Hancock: Return to tiered Covid system will see majority of England enter Tier 2

Sienna Rodgers
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The full list of allocated coronavirus tier restrictions to different areas of England have been unveiled this morning despite ongoing technical difficulties with the government postcode checker.

Just three areas of England – Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Scilly – have been placed in Tier 1. “In all three areas, they’ve had very low case rates throughout,” Heath Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Offering a Covid-19 update to the House of Commons, Matt Hancock confirmed that there would be UK-wide arrangements for Christmas with households able to form a “five-day Christmas bubble”.

Urging caution, however, he told MPs today: “But we must remain vigilant. There are still 16,570 people in hospital with coronavirus across the UK and 696 deaths were reported yesterday.”

Reflecting the words of the Prime Minister to parliament on Monday, the minister said: “We cannot simply flick a switch and try to return life straight back to normal.” He added that the tiers have been made “tougher”.

Across all three tiers in England, shops, gyms and hairdressers will be allowed to open, while collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports will resume, and the rule of six for gatherings of people will apply.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open in Tier 1 and alcohol can be served with a “substantial” meal in Tier 2. All hospitality and indoor entertainment will be closed in Tier 3 except delivery and takeaways.

“The majority of England will be Tier 2. But a significant number of areas, I’m afraid, need to be in Tier 3 to bring case rates down. I know how tough this is,” Hancock told parliament, “but they are necessary”.

London will return to Tier 2 after the lockdown in England. Liverpool has been moved into Tier 2, but Greater Manchester remains in Tier 3 despite being under tough rules since July. Birmingham will enter Tier 3.

Manchester Central Labour MP Lucy Powell said: “Tier 3. Pretty inevitable for us in GM. But given sharp and consistent decline in infection rates, I really hope we are in a position to go into Tier 2 in two weeks review.”

Government ministers have said that the tiered system will be reviewed regularly and the tier level of any area may change before Christmas, with the first review of the allocations set to take place on December 16th.

Responding to Hancock’s statement today, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth urged his opposite number to “accept that the Serco model has failed” and asked why statutory sick pay had not been increased.

Ashworth said: “I’m not against using the private sector, but I am against throwing shedloads of taxpayers’ money at failing private sector contracts. Local authorities should be leading retrospective tracing from day one.”

Keir Starmer this week accused the Prime Minister of reintroducing a “risky” system after Boris Johnson announced that England would return to three tiers of Covid-19 rules after its lockdown ends on December 2nd.

“If we’re reintroducing a three-tier system without having fixed test, trace and isolate, that is a major risk,” the Labour leader said. “There are huge gaps in this plan, huge uncertainties and huge risk.”

Below is the full list of tiering allocations.

Tier 1: Medium alert

South East
Isle of Wight
South West
Isles of Scilly

Tier 2: High alert

North West
Liverpool City Region
Warrington and Cheshire

North Yorkshire

West Midlands
Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

East Midlands

East of England
Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes

all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East
East Sussex
West Sussex
Brighton and Hove
Bracknell Forest
Windsor and Maidenhead
West Berkshire
Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton

South West
South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
Bath and North East Somerset
Wiltshire and Swindon

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
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

South East
Slough (remainder of Berkshire is Tier 2: High alert)
Kent and Medway

South West
South Gloucestershire
North Somerset

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