Politicians and bosses in the North blast 'London-centric' Boris

Fury in the North: Politicians and bosses blast ‘London-centric’ Boris over his ‘diktats’ to lockdown 10m people and hammer businesses that are already ‘on their knees’

  • Boris Johnson to announce plans for Tier Three lockdown in the North next week
  • The new system’s harsh measures include closing restaurants, pubs and bars
  • Politicians said the North is being treated like a ‘petri dish’ for new solutions
  • Pub landlords say their industry is being made a scapegoat for bad decisions 

Business owners and politicians in the North have criticised the Government for imposing harsh new lockdown restrictions.

Freedoms will be rolled back in a huge swathe of the North next week after Boris Johnson signed off a new ‘traffic light’ system of local curbs for England.

The mechanism for classifying the harshest ‘red’ or ‘Tier Three’ zones are still unclear, but they are expected to cover Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle – three cities that have continued to see infection rises despite other restrictions.

Hospitality businesses are set to be shut under the new measures, likely to be confirmed Monday and imposed from Wednesday, but shops, offices and schools will stay open.

Conservative MPs and local leaders in the North have been venting fury about the government’s stance, with former minister Jake Berry accusing the premier of being ‘London-centric’ and enjoying his sweeping emergency powers ‘a little bit too much’. 

Politicians in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield raged at ‘diktats announced without notice’ and said ministers were treating the North like a ‘petri dish for experimentation’ while the South gets off lightly. 

Pub and restaurant owners in Liverpool have also blasted the Government for further endangering an industry already on its knees.

Carol Ross, 61, who has run the Roscoe Head pub for 25 years which has been in her family for 40 years, said: ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know why pubs are being targeted but it’s ludicrous.

‘It’s almost as if the government want to kill off the pubs.’

Ms Ross’s real ale boozer is just one of five pubs in the country to have featured in every in every edition of the Camra Good Beer Guide since it was first published in 1974.

She added: ‘No-one is coming to the pubs anyway as people are being told not to use public transport so how can they get to the pub. People have also been told to work from home.

Carol Ross, 61, has run the Roscoe Head pub for 25 years which has been in her family for 40 years

She said pubs are already on their knees and are being unfairly  targeted with the new lockdown measures

‘How can Boris Johnson blame the pubs for the spike in cases when no-one is coming to the pubs at the moment to spread it. 

‘At the moment if we have 20 people in all day then we are doing well.

‘We are on our knees and we need help. The government needs to sort out a proper financial package.’

She continued: ‘For me pubs are one of the safest places and we’ve not had a single case. We have track and trace, social distancing and table service only.

‘All my regulars know the rules and they are responsible people and are following those rules.

She warned many pubs will be killed off by the new measures with many already on their knees

‘The government will kill off a lot of pubs and I don’t know how many will shut. If this keeps up we will be in trouble. We need their help otherwise pubs will be decimated.’

Scientists are warning that coronavirus has a ‘gun to the head’ of the country as daily cases hit 17,540, with a health minister suggesting hospitals could be swamped in 10 days unless the government steps up its response.

As the coronavirus crisis escalated again today:

  • The UK today recorded 17,540 more infections and 77 deaths, with the number of people testing positive for the disease every day having nearly tripled in a fortnight; 
  • The leader of Nottingham council leader has voiced alarm at the delay in announcing tighter restrictions to control a surge in the area until the traffic light system is announced on Monday. Labour’s David Mellen said he feared people would have a ‘blow out’ weekend in expectation of the crackdown; 
  • Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of sentencing thousands of businesses to ‘death’ by imposing a draconian shutdown of pubs and restaurants in Scotland;
  • Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick refused to cite scientific evidence for the 10pm pubs curfew, merely saying it was ‘commonsensical’; 
  • Mr Jenrick hinted that the government could soon urge workers to wear masks in offices, saying the idea had ‘benefits’ and would be considered by the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty;
  • A leading scientist has voiced alarm at speculation people could be reinfected with coronavirus, saying that could mean the problem is around ‘forever’; 

Libby Orr, 42, who runs gastropub The Edge at Joey Orr’s in Walton, Liverpool with her sister Nicola, said: ‘It is terrifying to thing of the effect it will have on us and everyone else.

‘I have had my staff call up this morning asking if they are going to be paid.

Libby Orr, 42, who runs gastropub The Edge at Joey Orr’s in Walton, Liverpool with her sister Nicola

‘The government has made pubs and restaurants a scapegoat. We have followed all the rules but we are being punished.’

Ms Orr gave away 2,500 free local meals during the first major lockdown and believes pubs are bearing the brunt of the new rules. 

She said: ‘It is terrifying to thing of the effect it will have on us and everyone else. 

‘We introduced table service and a rule of six even before we were told to do so and made the pub and restaurant Covid secure.

‘But now they want to punish us – it’s madness.

Ms Orr gave away 2,500 free local meals during the first major lockdown and believes pubs are bearing the brunt of the new rules

‘The government should take a long hard look at themselves – they haven’t done anything nearly fast enough. Some of their rules have been baffling and people are scared.’

She added: ‘Our staff are having to do some much more and out capacity has shrunk so much that it is difficult making it work.

‘We have gone from being able to have 180 people down to 62 and now down to 42. It’s crazy.

‘The hospitality sector desperately needs more money from the government otherwise it will collapse.’

Ms Orr said: ‘The government should take a long hard look at themselves – they haven’t done anything nearly fast enough’

Health minister Nadine Dorries warned those telling the government not to impose further curbs that hospital admissions will be ‘at a critical stage’ in 10 days’ time.

Meanwhile MPs were reportedly told in a briefing led by Chief Medical Office Chris Whitty that 41 per cent of infected under-30s had contracted the virus it in a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe. 

Across all age groups a quarter of infections originated from those settings. 

Pub landlord Paul Laing, 51, who runs Frank’s Bar in Liverpool and The Jollys in Bootle, said he is preparing for a 14-day lockdown on Merseyside.

He runs Frank’s Bar in Liverpool and The Jollys in Bootle, Merseyside.

Pub landlord Paul Laing, 51, who runs Frank’s Bar in Liverpool and The Jollys in Bootle, said he is preparing for a 14-day lockdown on Merseyside

He told Mailonline: ‘One of my beer supplies is not making any deliveries after Friday.

‘In a way, I am in favour and myself and other bar owners were going to offer to go into voluntary lockdown.

‘If we have to have one, we’d rather have one know so we can have a Christmas. That would be a disaster if we were told to lockdown later.’

He added: ‘But I feel we are being made a scapegoat.

The landlord said his beer suppliers are not making deliveries after Friday and he would prefer to go into lockdown now

‘There is no scientific evidence pubs are spreading coronavirus.

‘One of my bars is in a student area. The students are all behaving themselves when they are in my bar with social distancing and the like.

‘But it is when they are not in a controlled environment like at house parties that problems happen. But I do not blame them as they have been locked for months.’

Meanwhile Kate Stewart, owner of the Sandon pub in Anfield, Liverpool, said: ‘The new restrictions will be absolutely catastrophic for the hospitality industry. 

‘I am devastated, we have just started to open our doors and welcome back guests and now we are looking at closing again. 

Meanwhile Kate Stewart, owner of the Sandon pub in Anfield, Liverpool, said: the new restrictions will be absolutely catastrophic for the hospitality industry

‘The hospitality sector has spent millions on PPE, extra staff training, additional cleaning measures, everything that we could have possibly done. 

‘We can’t keep doing this. We can’t keep messing the staff around – we can’t keep messing the customers around. It’s just cruel what they are doing.’

Mr Johnson is coming under massive pressure from scientists to go further than current measures and impose a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown similar to that dramatically announced by Nicola Sturgeon yesterday. 

For 16 days from tomorrow pubs and restaurants in Scotland are being banned from serving alcohol indoors and must close by 6pm. In large areas north of the border hospitality venues are being told to shut altogether.

The government’s SAGE group was meeting this afternoon, with one member, Professor John Edmunds, saying beforehand that a short sharp shock was needed to ‘stop the epidemic from getting out of control in the next few weeks or months and overwhelming the health service’.

‘We are not that far away from that. I hate to be gloomy, but in the North of England now we are not that far away from the health service being stretched,’ he told a Royal Society of Medicine webinar. 

Prof Edmunds denied scientists were ‘holding a gun to the PM’s head’ on the restrictions. ‘It’s the virus holding a gun to the PM’s head,’ he said. 

There was a slight relief for Mr Johnson this afternoon as Keir Starmer backed off a confrontation over the blanket 10pm pubs curfew – which critics say is making matters worse – to get the plans through Parliament. The Labour leader said his MPs will not oppose the measure in a crunch vote next week, although he wants the policy reviewed. 

The above slide reveals that, according to Public Health England, 41 per cent of coronavirus infections in the UK have been linked to pubs, bars or restaurants

These graphs were also shown at the briefing. The suggest infections across all age groups are higher in the North of England than the rest of the country

The graphs also warned that more people could be in intensive care in the North within three weeks than were at the start of the pandemic

Two-thirds of public would back Scottish-style ‘circuit breaker’ nationwide lockdown

An exclusive poll for MailOnline by Redfield & Wilton Strategies has found strong support for a nationwide ‘short sharp shock’ of tough restrictions across the country in a bid to break transmission chains

Nearly two-thirds of the public would back a Scottish-style ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown as Boris Johnson prepares to shut pubs and restaurants in the North.

An exclusive poll for MailOnline has found strong support for a ‘short sharp shock’ of tough restrictions across the country in a bid to break transmission chains.

The research by Redfield &Wilton Strategies also uncovered widespread confusion and disaffection with the current complex local curbs. 

Around a third of Birtons are not confident they know the rules in their area, while half admit they have not been following them fully.

Cabinet divisions led to a delay in the introduction of the new three-tier system, with the overhaul originally set to be introduced today.  

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and other ‘hawks’ alarmed about the impact on the economy clashed with ‘doves’ Matt Hancock and Michael Gove over elements of the plan.

Mr Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma pushed for more clarity about the triggers for lockdown and argued that more social distancing restrictions should not be uniformly applied across regions.

On the other hand, Mr Hancock and Mr Gove argued that allowing even minor flexibility would undermine the effort to clarify the public health message. 

A meeting on Monday broke up without agreement – but the PM signed off on the new ‘traffic light’ arrangements along with a compensation package last night. 

It is expected to be unveiled formally on Monday, and take effect from Wednesday. 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick came close to confirming this morning that action is looming on pubs and restaurants. 

‘It is correct to say the number of cases in the North West and the North East and a number of cities, particularly in the Midlands like Nottingham, are rising fast and that is a serious situation,’ he said.

‘We are currently considering what steps we should take, obviously taking the advice of our scientific and medical advisers, and a decision will be made shortly.

‘But I’m not able to give you right now exactly what is going to happen.’

Asked if there will be an announcement linked to the hospitality trade next week, Mr Jenrick said: ‘We are considering the evidence. In some parts of the country, the number of cases are rising very fast and we are taking that very seriously.

‘If we do have to take further steps, then obviously we will take very seriously how we can help and support those individual businesses.’    

The Chancellor is thought to have won the right to be consulted before businesses in the hospitality sector are shut down because of the implications for public spending. 

One source told The Times: ‘There’s been unease about the way decisions are happening. It’s opaque. Rishi was pushing for clearer lines.’

The extent of anger among Tories – and crucially MPs from the ‘Red Wall’ of former Labour seats that delivered Mr Johnson his stunning majority in December – was on display last night as the Commons debated the local restrictions. 

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, who was Northern Powerhouse minister under Theresa May,  said: ‘I think the Government has fallen into that fatal trap of making national decisions based on a London-centric view with London data.’

Red Wall rage at PM’s lockdown in the North 

The extent of anger among Tories – and crucially MPs from the ‘Red Wall’ of former Labour seats that delivered Mr Johnson his stunning majority in December – was on display last night as the Commons debated the local restrictions. 

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, who was Northern Powerhouse minister under Theresa May,  said: ‘I think the Government has fallen into that fatal trap of making national decisions based on a London-centric view with London data.’

He raised concerns over liberties and freedoms adding: ‘Day by day we see those liberties and freedoms being given away back to the Government in the name of Covid.

‘I’m afraid that has to stop, because once we give these up they will not come back to us, the Government will not return them to us.’

He added: ‘The worst of society is the Government enjoying these new powers a little bit too much.

‘Police officers fining people for being in their front gardens, a bizarre ban on sunbathing on your own in public open spaces.’

Conservative MP for Crewe and Nantwhich Dr Kieran Mullan called for the Government to ‘work harder’ at proving its policies are evidence-based and effective.

Dehenna Davison, who took the Bishop Auckland constituency into Tory hands for the first time in history, highlighted the difficulties for a pub landlord who made his premises Covid-secure but has seen his takings fall dramatically.

Ms Davison said: ‘Last weekend he told me rather than his usual Saturday take of £5,000 to £6,000, he took only £128 all day – not even enough to cover his entire staffing bill.

‘Between the 10 o’clock curfew and the lack of households being able to meet, I’m really concerned these restrictions without additional financial support may have the overall impact of closing pubs not just for lockdown but for good.’

He raised concerns over liberties and freedoms adding: ‘Day by day we see those liberties and freedoms being given away back to the Government in the name of Covid.

‘I’m afraid that has to stop, because once we give these up they will not come back to us, the Government will not return them to us.’

He added: ‘The worst of society is the Government enjoying these new powers a little bit too much.

‘Police officers fining people for being in their front gardens, a bizarre ban on sunbathing on your own in public open spaces.’

Conservative MP for Crewe and Nantwhich Dr Kieran Mullan called for the Government to ‘work harder’ at proving its policies are evidence-based and effective.

Dehenna Davison, who took the Bishop Auckland constituency into Tory hands for the first time in history, highlighted the difficulties for a pub landlord who made his premises Covid-secure but has seen his takings fall dramatically.

Ms Davison said: ‘Last weekend he told me rather than his usual Saturday take of £5,000 to £6,000, he took only £128 all day – not even enough to cover his entire staffing bill.

‘Between the 10 o’clock curfew and the lack of households being able to meet, I’m really concerned these restrictions without additional financial support may have the overall impact of closing pubs not just for lockdown but for good.’

Liverpool’s Labour mayor Steve Rotheram told ITV’s GMB programme: ‘What we’ve seen is an ever-widening North-South divide in measures being taken. 

‘Quite simply the North should not be a petri dish for experimentation by central government.’ 

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: ‘No discussion. No consultation. 

‘Millions of lives affected by Whitehall diktat. It is proving impossible to deal with this Government.’ 

But health minister Nadine Dorries gave the complaints short shrift. Taking to Twitter, she claimed the UK was just 10 days from being in a ‘critical stage’. 

‘Those who now claim that further measures are not needed, will in about ten days from now, when hospital admissions are at a critical stage argue that we didn’t do enough. We must do all we can to prevent our ICUs #NHS from becoming overwhelmed #COVID19,’ she wrote.

Leaked documents obtained by the Nottingham Post reveal that the city and surrounding areas are set to be added to the Tier 2 restrictions. 

Sent to senior figures in the city and county, they make clear households will not be able to mix in any indoor settings. 

‘Our current expectation is that the approach will be announced on Monday, October 12 with the new standardised regulations coming into force on Wednesday October 14,’ the document said.

It also suggested that the Tier 3 restrictions might not have been completely sealed.

‘Level One and Two measures have now been signed off by Covid O committee but there is further work ongoing on Level 3,’ the letter said. 

Addressing the NHS Providers conference today, Mr Hancock said the country has reached a ‘perilous moment’.

‘We are at a perilous moment in the course of this pandemic,’ he said.

Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) is set to ignore critics and impose Tier Three restrictions – the highest level of a new alert system – in Covid-hit areas of the north

‘I am very worried about the growth in the number of cases, especially in the North West and the North East of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and parts of Yorkshire.’

He added: ‘In parts of the country the situation is again becoming very serious.

‘Hospitalisations in the North West are doubling approximately every fortnight. They have risen by 57% in just the last week alone.

‘Unfortunately we’re seeing hospitalisations in the over-60s rising sharply and the number of deaths from coronavirus also rising.’

Following the revelation that almost 16,000 ‘missed’ cases had been added to the system, infection rates spiralled in every authority of the country except four at the weekend – all of those unaffected were in the South. The cases were mostly added to the North West of the country, with other areas in the North East and Midlands also hit badly

Mr Hancock went on: ‘We know from bitter experience that the more coronavirus spreads, the harder it is to do all the other vital work of the NHS too.’

He added: ‘The message to the public must be that we all have a part to play to control this virus.

‘Our strategy is simple – suppress the virus, supporting the economy, education and the NHS until a vaccine can make us safe.’

He told health leaders: ‘My message to everyone in the NHS is that we can and we will get through this.

‘Sadly, there will be more difficult times ahead but we will get through this together.’

Meanwhile, the backlash against Ms Sturgeon’s move has been gathering pace in Scotland.

UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod today warned that many businesses won’t survive the new restrictions on hospitality and licensed trade north of the border and said tens of thousands of jobs will be lost. 

Department of Health data shows that the numbers of people in hospital in the North of England has hit around a third of the level it was at during the epidemic’s peak in April. Meanwhile, admissions are surging in those regions while the rate of increase is much slower in most other areas (illustrated in the graphs)

And Kate Nicholls, CEO of the association in England, urged the government to consider ‘more substantive support’. 

She told BBC Radio 4: ‘In Scotland £40million between 16,000 licenced premises equates to just over £2,000 for those people. It barely keeps the lights on let alone saves a job.’

Despite the drastic action on the table, Mr Johnson is facing a desperate battle to stop MPs rejecting the existing 10pm curfew rules across England.

Pub landlords protest against 10pm curfew

Pub landlords are to protest against Boris Johnson’s 10pm curfew this weekend as he and his ministers come under increasing pressure to explain how it is helping the fight against coronavirus.

Venues across the country are being urged to flash their lights in an ‘SOS’ Morse Code pattern in the minutes after the enforced shutdown tomorrow and Saturday to demonstrate their fury.

The campaign comes as Labour leader Keir Starmer ruled out opposing the curfew in a commons vote next Tuesday. The vote would have allowed rebel MPs to throw out the measure and force ministers into a rethink.

Those behind the campaign want to see a return to staggered kicking out times instead of a blanket 10pm closure that has seen crowds hit the streets and public transport en-masse in towns and cities.

It is being supported by the Campaign for Real Ale, the Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) and the Oakman Inns group which runs pubs across England.

Up to 100 Tory MPs are threatening to vote against the measure, with the government already having delayed the showdown from this week.

The prospect of a government defeat came closer yesterday when Labour leader Keir Starmer demanded more evidence on the effectiveness of the curfew, suggesting his party could oppose it.

Asked for evidence to back up the policy this morning, Mr Jenrick told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was ‘common sense’.

‘There is evidence that it plays a role. It is commonsensical that, with a virus that’s transmitted through human contact, the longer one spends with individuals in indoor settings, in a pub or a restaurant, the more likely it is that we spread the virus.’

Asked if the Government would publish scientific evidence regarding the spread of Covid-19 in the hospitality sector, the Housing Secretary said: ‘It is commonsensical that the longer you stay in pubs and restaurants, the more likely you are to come into contact with other individuals.

‘The more drinks that people have, the more likely that some people are to break the rules.

‘There is evidence guided by the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer.

‘I think it is right that we take action decisively, rather than waiting for the most detailed epidemiological evidence to emerge.’

To add to the mix of messages, Mr Johnson’s faces anger from city leaders in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as Leeds, who wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday urging him not to impose tougher measures.

But the pressure to do so mounted substantially yesterday when Ms Sturgeon announced similar two-week restriction in Scotland. Health Secretary Matt Hancock also hinted England could follow Scotland’s lead in imposing tougher restrictions and pub closures in Covid-hit cities.

Leaked Government slides claim 41% of under 30s with Covid in England caught it in a pub, bar or restaurant 

At least 41 per cent of under 30s suffering from coronavirus in England caught the disease in a pub, bar or restaurant, leaked Government slides have claimed.

And a quarter of Covid-19 infections across all age groups have been linked to the hospitality venues.

The shocking figures are in stark contrast to official data from Public Health England, which suggests only four per cent of Covid-19 outbreaks are linked to the businesses. 

Presented at a Public Health England press briefing, the slides – marked ‘official – sensitive’ – warned the North of England could have as many people in intensive care suffering from Covid-19 as it did in April – at the peak of the pandemic – within three weeks.

It warned that a further tightening of lockdown restrictions was needed to curb the current rise in infections. The meeting was led by Chris Whitty, Britain’s chief medical officer, and Ed Argar, a health minister.

The move is thought to signal the impending tightening of restrictions in the North of England and Nottinghamshire, although few details were offered on what this may involve.

But it is thought pubs, bars and restaurants will be shuttered to slow the wave of infections. 

One MP who was at the briefing said: ‘The really scary thing for the North West and North East is that the projection is for there to be more people in intensive care within three weeks – 22 days actually – than there were in the first wave.

‘Even though the figures are being driven by the under-30s, Whitty and co are clearly very worried.’   

ENGLAND: PHE data shows that hospitality businesses like pubs and restaurants accounted for only a small proportion of officially reported coronavirus outbreaks during August and September. Many more outbreaks – reports sent to Public Health England of two or more people falling ill and at least one of them testing Covid positive – have been linked to education settings and workplaces

However former Cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith warned Mr Johnson there would be a major Tory rebellion if he copied Ms Sturgeon’s lockdown plans.

He told the Sun: ‘There is no evidence that this works- absolutely none whatsoever.

‘What there is evidence for is this will cripple the economy and lead to more deaths, as has already been demonstrated from non-Covid issues. It’s time to get some balance and save our economy.’

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which represents the UK and Ireland’s 24 medical royal colleges, said that people need to strictly follow restrictions or the NHS could be ‘unable to cope’.  

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘Given the recent dramatic spike in both the number of cases and hospital admissions it is clear that we could soon be back to where we were in April if we are not all extremely careful.’ 

In another warning, she revealed that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 over the past month has increased from a ‘few hundred people per day’ to ‘thousands’.

She said: ‘So right now, we have got over 3,100 people in hospital with coronavirus around the UK. Actually 500 of those are in ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit) beds, that’s really worrying.

‘A month ago we only had 60 people in the whole of the UK in ITU beds.So we are seeing a very worrying trend at the moment.’ 

Ms Sturgeon made the announcement of the new measures yesterday as she warned cases have started to surge among the older generation as she banned pubs and restaurants from serving alcohol indoors in Scotland for at least 16 days from Friday.

The First Minister told MSPs at Holyrood that the situation was ‘better than March’, but admitted she needed to take a ‘backward step’ as she unveiled a dramatic ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze to coincide with the school half-term north of the border.

As well as a ban on serving alcohol, hospitality venues will only be allowed to open from 6am to 6pm as Ms Sturgeon said without the crackdown the virus could be ‘out of control by the end of this month’. 

But in five ‘hotspot’ areas in Scotland’s central belt, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to approximately 70 per cent of the population, pubs will be closed altogether apart from takeaways until October 26 and people will be advised against using public transport. 

Mr Hancock appeared to pave the way for a similar localised crackdown on pubs in England as he said that ‘outside your household and socialising between households, the highest place in incidence of likely transmission, measured by where people have contacts, is unfortunately hospitality’. 

However, a targeted shutdown of hospitality venues in hotspot areas appears more likely than a nationwide approach, with Downing Street still committed to its strategy of local lockdowns in specific areas where the virus has spiked.      

Imposing some of the toughest restrictions in Europe, Ms Sturgeon said that if it was ‘a purely one dimensional decision’ about tackling the disease there would be even harsher action, but she was considering the wider economy and wellbeing.

But it provoked howls of protest from the hospitality industry, who branded the clampdown a ‘total catastrophe’ and warned a swathe of business will go under permanently. 

The extraordinary step – which Ms Sturgeon said would be accompanied with £40million of new compensation for stricken firms – came as Scotland reported more than 1,000 new infections in a day.

In another drastic move that could pre-empt policy in England, national exams in Scotland are also being abandoned for next year and replaced with teacher assessments. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is currently only expected to delay the exam season south of the border by three weeks. 

Ms Sturgeon’s announcement heaped pressure on Mr Johnson, who was confronted yesterday with damning figures showing local restrictions in England are failing to curb cases, with ministers and advisers at war over what to do next.

At a stormy PMQs session, Mr Johnson stressed the impact of the surge was being felt worst in the North, saying that showed that the Government’s mix of tough local lockdowns and national restrictions like the Rule of Six and 10pm pubs curfew was the right one.

The backing for ‘differentiated’ measures in England indicates that the premier is still resisting calls from scientists for a blanket crackdown – in an apparent boost for Cabinet ministers alarmed over the threat to millions of jobs and civil liberties.

But Labour leader Keir Starmer launched a furious attack on Mr Johnson in the Commons, saying 19 out of 20 areas subjected to local curbs over the past two months have actually seen infections rise. He insisted that the measures were ‘not working’, and singled out the controversial 10pm curfew on pubs saying the government had failed to provide any ‘scientific basis’.  

Under the new system, Tier One will be the basic restrictions as they are now across Britain, including the Rule of Six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.

Tier Two would be tighter measures, roughly in-line with current restrictions in the cities under local lockdown, and will be imposed if Tier One measures are not working or if there is a significant spike in an area.

Of the 14,542 new positive tests that were announced yesterday, 4,441 were in the North West of the country (31 per cent), with another 3,670 in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber (25 per cent). By comparison, there were 401 in the South West and 492 in the East of England

Though yet to be finalised, Tier Three is set to include the complete closure of pubs and restaurants and strict rules on social interaction – though schools and places of worship are set to stay open.

Tier Three restrictions would be linked to enhanced financial support packages – and possibly a local furlough scheme if bars and restaurants are ordered to be shut. 

The tensions between ministers was underlined yesterday with Mr Hancock telling business leaders that hospitalisation rates have risen ‘really quite sharply’ and the Government has a ‘very serious problem on our hands’. 

But Trade Secretary Liz Truss suggested that the current balance of restrictions was ‘right’ in a round of interviews.  

Ms Sturgeon said that indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm daily, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only.

Outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to remain open up until 10pm and will be allowed to sell alcohol up to that time.

The restrictions will come into force at 6pm on Friday and are intended to end after October 25.

Sturgeon calls time: Scotland’s new Covid regulations in full

  • All pubs, restaurants and cafes barred from selling alcohol indoors for 16 days.
  • They will additionally face a curfew forcing them to close by 6pm each evening.
  • Outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to remain open up until 10pm and will be allowed to sell alcohol up to that time. 
  • In five areas of Scotland’s Central Belt – which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow – there will be additional restrictions on opening.
  • Pubs, restaurants and licenced cafes in the ‘hotspots’ of Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley, will be forced to close to all but takeaway customers. 
  • The measures come into force at 6pm on Friday for 16 days until October 25.  
  • Residents of these areas have also been urged to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks. They should only use it to get to work, school or for other unavoidable journeys. 
  • Outdoor live events will be banned in the five areas for the next two weeks.
  • Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will close in these areas for two weeks from October 10.
  • Contact sports and indoor group exercise for those aged 18 and over is suspended for the same period.
  • Face coverings will become mandatory in indoor communal settings.
  • An additional £40 million in funding will be made available to businesses impacted by the new restrictions.

However, all licensed premises in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley health board areas will be closed for both indoor and outdoor operations.

Cafes without a licence to sell alcohol will be allowed to open until 6pm, the First Minister said, to counter social isolation.

People in the central belt of Scotland have been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks.

While a travel restriction is not being enforced on people in those five areas, Ms Sturgeon urged those living in these areas not to travel beyond their own health boards.

Ms Sturgeon insisted it was her ‘firm intention’ that the clampdown will end after two weeks.

‘It is our firm intention these measures will be lefted at the end of two weeks… but obviously it stands to reason we will moitor the virus between now and then.’ 

She said: ‘Let me be clear. We are not going back into lockdown today.

‘We are not closing schools, colleges or universities.

‘We are not halting the remobilisation of the NHS for non-Covid care. And we are not asking people to stay at home.

‘So while the measures I announce today will feel like a backward step, they are in the interests of protecting our progress overall.

‘It is by taking the tough but necessary action now, that we hope to avoid even tougher action in future.’

Scottish government modelling released yesterday suggested that without ‘further intervention’ the daily number of coronavirus cases could reach 35,000 by Christmas. 

The number of daily cases has risen from under 300 two weeks ago – when a ban on households mixing indoors was introduced – to see 1,054 reported yesterday.  

In bruising clashes with Sir Keir in the Commons, Mr Johnson seemed to close off the possibility of an imminent national clampdown. 

‘Although the cases in the country are considerably up across the country this week on last week, the seven-day statistics show that there are now 497 cases per 100,000 in Liverpool, 522 cases per 100,000 in Manchester, 422 in Newcastle,’ he said.

‘The key point there is the local regional approach combined with the national approach remains correct because two-thirds of those admitted into hospital on Sunday were in the North West, North East and Yorkshire.’

But Sir Keir unleashed a tirade, pointing out that the government’s local lockdown were clearly ‘not working’. 

‘On care homes, protective equipment, exams, testing. The Prime Minister ignores the warning signs, hurtles towards a car crash, then looks in the rear mirror, says ‘what’s all that about?’ he said.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise throughout much of Europe – thought Spain, previously the continent’s worst-hit country, has now started to see its infection rate fall

‘It’s quite literally government in hindsight.’

Sir Keir added: ‘All the Prime Minister has to say is it is too early to say if restrictions are working but it’s obvious that something’s gone wrong here, so what’s the Prime Minister going to do about it?’

The Labour leader pointed out that in Mr Johnson’s own local authority, Hillingdon, there were currently 62 cases per 100,000, and no local restrictions. 

‘But in 20 local areas across England, restrictions were imposed when infection rates were much lower. In Kirklees it was just 29 per 100,000,’ he said.

‘Local communities, Prime Minister, genuinely don’t understand these differences. Can he please explain for them?’

Mr Johnson replied: ‘I wish I could pretend that everything was going to be rosy in the Midlands or indeed in London where, alas, we are also seeing infections rise.

‘That is why we need a concerted national effort, we need to follow the guidance, we need hands, face, space, get a test if you have symptoms and obey the Rule of Six.’

Sir Keir insisted that he does support the Government’s Rule of Six.

But he struck a starkly different tone on whether Labour will support the England-wide 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants, which critics say is causing more harm than good as revellers merely spill out on to the streets. 

‘The Prime Minister can’t explain why an area goes into restriction, he can’t explain what the different restrictions are, he can’t explain how restrictions end – this is getting ridiculous,’ Sir Keir said.

Source: Read Full Article