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Some Tier 3 regions have stricter lockdown rules than others – here’s why

Written by on 20/10/2020

Areas being placed under the highest Tier 3 lockdown measures are having to negotiate some of the rules with the government.

Sky News looks at what the differences are between Tier 3 regions, and what the areas that could be placed under stricter coronavirus measures are asking for.

Liverpool City Region and Lancashire, with Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, are the only areas so far in the highest tier.

Unlike the other tiers, some rules beyond the minimum baseline measures can differ in different areas as they are “subject to consultation with local authorities based on local evidence”, according to the Department of Health.

The rules that can be negotiated include closing hospitality venues, leisure centres, gyms, public buildings, personal care services and performing arts venues, and preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality venues.

A support package for people who cannot work due to the measures and for additional Test and Trace activity is also a negotiation issue.

Here are the different measures negotiated in different areas:

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Liverpool City Region

It was the first area to be placed under Tier 3 rules and indoor gyms, dance studios, sports facilities, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos had to close.

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Liverpool Mayor: New rules were forced on us

It received £14m to support Test and Trace and enforcement efforts when it was placed in Tier 3 on 14 October.

An additional £30m in business support was given to the region a few days later following negotiations, bringing the total to £44m.

Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen

The area has been in Tier 3 since 19 October, with car boot sales, adult gaming centres, bingo halls, betting shops and soft play areas having to close.

A financial support package of £42m was secured for businesses, the care sector and schools.

Its leaders were seeking £58.2m and the government had initially put only £12m on the table.

Differences between Liverpool City Region and Lancashire measures

A row has erupted because gyms and leisure centres are allowed to remain open in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen, but not in Liverpool.

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‘We need more money for Lancashire’

Liverpool leaders wrote to the prime minister on 19 October demanding an explanation of the different measures and asking for an immediate review into the decision.

They said they never asked for gyms and leisure centres to be closed and that they told ministers they have “fitness and mental health benefits”.

The decision to allow Lancashire’s gyms to remain open and not theirs was “complexing” and they had received no scientific basis to close gyms despite requesting it, they said.

And they added that the “inconsistencies” undermined the tier system.

Greater Manchester

Leaders in Greater Manchester have been negotiating with the government for more than a week about being placed in Tier 3.

Moving the region into the highest lockdown tier has been delayed as they believe they should get £75m in financial support but the government is only offering £22m.

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‘Tier 3 lockdown will cause certain harm’

What are the areas that could soon be placed in Tier 3 and what are they hoping for?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside are holding discussions this week with the government about going into Tier 3.

Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central in South Yorkshire, said talks are ongoing but the government has not yet offered the support he deems is needed “to protect lives and livelihoods” in the area.

Sowerby Bridge councillor Adam Wilkinson said moving West Yorkshire into Tier 3 is “news to us on the council, and would be odd given our infection rates have been stable for the past 7 days”.

Leeds, West Yorkshire’s main city, has an infection rate of 369.8 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to 15 October, down from 426.8 per 100,000 the week before.

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Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen said he would be calling for “a package that properly protects local people, businesses, jobs and education, whether it’s for Tier 2 or Tier 3”.

Nottingham has the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country at 711.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to 15 October, down from 1001.2 per 100,000 in the seven days up to 8 October.

The North East was given a reprieve last week after council leaders argued they should remain in Tier 2. They are hopeful that with the region’s rates dropping they can stay out of Tier 3.

Despite Mr Hancock including Teesside in the talks, Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said he spoke to the health secretary and said “there are no imminent plans to move our area to Tier 3”.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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