North East UK news Calls for Northumberland to break from North East to avoid Tier 3 restrictions MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The leader of Northumberland Council has defended joining up with the other 'LA7' authorities, but says Northumberland could be a 'special case' if the North East moves to Tier 3
Breaking News ! Two Northumberland councillors have demanded a vote in a bid to stop the county being put under the same restrictions as the rest of the North East. Since September, the seven local authorities of Northumberland, Newcastle, County Durham, Sunderland, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside (the 'LA7' group) have acted as one in jointly calling for new powers and restrictions from Government, in a bid to slow the rapid rise of coronavirus across the region. While they jointly called for the first 'local lockdown style' restrictions that were imposed in the region, they've also stood together to oppose tougher 'Tier 3' rules. But some in Northumberland argue the county should break away. The North East has one week to show reducing coronavirus rates, or it's likely to be thrust into the 'very high' alert level under the Government's new three-tier system. Northumberland currently has the lowest rate of cases in the North East, but the numbers are still high, at 170.6 per 100,000 people (550 cases) this week - declining from 183.3 (591 cases) the week before. By contrast, the worst-hit local authority, Newcastle, had a rate of 443.2 per 100,000 this week, with 1342 individual cases identified. In a letter to Nothumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson on Friday night, Berwick East county councillor Georgina Hill said: “The problem is that we have attached ourselves to the LA7 meaning that the whole of the North East is being considered by the Government en bloc. "This was not a formal decision made by Northumberland County Council and neither councillors nor residents were consulted on it. "We, therefore, ask that you seek the views of councillors through an indicative, named vote at a public, online meeting next week.
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"The vote would be to withdraw from the LA7 and lobby for Northumberland separately. I trust that in the exercise of your delegated and emergency powers, as the leader of NCC, you would honour this vote and reflect our wishes”. The proposal was backed by Rothbury Councillor Steven Bridgett, who told Coun Sanderson: “I have had numerous correspondence from my residents stating that it was the council (and in turn me as an elected member) that called for the current measures and I have had to repeatedly tell them that the original decision taken by this council was not voted on by full council, nor was it scrutinised or debated by members. "I think at the very least we need an indicative vote should the Government look to take us down the road of Tier 3 restrictions." The council leader defended the decision to join the neighbouring authorities - but suggested the county should be seen as a "special case" if the region was forced into Tier 3.
Coun Sanderson said: “Acting on public health advice, and with the health of residents and visitors to Northumberland our top priority, I believe that we made the right decision then and that it is still right for Northumberland now. “The advice we received from public health experts was categorical, that due to travel between the county and other parts of the region, for work, school and leisure, Northumberland needed to be in the same zone as the other regional authorities. "We fully understand how difficult this is for everyone, our families, our businesses and for the county as a whole, but the actions we have all taken have helped to stabilise a rapidly escalating situation. “I have however made it clear to ministers and officials that should Tier 3 be imposed on the LA7 we will strongly oppose this for Northumberland, based on our current figures. "The current restrictions are tough enough and I believe that our county should be a special case. “I have made sure that every member has had the opportunity to be fully up to speed with the latest public health data, and in discussions with councillors from across Northumberland have received overwhelming support for our approach. “Ultimately decisions about which tier we are in will be made by Government, but health and wellbeing for the whole of Northumberland is our top priority and we will always abide by what is considered to be the safest option.”
Source = MetiNews.Com