The North of Tyne Mayor has signed a joint letter calling for an urgent vote in Parliament asking for increased financial support for those living under the highest, Tier 3 of lockdown.
Jamie Driscoll sent the letter together with Manchester's Mayor Andy Burnham and the Liverpool City Mayor. Mr Driscoll says although nowhere in the North East is currently under tier 3 restrictions, it cannot be ruled out in coming weeks, and people's livelihoods must be protected.
What did the letter say?
The letter outlines what the Mayors of the Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester and North of Tyne believe is the minimum level of support that should come with Tier 3status:
• A full and fair furlough scheme for all affected workers, covering 80% of anemployee's regular wage or at least the national minimum wage. We believe thatthis should be paid to workers in businesses forced to close but also those in thesupply chain that can provide evidence of a major loss of trade caused by theclosures.• A Self-Employed Income Support Scheme set at 80% of average monthly income.This should be available to those who can provide evidence of a major loss of tradearising from Tier 3 closures, including freelancers.• An improved compensation scheme for businesses directly or indirectlyimpacted based on the national scheme on rateable values.
On Saturday 17 October, York joined the North East in Tier 2. The city is now on 'high' alert, and indoor household meetings will be banned, on top of the restrictions already in place.
Next week, the City of York Council setting up its own test and trace system to help reduce infections.
Mr Burnham and cross-party local leaders from the north of England are opposing Tier 3 restrictions without greater financial support for workers and businesses.
The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester told ITV News that those on low wages, such as pub staff and taxi drivers, will be hit hardest by the curbs on the hospitality sector that Tier 3 would entail.
Medium (Tier 1) - Rule of six applies indoors and outdoors. Pubs and restaurants close at 10pm.
High (Tier 2) - Households must not mix indoors in any setting including pubs and restaurants. Rule of six applies outdoors
Very high (Tier 3) - Households must not mix indoors, or in private gardens. Rule of six applies in outdoor spaces including parks. Pubs and bars which don't serve meals will be closed