Northern England mayors given noon deadline to submit Covid plans | World news

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Mayors and local authorities in the north of England were given until midday on Sunday to submit their proposals for coronavirus restrictions as swathes of the country prepared for stricter lockdown rules.

As metro mayors and local authorities were given the lunchtime deadline, northern MPs confirmed they were looking at mechanisms to allow a vote on restrictions in the north of England.

Millions of people could be banned from mixing indoors and outdoors and thousands of pubs forced to close under new coronavirus restrictions due to be announced on Monday.

Boris Johnson is set to outline a new three-tiered system of restrictions, with measures expected to force pubs and restaurants to shut across the north of England.

Reports suggest under the top tier no household mixing will be allowed either, which could affect millions of people living in areas with high Covid-19 rates across England.

UK coronavirus cases

Leaders across northern England criticised the plans, accusing the government of treating the region as “second-class” and did not rule out possible legal action.

The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said the government held a weekend of crunch talks ahead of new coronavirus measures being brought in, with a final meeting scheduled with Downing Street at midday on Sunday where plans for local lockdown restrictions were due to be finalised.

Jenrick told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We are trying to work very closely with mayors, with council leaders, with chief executives to design these measures with them. That does take time.

“We want to have good communication between national and local government before we announce how we are going to take this forwards.”

The latest developments come as the number of people in hospital with coronavirus increased across every part of England on Saturday – rising to 1,167 in the north-west from 725 in the previous week.

A further 15,166 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK were reported on Saturday, and 81 more deaths were confirmed of people who died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 58,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

Under the proposed three-tier system, different parts of the country would be placed in different categories, with areas in the highest level expected to face the toughest restrictions.

Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool

Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool: ‘If this was down in the south-east, it simply wouldn’t be tolerated.’ Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, accused the government of taking away all autonomy from northern leaders as the shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, confirmed that northern Labour MPs would be looking at mechanisms to allow a vote on tier 3 restrictions in the north of England.

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show if she would be doing what it took to bring a vote on the matter, Nandy said: “The prime minister needs to come to the House of Commons tomorrow and make a statement. It would be incredible if he didn’t after the few days that we’ve just had here.

“But we also will be looking for mechanisms to make sure that there is a vote on this in the House of Commons.”

Anderson added: “We’ve got very little powers or influence over this and we are being done to rather than being collaborated with or talked to. That is going to have huge economic damage and damage that will take us back to the position this city was in in the 80s with large levels of unemployment, of people unemployed and it will set us back a long time.

“Let’s make it absolutely clear here, if this was down in the south-east, in London, it wouldn’t be happening. It simply wouldn’t be tolerated.”

A Conservative “trade union” of northern MPs has been launched to put pressure on Downing Street to deliver on its promises to the region.

Some 27 Conservative MPs are involved in the Northern Research Group, which is led by the Rossendale and Darwen MP, Jake Berry.

The former northern powerhouse minister told BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster: “It’s almost like a sort of trade union for northern MPs, where we can use our collective muscle and bargaining power together to make sure that we get the best possible deal on a pan-northern basis.”

Johnson achieved a commanding 80-seat Tory majority in the December general election by taking a swathe of seats from Labour’s traditional “red wall” across the north of England.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Northern England mayors given noon deadline to submit Covid plans | World news

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