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Newcastle will be in Tier 3 next week - onerous, but there's opportunity too say Liberal Democrats

November 26, 2020 12:16 PM

Tier 3"The Government decision that Newcastle and much of the North East will enter Tier 3 restrictions after lockdown ends on December 2nd is onerous but is not unexpected, " said Newcastle's Liberal Democrats Leader of the Opposition Cllr Nick Cott, "and it may have been unwise not to have done this before lockdown. Even though lockdown has slowed the spread of the virus, Newcastle has still seen 800 new cases over the last week. Regrettably, allowing large scale socialising and mingling in the pre-Christmas period will almost certainly see a further resurgence.

"It is understandable people will want to see family at Christmas but we need to be rational and realistic about the risks to public health this may bring, and we should not be getting people's hopes up that the threat has gone away before the vaccine can be rolled out. People need to continue to be vigilant and responsible in ensuring they do all they can to limit the spread.

"Clearly, Tier 3 poses renewed challenges to the city's hospitality sector and the Liberal Democrats Opposition wants to see the council take urgent steps to assist it in 2021. We remain concerned that the council's approach to investment in the city centre does not reflect the new reality. As well as a rethink on retail and office space, we think the council will need to review its policies on licensing premises and taxis. The council should look to turn adversity into an opportunity to refocus the city'seconomy and bring forward a more sustainable future - with the focus on green jobs, the digital economy and help for small businesses and creative industries.

"There is also a pressing need to keep a close eye on the situation in our schools, given concerns on Covid-related absence and the need for equality of access to education, and on the financial crisis in the care sector, with growing demand. The Government's response in the Spending Review to a grave and growing crisis in the care sector is frankly inadequate and fails to secure a fairer deal for carers. Liberal Democrats will stand up for carers and lead the way to a more caring society by calling on the Government to support unpaid carers by immediately raising Carer's Allowance by £1,000 a year."