Paul Maynard: Maintaining the Universal Credit uplift is of major importance in Red Wall seats such as mine

27 Nov

Paul Maynard was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport from July 2019 to February 2020. He is MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

So in the end, the Spending Review didn’t contain the answer we had hoped for when it came to whether the Universal Credit uplift will remain. To be fair, we weren’t given a ‘no’ either – and so the chance to keep lobbying, and to look at how the £5.7 billion can be spent most effectively, can continue, with Ministers remaining keen to engage.

The eyes of millions of families and many leading charities will not be averted, however. They will still want sufficient warning to plan for the future, and will be hoping that the £20 UC uplift, which was introduced at the start of this crisis, will remain, and be extended to families on legacy benefits (notwithstanding a Government desire to continue moving people off such benefits and on to UC).

Making the money we spend work harder and achieve more by being spent in a targeted manner is crucial. The last few weeks have demonstrated that there is strong public and political will in our country to solve poverty. The debate about tackling holiday hunger showed a desire for creative strategies to tackle problems at root. It was good to see that the Government did not want to just simply stick a plaster over children going hungry by providing vouchers for a fortnight, but instead committed a longer-term investment to support the most vulnerable.

As well as seeking to ensure that no child goes hungry this winter, Ministers also want to ensure that every child can reach their full potential: that will take a longer-term plan to improve work, housing, schooling, health and communities – all of which the Conservative Government is committed to.  Part of this it means supporting families facing hardship now.

The opportunity thus remains to make a strong statement on our commitment to supporting low-income families by keeping the lifeline of the £20 uplift to UC. Going into this crisis, the Government recognised that our social security system was not sufficient in protecting people from hardship and swiftly implemented the uplift.

Not only did it keep millions afloat, but it was an effective economic stimulus. By targeting spending on low-income, low-wealth households who need to spend the money rather than save it, that spend was injected straight back into the economy, right when it was needed most.  Implementing this uplift was the right thing to do then and making it longer-term will be the right thing to do now. It is not as if the economic aspect of the crisis is diminishing, after all.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation arguea that if this uplift ends in April as planned, then 16 million people will be in families who will lose £1,040 from their annual incomes overnight – pulling 700,000 more people into poverty, including 300,000 children.

Many constituents tell me that they are concerned about their ability to cope with such an income loss, when the pandemic has already caused them to lose so much. Furthermore, cutting social security spending will act in the opposite way to the initial stimulus – by taking money out of an already extremely weak economy, we will risk more jobs and hinder our economic recovery.

Such a move would hit some towns and cities harder than others, especially those where there are a high number of families who rely on Universal Credit, such as in my own constituency of Blackpool North & Cleveleys. One in five working-age adults receive Universal Credit here and, as a town with a proud record of tourism and hospitality, we have been ravaged by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

I have already seen the devastating impact on our local economy and, if a cut goes ahead, falling incomes will inevitably lead to even lower spending, risking more jobs and income loss. And whilst I loathe with equal frustration the phrases “Red Wall” and “Blue Belt”, families in these regions are 50 per cent more likely to lose out than those in the South East.

We have had promising news in commitments to green infrastructure, defence spending and ‘levelling up’ funding (another annoying phrase) that will both sustain existing jobs and create new ones across the North.

However, in order that we see the benefit of this investment, we must enable our social security system safety net to play its role in supporting families to keep them out of hardship. A strong social security system acts as the automatic stabilisers for local economies when hit by the uncertainty of job loss and sickness.

But it should also be a helping hand throughout life’s ups and downs – giving families the security to move back into work after having a baby, retrain into a new industry and seize the opportunities as economies reshape themselves.

The investment into Universal Credit during this crisis has added some security during a time of uncertainty and fear. This crisis has demonstrated that none of us know what is around the corner, and we all need a social security system that we can rely on.

“The Chancellor has passed the responsibility to us. Can’t complain.” Council leaders respond to the Spending Review.

27 Nov

Thespians are well known for their fear of the name Macbeth. Should someone utter it, the culprit must exit the theatre, spin around three times, spit, curse and then knock on the theatre door to be allowed back in. The correct form is to refer to “the Scottish play”. For council finance officers, the current equivalent is to utter a reference to “Croydon.” Best to protect sensibilities by reference to “a certain south London borough.” Croydon Council has not actually gone bankrupt – neither did Northamptonshire. But it is facing a struggle to balance its budget and thus avoid the men from the Ministry swooping in to take charge. Thus we have a Labour council, a Labour council, obliged to introduce what The Guardian describes as “drastic cuts.” Other councils – especially those who undertook imprudent investments in commercial property – are anxious to avoid getting into the same position.

Thus the Spending Review, which Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered on Wednesday was listened to with particular interest by decision-makers in local government. I have spoken to several Conservative council leaders to gauge the reaction. They included district, county and unitary leaders from north and south. One caveat was that they tended to be waiting to see the “small print” – specifically details of what funding individual local authorities will get when the grant settlement is revealed next month. But there was a favourable reaction to the broad headline announcements. The Chancellor said:

“Local authorities will have extra flexibility for Council Tax and Adult Social Care precept which together with £300 million of new grant funding gives them access to an extra billion pounds to fund social care.”

Looking at The Treasury documents this turns out to mean that “upper tier” local authorities, that do most of the spending, will be able to increase Council Tax next year by up to five per cent – without needing a referendum. That is well above inflation (which is currently under one per cent). The distinction between Council Tax and the “Adult Social Care precept” is illusory – even more so than the distinction between Income Tax and National Insurance. It all goes into the general pot, not a special fund. Nor do councils have to impose either element of Council Tax increase. Some try to imply otherwise with references about applying the “adult social care precept on behalf of the Government”. The Government tends to be indulgent to misleading references of this nature.

Whatever bureaucratic locutions are resorted to, some of the council leaders I spoke to were nervous that people would still notice if their bills were pushed up. One council leader in the south said she would “probably” increase to the maximum allowed, but was nervous about the backlash:

“It’s shifting responsibility to us. It’s allowing us to raise more money. We can’t complain about that. But it will not be an easy decision. Many people are losing jobs. You have households that used to have two incomes coming in with only one. We have people taking wage cuts. The self-employed being hit. For Conservatives putting up the Council Tax is not something we like doing anyway. But if households incomes are rising they shrug it off. But if the family budget is already being squeezed there is more resentment. The alternative would be some difficult choices that would involve scaling back what we do.”

The public sector pay freeze will help. One county council leader from the north said:

“The payroll is a huge cost. We had budgeted for a two per cent increase. So a freeze will make a big difference. That’s more important to us than the extra flexibility on Council Tax – which I will try really hard to avoid using, anyway.”

One of the grim consequences of the lockdown has been an increase in the number of children in care. Domestic violence has increased and thus the “safeguarding” requirement for children to be taken from their families. This has huge financial implications. One council leader told me:

“If people thought about the full picture there would be much more opposition to lockdowns. The full consequences are not appreciated. I do get angry about it. We are trying to do more with early intervention. Once children are in the care system it’s very difficult. Placing them for adoption is very slow if it ever happens, there are all these bureaucratic obstacles. Sort of institutional resistance. The alternative of putting the children back with their families is dangerous. So they just get stuck in care.”

Even when coronavirus is eliminated there is some doubt as to what being “back to normal” will mean. One London borough council leader said:

“The statement did give some recognition that the problems won’t all disappear in April. That there will be an impact for a few more months. But if it is long term, I ask myself if our parking revenues will ever get back to normal. With the Council Tax revenues if people lose their jobs then it gets paid in benefits. What’s more difficult for our finances are the people who are still working but struggling. Quite a few have cancelled the direct debits and just paying when they can afford to.”

Another council leader was preparing to “go into battle” with his finance officers to resist increasing the Council Tax by the full amount:

“I will be told that if we don’t increase the Council Tax then the base will be lower which will restrict the amount of extra cash we can raise in future from these limits in percentage increases. My counter to that is that we have been increasing the number of homes and are due to do so further.”

All those I spoke to welcome the Chancellor “new Levelling Up Fund worth £4 billion.” Sunak explained that:

“Any local area will be able to bid directly to fund local projects. The fund will be managed jointly between the Treasury, the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – taking a new, holistic, place-based approach to the needs of local areas. Projects must have real impact. They must be delivered within this Parliament. And they must command local support, including from their Member of Parliament. This is about funding the infrastructure of everyday life: A new bypass. Upgraded railway stations. Less traffic. More libraries, museums, and galleries. Better high streets and town centres. This government is funding the things people want and places need.”

A council leader from the Midlands told me:

“I do like the approach of allowing local decisions on what transport improvements should be a priority. We don’t need devolution – with extra layers of metro Mayors or whatever. We need decentralisation to the local government already in place.”

Just one sour note was struck – from a “red wall” area:

“If it’s a ‘Levelling Up Fund’ then how come any council can apply? Is money from the ‘Levelling Up Fund’ going to be spent in Surrey? It’s ridiculous.”

Expectations are important. The message I got was that though the Chancellor’s help was significant there was still a shortfall that they would have to cope with. But then they never imagined that he would pick up the whole tab for the pandemic. The consensus among council leaders is that they have been left with a difficult challenge – but not an impossible one. Should they need inspiration, they can look at what has happened in Croydon should they fail.

Dan Rosenfield is Johnson’s new Chief of Staff. That’s the admin sorted (we hope). But what about the politics?

26 Nov

Dominic Cummings goes out and Dan Rosenfield comes in through Downing Street’s revolving door.  They are ships that almost passed in the night.

Rosenfield is a former civil servant; Cummings distrusted the civil service.  He worked for Alistair Darling and George Osborne, both faces from the vanished pre-EU referendum world.  Cummings helped to destroy it.  Rosenfeld then went to Hakluyt, a strategic advisory firm, via Bank of America.  This is Planet Remain territory, not Leave Country.

Such comparisons are bound to be made today in the wake of Rosenfeld’s appointment as the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.  They are wide of the mark.

Cummings was Boris Johnson’s Chief Adviser – election strategist come guru come specialist operator, concentrating during the run-up to his depature on getting the new “moonshot” test and trace plan up and running.  But Rosenfeld is not replacing him: indeed, Cummings, for better or worse, is irreplacable.

Rosenfield will be Chief of Staff, not a special adviser.  He has clearly been appointed not to provide policy direction, but to exercise administrative grip.  That he reportedly has no discernable political views whatsoever is from that point of view a plus.  And a sign that Johnson wants a bit of calm after the storm. For the moment.

At any rate, Rosenfield is broadly in the tradition of Jonathan Powell, the former civil servant who became Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff, rather than that of Ed Llewellyn, David Cameron’s Chief of Staff who later became a civil servant – or, more precisely, a diplomat; or more precisely still, Ambassador to Paris.

Powell, one old Labour hand tells us, “scarcely dealt with Labour MPs at all”.  Conservative MPs queueing up to bend Rosenfield’s ear may be re-directed to Johnson’s Political Secretary, Ben Gascoigne.

“I really enjoyed working with George,” Rosenfield has said in an interview. “He is a really professional guy, and someone who cares deeply about making a difference. I enjoyed every minute.”

As we write, Osborne has not yet tweeted about the appointment.  It’s impossible to believe that Downing Street didn’t at the least ask the former Chancellor for his view.  Anyway, that’s the admin dealt with.  (We hope.) Next comes the politics. That means sorting not so much staffing in Downing Street as relations with Tory MPs.

Which suggests change in CCHQ come the reshuffle, a shake-up in the Whips Office and a senior backbencher as a Number Ten troubleshooter – to snuff out problems before they can flare up.

Henry Hill: MSPs scent blood as the Scottish Government fights to thwart the Salmond inquiry

26 Nov

It’s been another week of increasingly bitter fighting between Nicola Sturgeon’s government as MSPs as the Scottish Parliament tries once again to force the publication of its legal advice in the Alex Salmond affair.

When last we checked in on this story, the First Minister was facing calls for the scope of the formal inquiry to be ‘broadened’ as her timeline regarding what she knew when was called into question.

Since then, the Scottish Government has been fighting a ferocious rearguard action against Holyrood’s formal investigation. So much so that Linda Fabiani, an SNP MSP who is chairing the inquiry, has attacked its delays as “unacceptable”. The spur for this was John Swinney refusing to send two senior civil servants to give evidence. In a letter, the Deputy First Minister claimed that their appearance “would create an unacceptable risk” of allowing the ‘jigsaw identification’ of the people who made the original complaints against Salmond.

Murdo Fraser, one of the Conservatives on the investigation, claimed that the SNP “continue to block the vital work of this committee at every turn and are evading any sort of scrutiny.” Jackie Baillie, a Labour MSP, branded it an ‘outrage’. The Scottish Government’s defeat in court by the former First Minister cost taxpayers half a million pounds.

Legislators have also stepped up their efforts to force ministers to publish the legal advice it received ahead of the Salmond case. MSPs voted a second time for the Scottish Government to do so, in what has been described as an ’embarrassing’ defeat for Sturgeon. The vote was 55-45, with four abstentions – the Greens breaking away to vote with the unionist parties and robbing the Nationalists of their usual de facto majority.

Now the Scottish Conservatives are threatening to take the administration to court in an attempt to force their hand.

(Although they apparently won’t be doing the same the SNP’s decision to impose movement restrictions. Adam Tomkins, a Tory MSP and constitutional specialist, has questioned whether or not the Scottish Government’s move to restrict travel between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom is “within Holyrood’s competence”. But the Tories voted for the plans anyway, prompting Oliver Mundell to resign from the front bench.)

For his part, Salmond is continuing to do everything he can to make life difficult for his successor, most recently on defence. His supporters have accused the Nationalist leadership of jeopardising the party’s long-standing commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament after they pressed for the multilateral alternative as part of the Government’s latest defence review. The ex-First Minister told the Times that: “For the SNP, the cause of unilateral nuclear disarmament has been second only to independence throughout the party’s history. It would be a fatal bargain to desert either, with victory in sight.”

If successful, this attack could open yet another fault line inside an increasingly divided Nationalist party, alongside those on gender issues and independence strategy, and give Salmond another opportunity to pose as the voice of the true believers against his successor’s gradualist approach. Martin Docherty-Hughes, the SNP’s defence spokesman, said he was “sceptical at the motivations” of those alleging the Party had betrayed its unilateralist roots.

And if the First Minister didn’t have enough on her plate, she has had to step up to defend her Westminster lieutenant after he was accused of ‘bullying’ a photographer. Critics claim Ian Blackford MP was trying to ‘stir up hatred’ when he called Ollie Taylor out for taking photographs of scenes in his constituency, alleging that the photographer – whom he assumed was based in England – was breaking lockdown rules. Taylor has dismissed his subsequent apology as ‘pathetic’ and has apparently started legal proceedings.

On top of that, Scottish Government ministers “are under growing pressure to release full minutes from meetings of the coronavirus advisory group after accusations that they are failing to be open with the public”, the Times reports. This comes alongside the news that ‘proportionately more people north of border have been dying of coronavirus than in England’, which risks undermining the impression of competence which has lifted the Nationalists’ fortunes in recent months after years of Brexit failing to do so. Sturgeon has also apparently broken ranks on a common UK-wide approach to Christmas restrictions, when polling suggests voters strongly support a common set of rules.

Yet more evidence, then, of a deeply divided party, held together in part by the imminence of next year’s Scottish Parliament elections and then – if the separatists secure a majority, and the British Government is feeble – a second independence referendum.

But can the opposition parties make this count? Douglas Ross has been out saying he’s ‘in it to win it’ in 2021 (although of course he would), and even went so far as to suggest a coalition with Labour to kick the Nationalists out. The latter of course immediately rejected it, but that could simply signal to committed unionist voters that they are less solid on the constitutional question than the Tories whilst the original offer sends the message that Ross’s Conservatives are a mainstream, centre-facing party.

Yet he will need to watch his unionist flank. The decision to support the Nationalists’ travel restrictions has led to a few cut-up membership cards, and the last thing the Scottish Tories need is a Wales-style split amongst their core supporters.

The Health Secretary’s statement full text. “Hope is on the horizon” in Covid-19 battle.

26 Nov

“Mr Speaker, with permission I’d like to make a statement on coronavirus.

We are approaching the end of a year where we have asked so much of the British people.

And in response to this unprecedented threat to lives and to livelihoods, the British people have well and truly risen to the challenge by coming together to slow the spread and support each other.

I know how difficult this has been, especially for those areas that have been in restrictions for so long. The national measures have successfully turned the curve, and begun to ease the pressure on the NHS.

Cases are down by 19% from a week ago and daily hospital admissions have fallen 7% in the last week.

January and February are always difficult months for the NHS. So it is vital we safeguard the gains we’ve made.

We must protect our NHS this winter. We have invested in expanded capacity – not just the Nightingales, but in hospitals across the land – and we have welcomed thousands of new staff.

Mr Speaker, this morning’s figures show the number of nurses in the NHS is up 14,800 compared to just a year ago – well on our way to delivering our manifesto commitment of 50,000 more nurses.

Together, while we invest in our NHS, we must also protect our NHS. So it will always be there for all of us, during this pandemic and beyond.

Mr Speaker, I am so grateful for the resolve that people have shown throughout this crisis.

Thanks to this shared sacrifice, we have been able to announce that we will not be renewing our national restrictions in England.

And we have been able to announce UK-wide arrangements for Christmas, allowing friends and loved ones to reunite, and form a 5-day Christmas bubble. And I know that this news will provide hope for so many.

But we must remain vigilant. There are still, today, 16,570 people in hospital with coronavirus across the UK, and 696 deaths were reported yesterday.

That means 696 more families mourning the loss of a loved one, and the House mourns with them. So, as tempting as it may be, we cannot simply flick a switch and try to return life straight back to normal.

Because if we did this, we would undo the hard work of so many and see the NHS overwhelmed, with all that that would entail.

We must keep suppressing the virus, while supporting education, the economy and of course the NHS, until a vaccine can make us safe. That is our plan.

We will do this by returning to a tiered approach, applying the toughest measures to the parts of the country where cases and pressure on the NHS are highest, and allowing greater freedom in areas where prevalence is lower.

While the strategy remains the same, the current epidemiological evidence, and clinical advice, shows we must make the tiers tougher than they were before to protect the NHS through the winter and avert another national lockdown.

So we’ve looked at each of the tiers afresh and strengthened them, as the Prime Minister set out on Monday.

In tier 1 if you can work from home, you should do so.

In tier 2, alcohol may only now be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal.

And in tier 3, indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will have to close, along with all forms of hospitality, except for delivery and takeaways.

Mr Speaker, I know that people want certainty about the rules they need to follow in their area.

These decisions are not easy. But they are necessary.

We have listened to local experts, and been guided by the best public health advice, including from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

We set out the criteria in the COVID-19 Winter Plan, and we published the data on which the decisions are made.

As the Winter Plan sets out, the 5 indicators are:

  • the case rates in all age groups
  • in particular, cases among the over 60s
  • the rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • the positivity rate
  • and the pressures on the local NHS

When setting the boundaries for these tiers, we have looked not just at geographical areas but the human geographies which influence how the virus spreads, like travel patterns and the epidemiological situation in neighbouring areas.

While all 3 tiers are less stringent than the national lockdown that we are all living in now, to keep people safe, and to keep the gains being made, more areas than before will be in the top two tiers.

This is necessary to protect our NHS and keep the virus under control.

Turning to the tiers specifically: the lowest case rates are in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly, which will go into tier 1.

In all 3 areas have had very low case rates throughout and I want to thank residents for being so vigilant during the whole pandemic.

I know that many other areas would want to be in tier 1. I understand that.

My own constituency of West Suffolk has the lowest case rate for over 60s in the whole country.

And I want to thank Matthew Hicks and John Griffiths, the leaders of Suffolk and West Suffolk Councils, and their teams, for this achievement.

But despite this, and despite the fact Suffolk overall has the lowest case rate outside Cornwall and the Isle of Wight, our judgement, looking at all of the indicators, and based on the public health advice, is that Suffolk needs to be in tier 2 to get the virus further under control.

Now I hope that Suffolk, and so many other parts of the country, can get to tier 1 soon, and the more people stick to the rules, the quicker that will happen.

We must make the right judgements guided by the science.

The majority of England will be in tier 2, but in a significant number of areas, I’m afraid, they need to be in tier 3 to bring case rates down.

I know how tough this is, both for areas that have been in restrictions for a long time, like Leicester and Greater Manchester, and also for areas where cases have risen sharply recently, like Bristol, the West Midlands and Kent.

The full allocations have been published this morning and laid as a written ministerial statement just before this statement began.

I understand the impact that these measures will have, but they are necessary given the scale of the threat that we face.

We will review the measures in a fortnight, and keep them regularly under review after that.

I want to thank everybody who’s in the tier 3 areas for the sacrifices that they are making, not just to protect themselves and their families, but their whole community.

And regardless of your tier, I ask everyone: we must all think of our own responsibilities to keep this virus under control.

We should see these restrictions not as a boundary to push but as a limit on what the public health advice says we can do safely in any area.

But, frankly, the less any one person passes on the disease, the faster we will can get this disease under control together. And that is on all of us.

Mr Speaker, we must all play our part while we work so hard to deliver the new technologies that will help us get out of this. In particular, vaccines and testing.

The past fortnight has been illuminated by news of encouraging clinical trials for vaccines. First, from Pfizer/BioNTech and then from Moderna. And then of course earlier this week, from the Oxford/AstraZeneca team.

If these vaccines are approved, the NHS stands ready to roll them out, as soon as safely possible. Alongside vaccines, we have made huge strides in the deployment of testing.

Our roll-out of community testing has been successful because it means we can identify more people who have the virus but don’t have symptoms and help them to isolate, breaking the connections that the virus needs to spread.

As part of our COVID-19 Winter Plan, we will use these tests on a regular basis. For instance, to allow visitors safely to see loved ones in care homes, to protect our frontline NHS and social care colleagues, and to allow vital industries and public services to keep running safely.

Mr Speaker, we have seen in Liverpool, where now over 300,000 people have been tested, how successful this community testing can be, and I want to pay tribute to the people of Liverpool, both for following the restrictions and for embracing this community testing.

It has been a big team effort across the whole city. And the result is that in the Liverpool City Region the number of cases has fallen by more than two-thirds.

In the borough of Liverpool itself, where the mass testing took place, cases have fallen by three-quarters.

It hasn’t been easy and, sadly, many people in Liverpool have lost their lives to COVID. But thanks to people sticking to the rules, and to the huge effort of community testing, Liverpool’s cases are now low enough for the whole City Region to go into tier 2.

This shows what we can do when we work together. We can beat the virus.

And I want to pay tribute to the people of Liverpool, to NHS Test and Trace, the University, the Hospital Trust, and Mayor Joe Anderson and so many others, who have demonstrated such impressive leadership, responsibility, and a true sense of public service.

We are now expanding this community testing programme even further, to launch a major community testing programme, honing in on the areas with the greatest rate of infection.

This programme is open to all local authorities in tier 3 areas in the first instance and offers help to get out of the toughest restrictions as fast as possible.

We will work with local authorities on a plan to get tests where they’re needed most and how we can get as many people as possible to come forward and get certainty about their condition.

The more people who get tested then the quicker that a local area can move down through the tiers, and get life closer to normal.

Mr Speaker, viruses can take a short time to spread, but a long time to vanquish, and sadly there is no quick fix.

They call upon all our determination to make the sacrifices that will bring it to heel and all our ingenuity to make the scientific advances that will get us through.

Hope is on the horizon but we still have further to go. So we must all dig deep. The end is in sight. We mustn’t give up now.

We must follow these new rules and make sure that our actions today will save lives in future and help get our country through this.

And I commend this statement to the House.”

The new coronavirus restriction areas in full

26 Nov

Tier 1: Medium alert

South East

  • Isle of Wight

South West

  • Cornwall
  • Isles of Scilly

Tier 2: High alert

North West

  • Cumbria
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Warrington and Cheshire

Yorkshire

  • York
  • North Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Worcestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

East Midlands

  • Rutland
  • Northamptonshire

East of England

  • Suffolk
  • Hertfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
  • Norfolk
  • Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
  • Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes

London

  • All 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East

  • East Sussex
  • West Sussex
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Surrey
  • Reading
  • Wokingham
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • West Berkshire
  • Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire

South West

  • South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Dorset
  • Bournemouth
  • Christchurch
  • Poole
  • Gloucestershire
  • Wiltshire and Swindon
  • Devon

Tier 3: Very High alert

North East

  • Tees Valley Combined Authority:
  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Darlington
  • North East Combined Authority:
  • Sunderland
  • South Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • North Tyneside
  • County Durham
  • Northumberland

North West

  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Blackburn with Darwen

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • The Humber
  • West Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham and Black Country
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire

South East

  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
  • Kent and Medway

South West

  • Bristol
  • South Gloucestershire
  • North Somerset

Published by HM Government on 26 November 2020