'It feels like a North- South divide' – South Tyneside MPs hit out over Tier 3 restrictions
It was confirmed on Thursday, November 26 that the whole of the North East will be placed into Tier 3 following the end of the national Covid-19 lockdown next week.
It means that from December 3, the region will be subjected to the toughest measures – meaning households cannot mix and the hospitality industry must remain shut.
The Member of Parliament for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck has hit out against the decision, saying it is impacting on her constituents liberty.
When challenging the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, in the House of Commons, Mrs Lewell-Buck said: "We are stuck in an endless cycle of lockdowns that simply are not working.
"The Government has again wasted the opportunity over the last few weeks to get a handle on testing, tracing and isolating.
"So once again, hospitality in South Shields is going to be absolutely battered and my constituents liberty impacted on.”
MP for Jarrow, Kate Osborne has claimed that the decision “makes no sense” and feels like a “North-South divide”.
She said: “It is extremely disappointing that the Jarrow constituency will be moving into Tier 3 restrictions from next week.
“We went into the national lockdown in Tier 2 and the infection rate in our region has started to drop in recent days so it makes no sense to put our area into Tier 3.
“This move feels very much like a North-South divide.”
“Moving into Tier 3 will devastate the hospitality sector as we approach its busiest time of year and will cause real hardship for people whose jobs will be affected and risk the loss of many businesses.
“Pubs, bars, restaurants, and other businesses who cannot open under Tier 3 restrictions have gone above and beyond to keep their customers safe throughout these difficult times.”
The Northern Regional Secretary Beth Farhat from the Northern TUC (Trades Union Congress) has highlighted that the tough restrictions are applying further pressure to already-struggling industries.
She commented: “With the toughest restrictions put in place here in the North East, more pressure is being heaped on already-struggling sectors like hospitality and the arts.
“Without greater support, businesses will close and jobs will be lost. And support for local government to manage the impact is still much too low.
“The spending review was a missed opportunity to fix some of these urgent issues.
"Ministers must act to prevent unnecessary hardship this winter by providing targeted packages for hard-hit industries, boosting sick pay to a real Living Wage so that people can afford to self-isolate and increasing Universal Credit.”
From next week, non-essential retail and gyms will be able to open across the North East however pubs, bars and restaurants must remain closed.
Households will not be allowed to mix and wedding receptions will also be banned.
Under Tier 3 restrictions, spectators will not be permitted to attend live events, such as football matches and theatre productions.