In Full: The Northeast Leaders’ Challenge Message to Government Regarding Level 3 Restrictions


Northeast leaders have sent a provocative message to the government in the fight against the imposition of Level 3 restrictions. Leaders from Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham have signed a joint statement urging the government not to impose ‘devastating’ restrictions on coronaviruses.

In the letter, the leaders said there was “evidence of a flattening of the curve” and “there is a collective view – we can make Alert Level 2 work.”

They urged the government to give more time to the current restrictions and warned that the economic consequences would be “devastating without additional support.”

The authorities have also stated that more financial support is needed for these areas at Levels 2 and 3.

They warned that paying two-thirds of wages “would not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands of people” and that payments to employees of companies forced to close should at least match 80% of the original holiday program.

Read the entire letter below:

The leaders of the seven councils of Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham, along with the Mayor of North Tyne and the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, remain united in our approach to tackle the pandemic.

At every turn, we put aside all differences to work together for the benefit of our residents, businesses and communities.

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

Although we welcomed the government’s response, the package of measures we proposed to support this initiative was not delivered.

Three weeks later, and there’s evidence that the restrictions are starting to have an impact. The numbers are moving in the right direction, with the rise in cases slowing down and giving us cautious optimism.

We are concerned about the suggestion that a decision could be taken at the national level to bring our region to Alert Level 3, and we strongly oppose it at this time.

We are seeing evidence of a flattening of the curve and there is a collective vision – shared by all the leaders, CEOs and critically our superb directors of public health that, with public support, we can make it work. alert level 2.

Our thanks to everyone who has done their part so far, if we are to beat Covid-19 and protect our most vulnerable residents, we need everyone to follow the restrictions in place, avoid gatherings and mixtures at indoors with other households, and maintains the ‘Hands, Face, Space public health advice at all times.

In the spring, it took us a full month before we started to see the impact of the lockdown – it will take the same time to see if our latest restrictions work.

We call on the government to work with us and give the final measures enough time to work before considering further restrictions.

The priority has been and always will be the health of our residents and reducing Covid infection rates remains our goal, but we also need to do all we can to protect our economy – and for that we need the support of the government.

A larger package of financial support is needed for these areas at alert levels 2 and 3. Paying two-thirds of wages will not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands of people – it should at least correspond to the 80% available in leave, with the minimum wage as minimum support.

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The business support package needs to recognize the broader issue of supply chains as well as premises that are operating at very low capacity at alert level 2 or which are completely closed at level 3.

Such economic support will protect jobs, prevent people from sliding into poverty, and provide a much better base from which to quickly rebuild our economy as it emerges from the pandemic.

In addition, the failed testing and tracing system must be in the hands of public health experts with knowledge and experience of local contact tracing dating back many years. Local teams are already outperforming the national system, so giving them the necessary resources will immediately improve the situation.

Together with the police, we need the powers and resources to immediately shut down any business in violation of regulations as well as to tackle behaviors that endanger public health, while supporting the vast majority of our businesses that have made incredible efforts to carry out their operations. Coivd-secure.

We are committed to working with government, but it must be a real collaboration, driven by data, rather than the restrictions placed on us.

We would welcome an urgent response to our proposals to support residents, communities, businesses and utilities through the difficult winter months ahead.

We strongly believe that now is not the time to go to Alert Level 3, the evidence does not support it and the economic consequences will be devastating without further support.

Coun Nick Forbes, CBE, Head of Newcastle City Council

Coun Martin Gannon, Head of the Gateshead Council

Coun Glen Sanderson, Head of Northumberland County Council

Norma Redfearn CBE, elected mayor of the North Tyneside Council

Coun Iain Malcolm, chef du South Tyneside Council

Coun Graeme Miller, Head of Sunderland City Council

Coun Simon Henig, CBE, Head of County Durham Council

Jamie Driscoll, maire de North of Tyne

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner


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