Leaders of North East local authorities have come together to
take the unprecedented step of seeking greater controls from
government to introduce stricter COVID-19 prevention measures ahead
of national intervention.
With infection rates already rising rapidly across the region,
local authority leaders are keen to take drastic proactive action
to protect residents, communities, and businesses.
Nationally, it is understood to be the first instance of
neighbouring authorities uniting to lobby for stricter lockdown
restrictions ahead of them being imposed by government.
The leaders of Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council,
Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, North Tyneside
Council, Northumberland County Council and South Tyneside Council -
collectively the LA7 group - have contacted government requesting
powers to get ahead of the recent surge in cases.
Several authorities in the region have been added to the
national watchlist as places of enhanced concern with others likely
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and LA7
spokesperson, said: "The North East is renowned for its resilience
and togetherness and there is no greater time to come together than
during a crisis such as the one we all continue to face.
"Cases of COVID-19 are increasing rapidly across our region, and
it is only right that we take a joined-up approach to protect
residents right across the North East.
"Our towns and cities now have some of the highest infection
rates in the country and we are not prepared to sit and wait for
Government to tell us what to do.
"Together, we want to take action now to take back control and
stop this virus ripping through our communities.
"We're asking for the power, funding, and resources to change
things now in order to protect our most vulnerable. We know that a
large proportion of the transmission occurs in the hospitality
trade and in people's homes, so we need to be able to target these
areas among others.
"But we also need greater control over test and trace, to be
able to fully understand the outbreaks as they occur and work with
Public Health England and the NHS to implement effective outbreak
"This is not the time for inaction. If we are to protect those
most susceptible to the virus, we need to be able to act now and
that is exactly what we are collectively trying to
Possible measures that could be introduced include reduced
operating hours for pubs, restaurants, takeaways and cafes, and
stricter limits on the number of people allowed to visit others not
in their household or support bubble.
New restrictions and where they apply will be announced once
they have been agreed.
Published 16th Sept 2020
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community