Sunderland leaders not able to negotiate on post-lockdown covid restrictions for area
Boris Johnson made announcements on the Government’s winter covid plans on November 23, including confirming a tougher three-tier system for regional lockdowns.
The Prime Minister confirmed there would be a standard set of regulations for each tier, and councils would not be able to negotiate on restrictions.
When asked about a more localised approach by an MP in the House of Commons – which he was attending via video link due to self-isolating – Mr Johnson confirmed the tiered regulations would be for each region, not smaller areas such as cities and boroughs.
The LA7 councils of the North East – Sunderland, County Durham, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead and Newcastle had all been on the verge of being placed into Tier 3, the highest level, shortly before a full national lockdown was announced in October, removing the need for a decision to be made.
The PM told Parliament he expected details of the revised three-tier system to be unveiled later this week, possibly on Thursday, November 26.
Speaking ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcements, Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said: “I would like to think they will give us plenty of notice, but given their past behaviour on how they tell local authorities what’s happening to them, this may not happen until very late in the day.”
Mr Miller, who was speaking at a full meeting of Sunderland City Council on Wednesday, November 18, had correctly predicted local leaders would not be given a say on the regional restrictions.
“I think this time the Government will determine what tier every area is going into and there will be no debate about it,” he told fellow councillors.
The new tiers are all expected to include tougher rules than they did before the latest national lockdown started, with more areas predicted to be put into the higher levels of restriction.
Local authorities have instead been promised a ‘uniform set of measures’, with even the lowest set of measures slated to include advice to work from home where possible.