Leaders in the north of England have warned further coronavirus restrictions would have a “devastating” effect on the country and the overall regional economy.
Their comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to make a statement to MPs on Monday amid expectations that a three-tier local lockdown system will be introduced across England.
In a joint letter to the chancellor and health and housing secretaries on Friday, mayors and councillors said another lockdown will result in the “levelling down” of the region.
They said: “We remain to be convinced that further restrictions that involve closing businesses would be the most effective way of tackling the virus, particularly when the health of our economy, people’s jobs and livelihoods are at stake.
“Therefore, we are concerned by rumours in the media that we might be pushed into Level 3 of a new system set to be introduced, without any discussion or consultation, or without adequate economic measures put in place to support affected people and businesses.
“Another lockdown will have a devastating effect on our town and city centres and the overall regional economy. It will result in a levelling down of our region and undo the good work we have done over the last decade to improve the fortunes of our people.”
A number of possibilities were outlined during a telephone meeting between local leaders and Westminster figures, including the prime minister’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister, on Friday.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick was also on the call.