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Mayor's response to government Covid briefing

Middlesbrough is now in Tier 3. There are restrictions on some businesses, and meeting people. Get the latest local updates.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has called on the government to "concentrate on the basics" before making further changes to local Covid restrictions.

Mr Preston wants to see a focus on enforcement against those who deliberately break rules around social distancing and face coverings.

He has called for more funding for Cleveland Police to allow them to crack down on behaviour putting others at risk

Leaders and officials from the five Tees Valley councils had a 45-minute presentation from government advisers on Friday.

Mr Preston said the briefing relied on "out of date" data and lacked local context.

He is concerned about a "drift towards extra restrictions" that could see councils on Teesside placed in the ‘very high' alert level. That would see businesses forced to close and further restrictions on families.

He said: "The presentation today was mainly based on information we're already familiar with.

"In some cases it was a week out of date. A week is a long time in a Covid terms and the government needs to ensure it is considering an accurate picture and also talking to us so we can provide the context around the numbers.

"Middlesbrough has been in tier 2 for just two days so today was never realistically going to be about us moving to tier 3.

"But collectively, at a local and national level, we have to ensure decisions that can damage jobs and mental health are taken on a proper understanding of what is happening in local areas.

"There needs to be more input from those on the ground and a proper discussion about the best way to get the virus under control and save jobs."

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