Hartlepool council leader writes to Boris Johnson and appeals for PM to ‘work with us’ to fight virus
Hartlepool’s council leader has written to Boris Johnson asking him to think again about the latest restrictions imposed on the town.
Councillor Shane Moore expressed his ‘incredible disappointment’ in a letter to the Prime Minister that the new restrictions went much further than the council asked for, including a ban on household mixing in Covid-safe social settings, such as pubs and restaurants.
He said an expected new three-tier system of lockdown provides a chance to remove such a ban from the second tier and urged Mr Johnson to do so “in the strongest terms”.
And if not, he said financial support must be given to businesses affected.
Cllr Moore also said that the three-tier lockdown system needs to provide much more clarity on the rules, Government financial support for local authorities and businesses, and much better communication between central and local government.
He also said there needs to be a clear exit strategy to give people ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
Cllr Moore said: “You cannot and will not get support of the public unless you empower them to help us tackle this.”
He added: “Prime Minister, I urge you to work constructively with us, our Tees Valley neighbours, Ben Houchen and local MPs regardless of political persuasions to create a new set of restrictions that enable us to take the fight to this virus, but at the same time allows us to live fearlessly in some form of normality.
"Without this I have grave concerns for the economic outlook for the Tees Valley and wider health implications for our residents when we come out of this crisis.”
It comes as the Hartlepool Labour party has written to Cllr Moore expressing the need to put politics aside and offering their support in challenging the Government over the new lockdown rules that Labour believe will cause ‘irrevocable damage’ to local businesses.
The letter co-signed by MP Mike Hill, Labour group leader Cllr Paddy Brown and Hartlepool CLP chair Moss Body, says: “A united front, irrespective of party or politics, is vital in ensuring that Ministers are forced to listen and so that Hartlepool can come through this crisis.
"You have our full support as Council Leader in ensuring this happens.”
Labour also urged all residents to abide by the Covid rules whatever they think of them.
Earlier, Cllr Paddy Brown and fellow Labour group leader for Middlesbrough, Cllr Matthew Storey, issued four demands to local and central government over the latest lockdowns on the two towns.
They are calling on their councils to produce a plan for coming out of local lockdown and for the government to engage on it, and the rules to be made clearer with government funded advertising campaigns.
They also want the Government to engage with the councils and provide more funding than the £7 million announced, and more support for businesses as the Furlough Scheme comes to an end.
Cllr Brown said: "We need a clear exit plan with trigger points along the way, and we need the Government to implement this in a clear and concise manner."