Political leaders in North East resist Tier 3 restrictions

Political leaders in the North East have argued against being put in Tier 3 of the coronavirus restrictions, saying it would cause economic damage for “no reason”.

The North of Tyne elected mayor, Jamie Driscoll, said they had yet to hear a response from ministers about any decision for the region.

He said local officials had spoken to the deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, and his team, who had accepted the number of cases in the North East had stabilised and that the NHS had the capacity to cope.

The Labour mayor told the PA news agency it was “notable” that main centres of infection were in “private homes, and then schools, universities, care homes and workplaces”, adding: “None of which are affected by Tier 3 lockdown.

“So Tier 3 would cause economic damage for no reason.

“North East leaders are very strongly resistant to Tier 3.

“It’s not just about financial support.

“It would actually make matters worse because it would drive behaviour into unregulated spaces away from Covid-compliant businesses.”

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said the Government “seemed to be pushing” for Tier 3 in the North East, adding: “We’re kicking back.”