring to.
This marks the latest twist in a lockdown saga for the region, after leaders of North East councils came together to fight the restrictions.
They signed joint statements earlier in October pointing to a declining rate of infection in the region and urging the Government to not impose “devastating” coronavirus restrictions, with fears for jobs or businesses.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced enhanced support for areas under restrictions on October 22, but fears remain over the impact on households and the economy.
The email in full:
I am writing to confirm that, following the recommendation made yesterday by GOLD that there may shortly be a need to move Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durhaminto level 3 restrictions, we will be arranging a meeting between Leaders and Ministers to discuss the latest data.
We will confirm timings ASAP.