A NORTH-EAST council leader has slammed a decision to place the region under Tier 3, while ‘sparing’ parts of London from the same restrictions where infection rates are high.
The government has been accused of providing London boroughs with “preferential treatment” despite some areas seeing a high number of new cases.
Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Council, has asked the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to justify why some London boroughs have escaped Tier 3.
The restrictions, which will come into force once the national lockdown ends on December 2, will see pubs and restaurants remained shut and a ban on mixing with other households in ‘any’ indoor settings, and most outdoor spaces.
This afternoon, Mr Moore tweeted: “Dear Matt Hancock, please can you explain why these London Boroughs have been spared T3 restrictions?
“Once again London getting preferential treatment while the North is punished.
“Maybe test equally in London too & you’ll get a real picture. #tiersystem #farce”.
And in a further tweet, he added: “Let’s look at the Tees Valley vs London 7-day positivity rate to 22nd November too.
“Virus is just as prevalent in London as up here, only difference is we are testing and identifying it.”
Official data shows one London borough – Havering – has a significantly high infection rate of 360 cases per 100,000 people, but this area will only see Tier 2 rules apply.
In the North-East and North Yorkshire, data as of November 26, showed twelve council areas had a lower weekly Covid infection rate than in Havering.
But this afternoon responding to criticism over the three-tier system, Downing Street refuted any suggestion that some London boroughs had recieved such treatment.
A spokesperson for the the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We have based tiers on the criteria that we have set out.
“We have been clear on the criteria that we have based the tiering system on and you have got the written ministerial statement that explains the rationale for each area.”
A summary for the decision to place the North-East into Tier 3 was earlier posted online by the government.
When explaining the rationale behind placing the Tees Valley Combined Authority Area – which covers Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland – the government said cases still remained ‘very high.’
The government said: “While case rates are now decreasing in all lower tier local authorities, they remain very high at 390 people per 100,000 across the region, with positivity also very high at 13.3 per cent.
“The case rate in over 60s remains very high at 292 per 100,000. NHS admissions in the area have remained high in November.”