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Is this £10.7m mansion in St George’s Hill the perfect pandemic pad?

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is this 10 7m mansion in st georges hill the perfect pandemic pad

A brand new mansion in a gated private estate in leafy Surrey could prove the most appealing spot amid the global pandemic.

We were given an exclusive tour of the £10.7million house for sale on St George’s Hill, Weybridge.

The private estate has been home to various celebrities over the years, including singers John Lennon and Tom Jones. 

Exclusive tour of a Surrey mansion: Beech Rise on St George's Hill, Weybridge, is for sale for £10.7million

Exclusive tour of a Surrey mansion: Beech Rise on St George’s Hill, Weybridge, is for sale for £10.7million

The grand entrance hallway includes an impressive chandelier and leads into a large dining room

The grand entrance hallway includes an impressive chandelier and leads into a large dining room 

Much of St George’s Hill popularity lies in it being a 964 acre green oasis hidden from the world, while at the same time being easily accessible to London and Heathrow. 

It has a mix of contemporary and older large family homes, which can cost seven, or even eight figures.  

We were invited onto the gated enclave to see one of those properties – a brand new luxury mansion called Beech Rise.

MailOnline Property was given an exclusive tour of the house by Savills estate agents

 MailOnline Property was given an exclusive tour of the house by Savills estate agents

The house has two water features in the back garden, along with plenty of outdoor seating space

The house has two water features in the back garden, along with plenty of outdoor seating space 

Inside, there is a large swimming pool complex that has large glass doors overlooking the garden

Inside, there is a large swimming pool complex that has large glass doors overlooking the garden

The home is surrounded by greenery with views of the treetops from its extensive balconies.

It covers more than 12,712 square feet and sits on an acre of land – and it is this extensive space indoors and out that makes this property so attractive amid the restrictions placed on people’s movements during the pandemic.

If pandemic instructions mean you have to stay home, there is indoor swimming pool and a cinema room to make your time in the property as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

And outdoors, there is landscaped garden designed by Chelsea Gold medal winners Landscape Architects. It includes several terraces, two water features and a large lawn area.

Perfect for staying home: No mansion would be complete without its own cinema room

Perfect for staying home: No mansion would be complete without its own cinema room

The luxury feel of this kitchen is created with some statement lighting and striking furniture

The luxury feel of this kitchen is created with some statement lighting and striking furniture

Increased your alcohol intake during lockdown? You'll never run out of a bottle with this wine cellar

Increased your alcohol intake during lockdown? You’ll never run out of a bottle with this wine cellar

Simon Ashwell, of Savills – the estate agent handling the sale, which led the property tour – said: ‘Under the current restrictions, it is lovely to have an oasis of tranquillity that this property offers you.

‘It is surrounded by trees, and the size of the property gives you the opportunity to find a quiet place to work, somewhere to go for a swim or even just a quiet spot to watch your favourite television programme.’

He added: ‘The scale of this property is that it sits proud on the hill and so you’re in the treetops. From every room, you see the trees and then the sky – it is a fantastic backdrop for the house.’

Inside, there is a welcoming galleried hallway with marble floor. The large kitchen has several seating areas with views out to the terrace and gardens.

There is a separate dining room, a study and five bedrooms – along with additional staff accommodation.

Beech Rise has three storeys, with the top floor having views across the surrounding treetops

Beech Rise has three storeys, with the top floor having views across the surrounding treetops

A mansion for entertaining: The dining room can easily accommodate a dozen family and friends

A mansion for entertaining: The dining room can easily accommodate a dozen family and friends 

Time to relax: The leisure complex includes a sauna, steam room, gym and separate bar area

Time to relax: The leisure complex includes a sauna, steam room, gym and separate bar area 

Make a day of it during lockdown: The leisure complex extends across the entire ground floor

Make a day of it during lockdown: The leisure complex extends across the entire ground floor

THE SURREY DIGGER’S TRAIL 

The so-called ‘Diggers’ first broke the ground on St George’s Hill on 1 April 1649 as they set out to make the earth a ‘common treasury for all’. 

The hill is associated with their project and ideas, and it is from here that their influence, and the practice of Digging, spread to many parts of England.

The actual site of their Digging is thought to have been on the lower, southern slopes of the hill.  One contemporary account describes it as being ‘next to Campe Close’, which probably corresponds with the estate’s Camp End Road of today. 

The Diggers hoped that many would join them in their work, and for months their activity was one of the biggest news stories of the day.  It was from St George’s Hill that they issued their manifesto, The True Levellers Standard Advanced, in April 1649.

As the Diggers’ influence increased, so did the hostility of local landowners. 

Prominent among these was the lord of the manor, Francis Drake. With two violent accomplices, John Taylor and William Starr, Drake organised gangs to attack the Diggers and destroy their houses, crops and animals. 

Drake hoped that the army would help him to suppress the Diggers, but after visiting their settlement General Fairfax concluded they were doing no harm.

Following a court case against the Diggers – at which they were forbidden to speak in their own defence – and further attacks, they abandoned St George’s Hill in August 1649. They established a new settlement at Little Heath, near Cobham, where they were active until finally evicted in Easter 1650.

 

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Making a grand entrance: The front of the house has pillars extending up two floors, with an arch over the doorway

Making a grand entrance: The front of the house has pillars extending up two floors, with an arch over the doorway

The main living room has seating surrounding a feature fireplace and bi-folding doors onto the garden

The main living room has seating surrounding a feature fireplace and bi-folding doors onto the garden

The main bedroom has a dress room and its own balcony to enjoy the surrounding treetop views

The main bedroom has a dress room and its own balcony to enjoy the surrounding treetop views

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Boris Johnson begs public to back new Covid lockdowns

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boris johnson begs public to back new covid lockdowns

How does government decide what Tiers areas are put into? 

Boris Johnson promised to base Tier allocation on ‘common sense’, and the government’s ‘Winter Plan’ set out a series of metrics to be used. They are:

  • Case detection rates in all age groups;
  • Case detection rates in the over 60s;
  • The rate at which cases are rising or falling;
  • Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken); and
  • Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

However, there are no specific numerical trigger points, and the document added that there will be ‘some flexibility to weight these indicators against each other as the context demands’. 

‘For example, hospital capacity in a given area will need to be considered in the light of the capacity in neighbouring areas and the feasibility of moving patients,’ the document said. 

‘Case detection rates will need to be weighted against whether the spread of the virus appears to be localised to particular communities.’ 

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Boris Johnson tonight begged people to get on board with new Tiers despite fury at the ‘vague and inconsistent’ rules that have seen 99 per cent of England plunged into the toughest curbs.

At a Downing Street press conference, the PM insisted the system will be less ‘intrusive’ than the blanket lockdown that it is intended to replace from December 2.

And he stressed there is an ‘escape’ route from the harshest levels for areas that manage to bring down their infection rates. ‘Your tier is not your destiny, every area has the means of escape,’ Mr Johnson said.

However, chief medical office Chris Whitty immediately struck a very different tone, suggesting there is little chance of anyone going down to Tier 1 as restrictions are so lax that inevitably cases rise. He said it was only possible for places that currently have extremely low case rates. 

Under the allocations announced today, just 700,000 people – one per cent of the population – will be subject to the loosest grade of restrictions. Before November 5 there were 29million in the lowest tier.

Meanwhile, around 55million residents will be in the toughest two levels after the blanket national lockdown ends on December 2.

It has sparked a huge backlash, with anger at the lack of firm thresholds for entering and leaving Tiers, and many local MPs in low-infection areas enraged at being lumped together with nearby hotspots. The government has published a narrative explanation of why each area is going into each tier, but has dismissed calls to use numerical trigger points. 

A slew of senior Tories have threatened to rebel in a crunch vote on the plans next week. 

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth demanded the government publishes a ‘scorecard’ showing exactly how each area measured up. 

Oxford University’s Carl Heneghan, a professor in evidence-based medicine and epidemiologist, told MailOnline without ‘clear, objective criteria’, people would be confused and less likely to behave the way the government wants. 

Matt Hancock was swiftly forced to offer a concession that the allocations will be reviewed weekly after December 16, rather than fortnightly as had been expected. Meanwhile Downing Street insisted that economic impact assessments will be published before the Commons gives its verdict. 

Although London and Liverpool were spared the harshest Tier 3, it will be brought in for huge swathes of the country including the bulk of the North, much of the Midlands, all of Kent, and Bristol – putting a wrecking ball through pubs, restaurants and clubs now forced to close except for takeaway.

Only Cornwall, Scilly and the Isle of Wight have been put into the loosest Tier 1, which allows socialising inside homes and pubs subject to the Rule of Six. 

As a result most of England will be banned from mixing indoors with other households, apart from five days over Christmas. Pubs in Tier 2 will only be able to serve alcohol with ‘substantial’ meals. 

Labour is unlikely to oppose the measures, meaning they will almost certainly go through – but a major mutiny would be another big blow to Mr Johnson’s authority. 

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Boris Johnson (left) is out of self-isolation and was in the Commons for the statement by Matt Hancock (right) today. The PM will hold a press conference this evening

Boris Johnson (left) is out of self-isolation and was in the Commons for the statement by Matt Hancock (right) today. The PM will hold a press conference this evening

Boris Johnson (left) is out of self-isolation and was in the Commons for the statement by Matt Hancock (right) today. The PM will hold a press conference this evening

Government is ridiculed for Tier postcode checker farce after online tool crashed

This is the landing page for when you try to check the coronavirus tier in your area of England

This is the landing page for when you try to check the coronavirus tier in your area of England

This is the landing page for when you try to check the coronavirus tier in your area of England

The Government has been roundly ridiculed for being forced to scrap its tier postcode checker tool which crashed just minutes after going live. 

Those inputting their address on the website this morning were told: ‘Sorry, we’re experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again in a few moments.’

Others were given a different message saying: ‘We’re experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later. You can find coronavirus information on Gov.UK.’ 

The checker went live on the website shortly after 11am, around half an hour before Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed the details in the House of Commons.

It has now been replaced with a straightforward list of each region in England and what alert level it will be placed in when the national lockdown ends on December 2. 

Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael told MailOnline: ‘They may now have to wait for Jacob Rees Mogg and his quill pen to write a copperplate bulletin to be attached to the gates of Downing Street.’ 

Jake Madders, director of Hyve Managed Hosting, which specialises in hosting websites, added: ‘It seems to me that they didn’t load test it and just stuck it live. You have to load test something like that and simulate traffic in advance.’

He added: ‘It’s madness. Who are their suppliers? We could do it for them if they wanted.’

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At the press conference in No10 this evening, Mr Johnson – who only emerged from self-isolation today – said he was ‘sorry’ about the effect the measures would have.

But he said: ‘If we ease off now we risk losing control over this virus all over again, casting aside our hard-won gains and forcing us back into a new year national lockdown with all the damage that would mean,’ he said.

‘I know this will bring a great deal of heartache and frustration especially for our vital hospitality sector.

‘I really wish it were otherwise but if we are going to keep schools open, as we must, then our options in bearing down on the disease are necessarily limited.

‘There is no doubt that the restrictions in all tiers are tough and I am sorry about that.’

Mr Johnson said: ‘While the previous tiers slowed the spread of the virus, they were never quite enough to cut the reproductive rate of the disease, the R rate, down below 1 and keep it there. So areas did not escape whatever level they were placed in.

‘Our new approach is designed to reduce R below 1, opening a path to areas to move down the scale as soon as the situation improves.

And crucially we now have the means to accelerate that moment of escape, with rapid community testing allowing any one carrying the disease, including those without symptoms, to isolate and thereby reducing the R.’

One North East MP told MailOnline that health minister Helen Whately was ‘monstered’ on a conference call with politicians from the area this afternoon.

She apparently blundered immediately by getting the current tier classification wrong. 

‘She got a rough ride,’ the Labour MP said. ‘She started off by saying, ”you’re in Tier 3 now”. Everybody said, ”no we’re not”. 

Ms Whately apparently told the cross-party group that they were ‘likely’ to be in Tier 3 until January, despite the prospect of three reviews of the allocations before then.  

‘The Tories were not happy at all,’ the MP said. ‘One said to her ”how do we get out of it then?” She was monstered.’ 

The chairman of the influential Tory 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, declared he will vote against the lockdown system next week.

The Altrincham and Sale MP accused the government of being ‘unreasonable’ and failing to assess the situation in specific areas. 

He said the decisions were being taken ‘on a county-wide basis where it is not justified’ instead of ‘looking at the actual local data and the facts on the ground’.

Sir Graham told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: ‘I think when we look, in particular, at the experience of places like Greater Manchester… I think there is a limit to what it is reasonable to expect communities to absorb.’

He added:  ‘I will vote against it.

‘I have severe reservations on so many different levels.

‘I do think that the policies have been far too authoritarian.

‘I think they have interfered in people’s private and personal lives in a way which is unacceptable.’

Another Kent MP, Sir Roger Gale warned people would merely ‘skip over the boundary’ to go to a pub in neighbouring Tier 2 areas.

He told Sky News: ‘The objective of the exercise has been trying to introduce a scheme that the public will accept.

‘We know that it’s high in Thanet, in Ashford it’s nothing like as high (in terms of infection rates).

‘Are they going to be happy with that? No they’re not and what will happen of course is people will skip over the boundary, or try and skip over the boundary, to go to a pub or a restaurant that is able to be open if there is one in Tier 2 or in Tier 1 fairly nearby.

‘That’s the last thing we want.’ 

Tory rebel ringleader Steve Baker warned that the government must explain how it is balancing the economic harm with public health.

‘The authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling. But is it necessary and proportionate to the threat from this disease?’ he tweeted.

‘On the economy and on coronavirus, I fear we are now so far down the rabbit hole that we have forgotten we even entered it.’ 

Former minister Sir Robert Syms said: ‘I have told Health Secretary that both urban and rural Dorset are bitterly disappointed to be in tier 2 .

‘I am not happy this could last until next April so I am likely to vote against next Tuesday.’

Conservative MP for Bournemouth East Tobias Ellwood said he was unhappy with the city being placed in Tier 2, adding that he would be voting against the Government on the restrictions.

He tweeted: ‘With only 160 cases per 100k I’m puzzled to see us placed in this tier which will cause further hardship for our hospitality industry. I will NOT be supporting the Gov’s motion to introduce this next week.’

Fellow Bournemouth MP Conor Burns also questioned the basis for the decision: ‘I am hugely disappointed that Bournemouth has been placed in Tier 2 and do not see how it is justified by any robust evidence or modeling… 

‘To retain public confidence the basis of the modelling on which decisions are being taken must be published.’ 

Damian Green, Conservative MP for Ashford and a former cabinet minister, tweeted: ‘I’m hugely disappointed that the whole of Kent has been put into Tier 3. Before lockdown we were in Tier 1 so what has lockdown achieved? We need the full analysis made public.’ 

WHAT IS THE JOINT BIOSECURITY CENTRE?

The Joint Biosecurity Centre – which was set up in May at the cost of £9billion – has been slammed as ‘far too opaque’.

Little is known about the secretive body, which is run out of the Cabinet Office, where Dominic Cummings’ ally and former boss Michael Gove is the responsible minister.

Its staff consists of senior Department of Health bosses, epidemiologists and data analysts. But its structure, and details on whether experts are paid by the government, have not been announced.

WHAT DOES IT DO? 

The JBC was originally tasked with monitoring Covid-19 and assisting the nation’s chief medical officers in setting the threat level.     

But it was given boosted responsibilities in July, when Matt Hancock downgraded Number 10’s scientific advisory panel SAGE following criticisms about its response to the first wave.

Data from all of the Government’s health and science bodies are though to be fed into the JBC, which then recommends action to Number 10. 

But to be implemented, measures need to be signed off by the prime minister. These include lockdown restrictions and the new revamped tiered system. 

The JBC will assess the Covid situation across England every two weeks and decide if places need to be upgraded or downgraded. 

However, there are no specific trigger thresholds for coming in or out of Tiers. And there will be ‘flexibility to weight these indicators against each other as the context demands’.

WHO RUNS THE JBC? 

The JBC is headed by Dr Clare Gardiner, a qualified epidemiologist, medical researcher, and cybersecurity director at GCHQ.

She reports to Baroness Dido Harding, the chief of NHS Test and Trace and the entire JBC organisation falls under the control of the Department of Health, which answers to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.  

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock formally unveiled the breakdown of areas in the Commons after days of wrangling, saying the country has to stay ‘vigilant’. 

How many people are in each Tier? 

 

Tier 1: 713,573 (1.27% of the population)

Tier 2: 32,226,170 (57.25% of the population)

Tier 3: 23,347,218 (41.48% of the population)

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He also defended the criteria being used amid complaints that they are too vague and amount to ‘finger in the air’.

And he immediately signalled a retreat on the fortnightly reviews, suggesting that in fact the tiers could be rethought weekly. 

Amid shambolic scenes the government had set an online postcode checker live before the statement.

As residents, journalists and MPs scrambled to gather the news on what decisions had been taken, the website then promptly crashed under the weight of traffic.

Tier 3 means that millions of people face a ban on households mixing indoors and outdoors, and pubs will be only be able to provide takeaway service or must close altogether. 

The revised Tier 2 restrictions shut pubs unless they serve meals and order people not to meet other households indoors. 

Some 23million people will be in that category from next Wednesday, and 32million are in Tier 2.

London was spared after data showed coronavirus falling quickly in more than two-thirds of boroughs – and seemingly stalling in the rest. 

Liverpool has also run a successful campaign to control its outbreak after mass testing in the city. 

Mr Hancock pointed out that his own Suffolk constituency was going into Tier 2 despite having some of the lowest infection rates.

In a nod to anger on the Tory benches, he said he knew that many other places would prefer to be in the lowest bracket.

And he rejected criticism that there are no specific thresholds for putting areas into the levels. 

Mr Hancock told MPs: ‘The indicators have been designed to give the government a picture of what is happening with the virus in any area so that suitable action can be taken. 

‘These key indicators need to be viewed in the context of how they interact with each other as well as the wider context but provide an important framework for decision making – assessing the underlying prevalence in addition to how the spread of the disease is changing in areas. 

‘Given these sensitivities, it is not possible to set rigid thresholds for these indicators.’ 

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth demanded that the government publishes a ‘scorecard’ showing exactly how each area measured against its criteria for deciding Tiers. 

In the Commons, Conservative MP Greg Smith said he was ‘incredibly disappointed’ his Buckingham constituency was placed in Tier 2.

He said it was a ‘decision that will be hard to understand in the rural communities of north Buckinghamshire that have relatively low infection rates, and a decision that will be hard to understand given that there has been zero consultation between central government and Buckinghamshire Council and our local NHS.’

Tory MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy urged the Government to review the situation every week, rather than once a fortnight.

Mr Hancock appeared to concede that should happen.

‘We will review these in a fortnight, and then regularly, by which he can reasonably take weekly,’ he said.

‘And we will have a weekly cycle of meetings with the CMO chairing a meeting typically on a Tuesday, I then chair the meeting on a Wednesday for an announcement on Thursday for any change to the tiers.’ 

Mr Hancock also admitted Tiers could be imposed on a more local basis in future – as happened in Slough this time. 

‘We are prepared to take those decisions at a lower-tier local authority area level. That is the exception rather than the norm but we will look at it every single week,’ he said. 

Downing Street denied that economic factors had played a part in the tier decision-making process and insisted London did not receive a special exemption from the toughest restrictions.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: ‘We have based tiers on the criteria that we have set out.

New coronavirus tiers: which one is your home in? 

TIER THREE: VERY HIGH

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

TIER 2: HIGH

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 1: MEDIUM 

South East

Isle of Wight

South West

Cornwall

Isles of Scilly

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‘We have been clear on the criteria that we have based the tiering system on and you have got the WMS (written ministerial statement) that explains the rationale for each area.’

The spokesman was also asked why some areas that were in Tier 1 previously are now in Tier 3.

He said: ‘We’ve seen over the course of the pandemic transmission rates rise and fall in different areas at different times.

‘Obviously we introduced the tiers in advance of the national lockdown, which did play a part in stemming the transmission rates and the R rate of the virus.

‘And then we’ve recently seen data starting to reflect the impact of the national lockdown. As we always have, we will continue to keep all the data under review.’

North of Tyne elected mayor Jamie Driscoll said businesses need more information to plan.

‘Survival for businesses through January and February means trading in the run up to Christmas,’ he said.

‘I’ve asked the Government to provide clear criteria for how we exit a tier into a lower level of restrictions.

‘What number of cases, what R number, how much capacity do we need in our NHS to allow us to reopen hospitality businesses.

‘Vague criteria are not enough to help businesses plan.

‘They need to know now.’

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham criticised the lack of business support available to Tier 3 areas, and said he wanted the region moved down before Christmas if it continued to make progress.

He said: ‘Greater Manchester’s infection rate is reducing faster than any other part of the country but we have to accept that it is still significantly higher than the England average.

‘That said, if the current rate of improvement continues, we will be asking the Government to move our city-region into Tier 2 in two weeks’ time.

‘What we believe is completely wrong is the Government’s decision to provide no additional business support to areas in Tier 3 than those in Tiers 1 and 2.

‘The new Tier 3 will hit the hospitality sector extremely hard. While there are grants for businesses forced to close, there is no extra support for business which supply them like security, catering and cleaning.

‘This will cause real hardship for people whose jobs will be affected and risk the loss of many businesses.’

Conservative mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street tweeted: ‘Tier 3 for the WM is very disappointing, but we must now focus on getting out ASAP.

‘The trajectory is good, and our stay should be short-lived if people stick to the rules.

‘However more support is needed whilst in T3, particularly for the hospitality and live events sectors.’

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis warned that ‘lockdown must not become limbo’.

Mr Jarvis, who is also Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said: ‘I welcome Government plans to review our tier arrangements every two weeks, because every extra day we are under restrictions could be the difference between a business surviving the pandemic or going under.

‘It is now essential we get a roadmap to get us out of Tier 3 as a matter of urgency.’

He said: ‘We need absolute clarity and consistency from the government about the criteria for areas moving between the Tiers. We need a test and trace system that is fit for purpose and we need clear communications

‘There is light at the end of the tunnel. In South Yorkshire the rate of new infections, and more importantly the number of older people in hospital with the virus, is moving in the right direction.

‘We’ve been under tighter restrictions in South Yorkshire since October 24, and they are slowly suffocating businesses, particularly in the hospitality and events sectors. They are now being hit again just as they enter their busiest time of year.’

Mr Jarvis added: ‘It’s deeply concerning that the government yet again excluded mayors and local leaders from the decision-making process around the new Tiering arrangements.’

The decision to save London from Tier 3 will be a relief to many in the hospitality industry who will be able to reopen with limitations when the current national lockdown ends on December 2.

But Matt Hancock told the Commons this afternoon that the capital is more likely to move in the other direction and said: ‘There is a lot of work to do in London to keep it in Tier 2’. Mr Hancock has placed all of neighbouring Kent in Tier 3.

The capital’s top restaurateurs and hoteliers had warned that placing the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half the hospitality industry in the city and trigger an ‘atomic bomb’ of job losses after Christmas.

Leading restaurateur Richard Caring, who owns chains including The Ivy and Bill’s, said he was ‘very glad’ that London was in Tier 2, but if it had gone into Tier 3 then ‘we might as well have turned out the lights’. He told MailOnline: ‘These so-called politicians are advised purely by scientists and not commercial reality. They are destroying people faster than this virus.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was a ‘right decision’ because ‘Londoners have done exactly what has been asked of them since the start of this pandemic’ – but slammed the Government for continuing with a curfew on pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.

But he added ‘I am extremely disappointed that the Government is sticking with specific measures that seem to cause more harm than good. 

‘I am pleased we persuaded the Government to get rid of the 10pm curfew but extending it to 11pm, when it should be scrapped altogether, is a mistake. 

‘It is a real blow to pubs, bars and restaurants which have endured such a difficult year and deserve better’. 

Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen said the Tier 3 restrictions in the city were a ‘bitter blow’.

He said: ‘It’s a bitter blow for people in Nottingham who have done the right thing, followed the rules and done an incredible job of driving down the rate of Covid infections from the highest in the country to below the national average.

‘We had hoped that this would have meant we would be spared going into Tier 3 and the extra restrictions that come with that being imposed on local people and struggling local businesses.

‘We will need Government to provide further support for businesses – especially hospitality where they will be particularly badly hit – to see them through this, as the amounts offered so far won’t be enough.

‘However, we must of course accept that these are the new rules we must abide by, and given the valiant efforts locally in the past few weeks, I have no doubt that we will continue to drive down infection rates and be able to leave Tier 3 and enter Tier 2 very soon.

‘The tiers are being reviewed every 14 days so the hope must be that we could be into Tier 2 before Christmas.’  

Mr Johnson looked happy to be out of self-isolation as he waved to photographers in Downing Street today

Mr Johnson looked happy to be out of self-isolation as he waved to photographers in Downing Street today

Mr Johnson looked happy to be out of self-isolation as he waved to photographers in Downing Street today

The narrative explanations produced by the government for Tier allocations

The narrative explanations produced by the government for Tier allocations

Critics say there should be specific numerical thresholds so people have clarity

Critics say there should be specific numerical thresholds so people have clarity

The announcement on Tiers was accompanied with narrative explanations of why each area has been classified – but critics say there should be specific numerical thresholds so people have clarity 

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Coronavirus cases have dropped in two thirds of all London boroughs and the city will enter Tier 2 from December 2

Steve Baker tweeted today

Steve Baker tweeted today

Sir Robert Syms voiced anger

Sir Robert Syms voiced anger

Steve Baker and Sir Robert Syms were among the Tory MPs voicing anger at the draconian restrictions

The PM wrestled with his mask as he exited his official car on returning from the Commons to No10 today

The PM wrestled with his mask as he exited his official car on returning from the Commons to No10 today

The PM wrestled with his mask as he exited his official car on returning from the Commons to No10 today

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The ONS produced its latest infection survey today, showing that the North has seen some of the highest positive test rates

The ONS produced its latest infection survey today, showing that the North has seen some of the highest positive test rates

The ONS produced its latest infection survey today, showing that the North has seen some of the highest positive test rates 

Sturgeon ends UK united front by saying Christmas bubbles should be no more than eight people 

Nicola Sturgeon turned Ebeneezer Scrooge today as she told Scots to limit ‘Christmas Bubbles’ to just eight people – and warned against hugs for granny.

The Scottish Government issued its guidance today for the festive season, days after a ‘four nation’ approach for the UK was put into place.

It was expected to allow people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow the same rules, and cross borders to be with loved ones.

But the Scots today said it would ‘recommend’ only eight adults and teenagers in a bubble formed of three households – although there is no limit on children under 12.

And it also suggested that the two-metre social distancing rule be maintained as much as possible, urging Scots not to embrace loved ones they may not have seen for weeks and months.

The rules are in contrast with those in England, where under the three-household plan there are no limits on numbers.

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Lincolnshire County Council’s leader has described the county being placed under Tier 3 restrictions as ‘disappointing’ and said ‘it doesn’t make sense’.

Cllr Martin Hill said: ‘It’s very disappointing that the whole of Lincolnshire has gone into Tier 3 as we are seeing infection rates fall, especially in those few districts that were previously causing concern – and this could have a crippling effect on our hospitality sector.

‘Although our figures have been high in some districts and lower elsewhere, there’s a clear levelling off and drop in the numbers as the lockdown restrictions and the considerable efforts of our residents begin to take effect.

‘While some of our districts have infection rates well below the England average, why should the whole of Lincolnshire go into Tier 3 for the sake of higher rates in some districts – it doesn’t make sense? 

Earlier, Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted people will ‘see a difference’ when England’s national lockdown ends next week. He told Sky News today: ‘Whichever tier you’re in I think people will see a tangible change.

‘That said, things are obviously not normal and I can’t pretend that next week things are going to feel like they were before the spring.’ 

The Prime Minister, who will hold a press conference this evening, told Conservative MPs last night that the new measures were going to be ‘very tough’. 

But he is braced for a massive backlash from his own benches, amid anger that the measures will destroy thousands of businesses, amount to ‘lockdown by another name’, and the criteria used to make decisions are too ‘finger in the air’.  

Ministers have tried to cool the tensions by stressing that the tiers will be reviewed every two weeks, with the first due on December 16. 

This holds out a prospective carrot that restrictions could be eased even before the ‘Christmas Bubble’ relaxation on December 23.

A study published yesterday found the previous Tier One was ‘clearly inadequate’ last time around – only one area out of the 169 previously under these rules saw a fall in cases. 

The tiered system will kick at the end of national lockdown on December 2 – but the measures go further than the previous regime, meaning Tier Three is effectively a transition into full lockdown.

Areas which make progress in slowing the spread of the virus could still be moved down a tier before Christmas, however, with the first review of the allocations due to take place by December 16.

The key decisions on lockdown levels were made at a meeting of the Covid O committee last night, led by Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock. They were rubber-stamped by the Cabinet before Mr Hancock made a statement to the Commons.    

Relief as London goes into Tier 2 – but Hancock warns it is still at risk 

London has today been placed in Tier 2 of Boris Johnson’s controversial Covid-19 restrictions – but Matt Hancock has already warned its 8.9million residents that he believes the city is perilously close to moving up into Tier 3.

The decision to save the capital from Tier 3 will be a relief to many in the hospitality industry who will be able to reopen with limitations when the current national lockdown ends on December 2.

Coronavirus cases are falling quickly in more than two-thirds of London boroughs – and appear to be stalling in the rest – and critics have demanded the PM is now transparent about how the capital can get into Tier 1 as soon as possible.

But Matt Hancock told the Commons this afternoon that the capital is more likely to move in the other direction and said: ‘There is a lot of work to do in London to keep it in Tier 2’. Mr Hancock has placed all of neighbouring Kent in Tier 3.

The capital’s top restaurateurs and hoteliers had warned that placing the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half the hospitality industry in the city and trigger an ‘atomic bomb’ of job losses after Christmas.

Leading restaurateur Richard Caring, who owns chains including The Ivy and Bill’s, said he was ‘very glad’ that London was in Tier 2, but if it had gone into Tier 3 then ‘we might as well have turned out the lights’. He told MailOnline: ‘These so-called politicians are advised purely by scientists and not commercial reality. They are destroying people faster than this virus.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was a ‘right decision’ because ‘Londoners have done exactly what has been asked of them since the start of this pandemic’ – but slammed the Government for continuing with a curfew on pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.

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It comes after leading Oxford University academic Carl Heneghan said areas placed into the strictest Tiers 2 and 3 could be in a ‘very different position’ next week.

Professor Heneghan, an epidemiologist, said if rates continue to fall ‘it will be hard to justify tougher tiered restrictions’.

Instead, there should be clear criteria which decides whether areas face the strictest measures.

He insisted: ‘By the time we get to December 2 we will be in very different position than we are now, therefore we need to be much more flexible and reactive, and set out clear criteria.’ 

He told MailOnline: ‘There is no point in saying to people ‘this is where you are now [in terms of Covid] and you’ll be in this tier next week’.

‘We should be explaining to people the two important criteria that should decide which areas go into which tiers – symptomatic cases and hospital rates. 

‘For instance, say Kent is announced to be in Tier Three and it has 50 per cent of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients, you could tell people they have to adjust that to 30 per cent to come out of Tier Three. That’s objective criteria.’

His warning came as the UK recorded its highest daily virus death toll since the beginning of May. 

Official data showed 696 deaths were confirmed yesterday. This is the highest since 726 deaths were reported on May 5. 

Speaking to a restive 1922 Committee of his backbench MPs last night, the Prime Minister said: ‘I see us steadily making progress over the next four months. They will really erode the ability of the virus to do damage to our population.’

Economic forecasts put forward by the Treasury watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, have worked on the basis that ‘high to medium’ measures – Tiers 2 and 3 – will be in force until the middle of next year.

But the Prime Minister apparently told his MPs he didn’t agree with their ‘gloomy prediction’, and believed that vaccines would haul Britain out of the mire before then.

Mr Johnson compared the mass testing and vaccine programmes to ‘steadily starting to insert graphite rods into a nuclear reactor’. 

Nonetheless, there remains serious upset on the Tory backbenches over the tier system.

Jake Berry, of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said: ‘We repeat our call for a clear route out of the tiering system and to make sure that the North does not get stuck in a Hotel California lockdown where we can enter Tier Three but never leave.’  

The infection profile of the UK in mid-September

The infection profile of the UK in mid-September

The infection profile of the UK in mid-November

The infection profile of the UK in mid-November

These charts show how the infection profile has changed across the UK between mid September (left) and mid-November

Covid-19 cases have fallen across most of the North of England since lockdown was imposed, but they are rising in a corner of the South East. The percentage change is based on comparing data from the week ending November 15 to the week ending November 8. It comes as the Government prepares to unveil its tier system

Covid-19 cases have fallen across most of the North of England since lockdown was imposed, but they are rising in a corner of the South East. The percentage change is based on comparing data from the week ending November 15 to the week ending November 8. It comes as the Government prepares to unveil its tier system

Covid-19 cases have fallen across most of the North of England since lockdown was imposed, but they are rising in a corner of the South East. The percentage change is based on comparing data from the week ending November 15 to the week ending November 8. It comes as the Government prepares to unveil its tier system

Official data showed 696 deaths were confirmed yesterday. This is the highest since 726 deaths were reported on May 5

Official data showed 696 deaths were confirmed yesterday. This is the highest since 726 deaths were reported on May 5

Official data showed 696 deaths were confirmed yesterday. This is the highest since 726 deaths were reported on May 5

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What tier are YOU in and why? Secrecy row as Department of Health refuses to publish the numbers behind decisions to place all but THREE regions of England in toughest two brackets 

Number 10 today published a breakdown of England’s lockdown tiers in a desperate attempt to justify the brutal curbs to the public as Boris Johnson announced all but three places of the country will be plunged into the toughest brackets.

The document, released as it emerged almost 99 per cent of the population will be living in some form of lockdown when the national intervention finally ends on December 2, vaguely details why different restrictions were allocated to each area but doesn’t reveal the exact thresholds behind making the decisions.

It seems to be a direct response to fierce criticism levelled at the Government about transparency by scientists and its own MPs, who accused ministers of using ‘finger in the air’ criteria to make the crucial decisions that will put a wrecking ball through already-crippled pubs, restaurants and clubs in swathes of the nation.

In Tier Three Manchester, for example, the Department of Health breakdown said ‘while there has been continued improvement’, infections remain too high, ‘especially in over-60s’. Tagged on the end of the explanation is a vague message about the pressure on the local NHS ‘remaining a concern’, especially in ‘Manchester University hospital and Pennine Acute Trust’.

But officials insisted it was ‘not possible to set rigid thresholds’ for the five indicators used to judge which areas need tougher measures, meaning local officials will be left in the dark about how to escape the curbs unless they are told exactly what is needed in behind-closed-doors meetings.

Oxford University’s Carl Heneghan, a professor in evidence-based medicine and epidemiologist, told MailOnline without ‘clear, objective criteria’, people are often left confused about why they are being punished and what behaviour they need to adjust to move out of the tougher lockdown brackets. 

Amid shambolic scenes unveiling the widely-anticipated tier list this morning, the government’s online postcode checker – which was put live before the official statement – crashed after residents, journalists and MPs scrambled to gather the news on what decisions had been taken. Questions were also asked about why the original document published on the Government’s website contained a series of question marks against some of the areas listed. 

It adds to a catalogue of blunders by UK health officials who in September lost nearly 16,000 Covid test results due to a Microsoft’s Excel glitch and were four months late in launching their ‘world beating’ Test and Trace app.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre will review the Covid situation in areas every two weeks and sign off on proposals to upgrade or downgrade places, though the final decision remains with the PM. However, there are no specific trigger thresholds for coming in or out of Tiers.

Improvements have been seen in Tier Three Leicester, according to the breakdown, but Covid-19 infection rates remain ‘very high’ at 355 per 100,000, including in over 60s at 250. The DoH document adds: ‘The pressure on the local NHS remains very high.’

Only Cornwall, Scilly and the Isle of Wight have been put into the loosest Tier 1, which allows socialising inside homes and pubs subject to the Rule of Six. 

As a result most of England — around 55million residents — will be banned from mixing indoors with other households, apart from five days over Christmas. Pubs in Tier 2 will only be able to serve alcohol with ‘substantial’ meals 

Professor Heneghan — who yesterday told MailOnline the restrictions would be outdated by the time they come into force next week — said officials ‘need to be much more flexible and reactive’ so regions can be freed from the economically-damaging curbs at the drop of a hat, if the outbreak starts trending in the right direction. 

LONDON 

London was today been placed in Tier 2 of Boris Johnson’s controversial Covid-19 restrictions – but Matt Hancock has already warned the city is perilously close to moving up into Tier 3 before Christmas. 

The decision to save the capital from Tier 3 will be a relief to many in the hospitality industry who will be able to reopen with limitations when the current national lockdown ends on December 2. 

Coronavirus cases are falling quickly in more than two-thirds of London boroughs – and appear to be stalling in the rest – and critics have demanded the PM is now transparent about how the capital can get into Tier 1 as soon as possible. 

But Mr Hancock told the Commons this afternoon that it is more likely to move in the other direction and said: ‘There is a lot of work to do in London to keep it in Tier 2’.  

The capital’s top restaurateurs and hoteliers had warned that placing the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half the hospitality industry in the city and trigger an ‘atomic bomb’ of job losses after the New Year. 

Leading restaurateur Richard Caring, who owns chains including The Ivy and Bill’s, said he was ‘very glad’ that London was in Tier 2, but if it had gone into Tier 3 then ‘we might as well have turned out the lights’. He told MailOnline: ‘These so-called politicians are advised purely by scientists and not commercial reality. They are destroying people faster than this virus.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was a ‘right decision’ because ‘Londoners have done exactly what has been asked of them since the start of this pandemic’ – but slammed the Government for continuing with a curfew on pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. 

But he added ‘I am extremely disappointed that the Government is sticking with specific measures that seem to cause more harm than good. I am pleased we persuaded the Government to get rid of the 10pm curfew but extending it to 11pm, when it should be scrapped altogether, is a mistake. It is a real blow to pubs, bars and restaurants which have endured such a difficult year and deserve better’.  

LIVERPOOL 

For Liverpool – formerly the country’s Covid hotspot –  ‘cases have fallen by 69 per cent over six weeks’. 

But the region was placed in Tier Two because ‘case rates in over 60s are very high (over 200 per 100,000) in six lower tier local authorities’, according to the document. 

Liverpool has run a successful campaign to control its outbreak after mass testing in the city.

CORNWALL, ISLES OF SCILLY AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT 

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, two of three places to be put in Tier One, there are low case rates and test positivity and the infections in all ages are stable or declining, officials said.

‘There have been no cases in the Isles of Scilly in the last seven days meaning there is strong evidence to make an allocation to Tier One,’ it added.

In Tier One Isle of Wight, the DoH claimed: ‘The case rate is low and decreasing at 71 per 100,000 and lower in over 60s at 44 per 100,000. COVID-19 pressure on the NHS is low.’

Experts have said the Government should be prepared to start moving places up and down tiers next week when the lockdown ends because the country ‘will be in very different position than it is now’.

Professor Heneghan warned the tiers may already be outdated and ‘unjustified’ when the national shutdown lapses next week because Covid infections are plummeting across the country.

He said ‘if the trend continues it will be hard to justify tougher tiered restrictions’ when the lockdown ends on Wednesday. 

‘The expert urged ministers to lay out exactly what needs to change for high-risk areas to be downgraded. 

For example, residents in Manchester should be told if they get their case rates in the over-60s then the region should be moved to Tier Two.

At present, the Government is not doing that and it will wait at least two weeks before reassessing the different tiers.  

What do Tiers mean for me, when will restrictions change… and what about Christmas? Vital Q&A on what post-lockdown life will look like from Dec 2

Almost all parts of England will face tough coronavirus curbs with a ban on households mixing indoors and restrictions on hospitality from next Wednesday.

Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive tier three, but London and much of the South will be in tier two.

Some 23.3 million people will face the most stringent restrictions, while 32 million people will be in the second tier when the national lockdown finishes.

In tier two, the restrictions mean a ban on households mixing indoors and pubs, and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’.

Tier three measures mean a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as parks, with restaurants limited to takeaway or delivery.

Here, MailOnline answers some of the key questions about the new system, which has slightly different rules to the tiers imposed before the second lockdown:  

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How do I find out what tier I’m in?

The Government had launched a postcode checker shortly after 11am today, but later removed the feature after it kept failing to work when people tried to use it.

Instead, you can scroll down for our list of what areas are in tier two and three. The only areas in tier one are Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly.

When will the restrictions take effect?

The national lockdown for England ends next Wednesday, December 2 at 00.01am, and the new tier restrictions will come into effect at that point. 

How often will the tier placings be reviewed?

The tiers will be reviewed every two weeks, with the first review coming up on December 16. However Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hinted that this may change to be reviewed on a weekly basis instead. 

TIER 2 – HIGH ALERT

What does ‘tier two’ mean?

This means the area is on a ‘high alert’ for coronavirus, with the Government saying it shows it has a ‘higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place’.

Can I see my friends or family indoors?

No, unless they are in your household. You cannot socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place

Can I see my friends and family outdoors, including in gardens? 

Yes, with restrictions. You cannot socialise in a group of more than six people outside, including in a garden or a public space. This is called the ‘rule of six’.

Can I go the pub?

Yes, with restrictions. You can only inside a pub with your own household, and they are only allowed to serve alcohol with ‘substantial meals’.

You can go outside a pub with members of other households within the ‘rule of six’, but the same rules apply regarding alcohol.

Can I go to a restaurant?

Yes, with the same restrictions as above regarding where you can sit with members of other households. 

Can I go up to the bar at a pub or restaurant?

No. Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol. 

Are nightclubs reopening?

No, nightclubs still remain closed by law. 

Is the curfew on pubs and restaurants still in place?

Yes, but it has been put back an hour. Now, hospitality venues serving alcohol must close between 11pm and 5am, and stop taking orders after 10pm.

Are there exemptions to the curfew? 

Yes, hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are all exempt from the curfew.

Can you still get a takeaway after 10pm?

Yes. Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

Are other businesses also under the curfew?

Yes, the 11pm closure applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and bingo halls. 

Are there exemptions for cinemas and theatres with late shows?

Yes. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

Are there new capacity rules on audiences at events?

Yes. Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50 per cent capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors

The City of London is surrounded by haze this morning. The capital will be in tier two next week

The City of London is surrounded by haze this morning. The capital will be in tier two next week

The City of London is surrounded by haze this morning. The capital will be in tier two next week

Can I go to watch live sport?

Yes. Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50 per cent capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

Can I go to church?

Yes. Places of worship will be open but you cannot socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies.

Are weddings back on?

Yes. Weddings can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Are funerals still permitted?

Yes. Now 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.

Can organised sport continue?

Yes. Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue.

What about organised indoor sport?

Yes, with restrictions. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). 

There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.

Will gyms be open?

Yes.

Are there restrictions on travel?

Yes. The Government says you can travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Do the rules change if you travel to a tier one area?

No. If you live in a tier two area, you must continue to follow tier two rules when you travel to a tier one area. 

What about if you go to a tier three area?

The Government advises people to avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier three areas ‘other than where necessary’, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.

It adds that people can travel through a tier three area as a part of a longer journey.

If moving between tiers, which rules do you follow?

You must follow the rules of the tier you are in, or the tier you are visiting – whichever is higher. 

Can you go abroad?

Yes, with exemptions. For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.

What areas are in tier two?

Here is a full list of the areas in tier two, according to the Government website. 

East of England

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

London

  • all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East

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

North West 

  • Cumbria 
  • Liverpool City Region 
  • Warrington and Cheshire

South West

  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Gloucestershire
  • South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
  • Wiltshire and Swindon
  • West Midlands
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
  • Worcestershire
  • Yorkshire
  • North Yorkshire
  • York

East Midlands 

  • Northamptonshire 
  • Rutland

TIER 3 – VERY HIGH ALERT

What does ‘tier three’ mean? 

This is a ‘very high’ alert level – the highest of the three-tier system – for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place. 

Can I see my friends or family indoors? 

No, unless they are in the same household. The rules for this are the same in tier two.

Can I see my friends and family outdoors?

Yes, but not in private gardens. You can only socialise in groups of up to six people in other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.

People out in Leeds today, before the city enters tier three next Wednesday after lockdown

People out in Leeds today, before the city enters tier three next Wednesday after lockdown

People out in Leeds today, before the city enters tier three next Wednesday after lockdown

Can I go the pub or restaurant?

No. These all have to shut under law, except for takeaway. 

Can I get a takeaway?

Yes. Hospitality settings, such as pubs, cafes and restaurants are allowed to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

Can I stay in a hotel?

No. Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is ‘reasonably necessary for work or education and training’.

What venues have to stay shut?

The majority of entertainment and tourist venues must close, including:

  • indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play
  • casinos
  • bingo halls
  • bowling alleys
  • skating rinks
  • amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
  • laser quests and escape rooms
  • cinemas, theatres and concert halls
  • snooker halls

Can indoor attractions at outdoor venues stay open?

No. Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close, although indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open. 

This includes indoor attractions within: 

  • zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves
  • aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions
  • model villages
  • museums, galleries and sculpture parks
  • botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses
  • theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs
  • visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes
  • landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms

Can leisure and sports facilities stay open?

Yes, with restrictions. Group exercise classes including fitness and dance should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should also close.

Can I attend a live sports event?

No. There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. However, elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.

People walk through Birmingham today, before the region goes into tier three rules next week

People walk through Birmingham today, before the region goes into tier three rules next week

People walk through Birmingham today, before the region goes into tier three rules next week

Can large outdoor events take place?

No. The likes of performances and shows should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.

Can I still go to church?

Yes. Places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies

Can a wedding take place? 

Yes. weddings can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend the ceremonies, and receptions are not allowed.

Can I go to a funeral?

Yes. Thirty people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events

Can organised outdoor sport take place?

Yes. Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however ‘higher-risk contact activity should not take place’.

Can indoor sport take place?

No. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. 

There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s.

Can I still travel to places? 

Yes. You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Can I go on holiday to other parts of Britain?

No. You should ‘avoid travelling to other parts of the UK’, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. However, you can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.

Can I go abroad?

Yes, with restrictions. For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list. 

What areas are in tier three?

Here is a full list of the areas in tier three, according to the Government website. 

East Midlands

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

North East

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

North West

  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire

South East

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

South West

  • Bristol
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

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

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • The Humber
  • South Yorkshire
  • West Yorkshire

GATHERING EXEMPTIONS FOR ALL TIERS 

Are there exemptions from gatherings limits in all tiers?

Yes, the following exemptions to the ‘rule of six’ apply below: 

  • as part of a single household, or a support bubble
  • for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes
  • for childcare, education or training – meaning education and training provided as part of a formal curriculum
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after-school childcare), groups and activities for under 18s, and children’s playgroups
  • for formal support groups, and parent and child groups – up to 15 people aged 5 and older
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for birth partners
  • to attend a funeral – with no more than 30 people present – or a commemorative event such as a wake for someone who has died – with no more than 15 people present
  • to see someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life
  • to attend a wedding or civil partnership – with no more than 15 people present
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer
  • to facilitate moving home

CHRISTMAS EXEMPTIONS FOR ALL TIERS

Plans revealed earlier this week to allow people to form a temporary bubble over the festive season were welcome news to families across the country.

But how much do we know about what is being proposed? Here, are some key questions based on information released by the Cabinet Office for England:

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36089686 8989833 image a 161 1606409117066

What is a Christmas bubble and when can I join one?

People will be allowed to form an exclusive Christmas bubble made up of people from no more than three households between December 23 and 27.

This rule applies across the whole of the UK.

Christmas bubbles can only meet in private homes and gardens, places of worship and public outdoor spaces.

Can I be in more than one Christmas bubble?

No. Christmas bubbles will be fixed for the period they are permitted.

You are also not allowed to change your Christmas bubble once it is formed.

Is there a limit to how many people can be in a Christmas bubble?

The Cabinet Office guidance only stipulates that the bubble should not include people from more than three households.

However, it highlights that the more people someone sees, the more likely they are to catch or spread Covid-19, and asks the public to be mindful of risks before agreeing to form a bubble.

The Scottish Government said people should keep the numbers within a bubble as low as possible and minimise the length of contact between different households in the bubble.

Will we have to social distance within Christmas bubbles?

Social distancing will not be necessary in bubbles, but people will be advised to exercise restraint and judgment if they plan to mix with vulnerable friends or family.

It means friends and family will have the chance to hug for the first time in months.

What happens if I’m self-isolating?

If you have Covid symptoms or are required to self-isolate then you must not join a Christmas bubble.

If someone in a Christmas bubble tests positive for coronavirus or develops symptoms between December 23 and 27, or up to 48 hours after the bubble last met, then all bubble members must self-isolate.

Can I be in a different Christmas bubble from people I normally live with?

Cabinet Office guidance says you can choose to form a different Christmas bubble from the people you live with normally.

To prevent virus transmission within your normal household and between bubbles, people should try to stay with another member of their Christmas bubble between December 23 and 27 where possible.

Extra precautions such as cleaning surfaces and door handles and letting in fresh air after someone has visited your household are also advised.

However, the Scottish Government has said that ‘different people in a household should not pick their own bubble’. 

Can I still meet people outside of my Christmas bubble?

You will be able to meet people not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are staying in.

The tier system of restrictions applies to England, with rules in other parts of the UK varying.

Can I stay overnight with my Christmas bubble?

Yes. If someone is in your Christmas bubble, you can visit each other’s homes and stay overnight, including in private rented accommodation.

Can I travel through different areas and across borders to join a Christmas bubble?

Yes. You are allowed to travel between England’s tiers and the four nations of the UK to meet your Christmas bubble.

When am I allowed to travel to and from my Christmas bubble?

You should only travel to meet your bubble and return home between December 23 and 27.

For those heading to or from Northern Ireland, they may travel on December 22 and 28 December, but should only meet their Christmas bubble between December 23 and 27.

Travel outside these periods is only allowed in exceptional circumstances, for example if your are required to self-isolate.

People are advised to avoid unnecessary stops on their journey and not to share a car with people not in their household.

If crossing borders, travellers should read the local coronavirus guidance as different rules may apply.

Does my support bubble count as one household still?

According to the Cabinet Office, existing support bubbles will count as one household contributing to the three household Christmas bubble limit.

A support bubble in England is defined as a support network between a single adult household, or a one adult household with one or more people aged under 18 on June 12, and one other household of any size.

Rules on household bubbles are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with full Christmas guidance still pending from those nations.

Can childcare bubbles continue?

In England, a childcare bubble is where one household links with one other household to provide informal childcare to children aged 13 or under.

Between December 23 and 27 you can continue to use a childcare bubble but ‘only if reasonably necessary’ and ‘where there are no reasonable alternatives’, Cabinet Office guidance states.

If meeting socially during this period, the two households should form a Christmas bubble, with one further household permitted to join the grouping.

Again, guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may differ.

What happens to children whose parents are separated?

Children who are aged under 18 can be part of both their parents’ Christmas bubbles if the adults do not live together and separate groupings are formed.

Nobody else is allowed to be in two bubbles.

Can care home residents join Christmas bubbles?

In England, visits outside of care homes should only be considered for residents ‘of working age’.

A care home resident that is allowed to leave, subject to a home’s agreement and individual risk assessments, may form a bubble with one other household only and should not form a three-household Christmas bubble at any point.

If a care home resident does join a household for Christmas they should maintain social distance and take steps to minimise risks.

Can students returning from university join Christmas bubbles?

Students heading home for the holidays will be considered part of the household they return to.

Can I form a Christmas bubble if I am clinically extremely vulnerable?

Yes, but people are warned this involves greater risks.

If someone decides to join a bubble they should take extra precautions, while others within the group should be extra vigilant in the days before getting together.

Can my bubble have Christmas dinner together at the pub?

No. Under the rules Christmas bubbles cannot meet up at indoor settings such as pubs, hotels, retail businesses, theatres or restaurants.

In England, rules on who you can and cannot meet will still depend on which tier of restrictions a venue is in.

Should I follow the rules of the tier I travel to or the tier I’ve come from when forming my Christmas bubble?

In England, if travelling to join your bubble you should follow the tier rules of your destination.

In Scotland, you must stay with your bubble where they are hosting you and you should follow the travel advice for the level you are in.

For example, people being hosted in a level 3 area cannot go on an outing to a level 2 area.

Can I stay in a hotel during Christmas?

In England, you can stay in a hotel during the Christmas period, including in a tier three area, but only on your own or with members of your household.

How will the Christmas rules be enforced?

No specific details have been released over how authorities might enforce the newly announced rules during the festive period.

Will we face tougher restrictions in January to make up for this?

We do not yet know. It has been speculated that a further circuit-breaker might be needed in January or February if transmission rates rise during Christmas.

The Prime Minister has urged families to still be ‘jolly careful’, warning against ‘a big blowout Christmas’ that could risk another lockdown in January.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Middlesbrough mayor faces conduct probe over mystery ‘serious allegations’

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middlesbrough mayor faces conduct probe over mystery serious allegations

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston faces a conduct probe over mystery ‘serious allegations’ – but has accused the town’s MP of an ‘absurd and sinister’ plot to bring him down.

The vicious war of words was sparked by an anonymous tip-off received by Middlesbrough Council complaining about an incident which happened in February, the Northern Echo reported.

Mr Preston, an Independent, has taken to Twitter to claim the complaint was made by local Labour MP Andy McDonald, and that it was based on ‘no more than rumours and hearsay’ about a matter that was ‘already considered closed’ by the council.

Andy Preston - pictured - made headlines in October for urging locals not to follow the Government's 'unjust, cruel and illogical' local lockdown

Andy Preston - pictured - made headlines in October for urging locals not to follow the Government's 'unjust, cruel and illogical' local lockdown

Andy Preston – pictured – made headlines in October for urging locals not to follow the Government’s ‘unjust, cruel and illogical’ local lockdown

Council chief executive Tony Parkinson today confirmed the complaint had been received and was ‘being assessed’.

Mr Preston, who made headlines in October for urging locals not to follow the Government’s ‘unjust, cruel and illogical’ local lockdown – before later reversing his stance – said he was the victim of a politically-motivated attack.

He said: ‘At a time when Covid has left Middlesbrough and many of its people in crisis, this is an absurd and appalling new low in a long series of attempts to bring me down by those who want to be in power.

‘When the full story comes out, people will be appalled at the sinister activities of certain individuals who will, it seems, stop at nothing for their own political gain.

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said: 'These are very serious allegations and a proper investigation should be carried out'

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said: 'These are very serious allegations and a proper investigation should be carried out'

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said: ‘These are very serious allegations and a proper investigation should be carried out’

He added: ‘Let’s be clear that this complaint is being made by the town’s MP Andy McDonald – and is based on no more than rumours and hearsay about a matter that had already been considered and closed by the council.

‘The truth is that he is trying to get me to resign. He will not win.’

Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough, said: ‘These are very serious allegations and a proper investigation should be carried out.

‘If misconduct is confirmed then I believe the mayor should resign.’

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, added: ‘Clearly these are serious allegations and it is important that the full facts are established.

‘A thorough investigation will be required to ensure that public confidence in our council can be maintained. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.’

Mr Preston launched his astonishing mutiny in October after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that Middlesbrough, along with Liverpool, Hartlepool and Warrington would face the same curbs as the North East.

In a video message Mr Preston said they went further than he and other local politicians had lobbied for, and in what is believed to be a first for a local politician, rejected the measures outlined in the Commons.

Mr Preston was elected mayor in 2019, having first stood and narrowly lost in 2015.

The businessman was previously a high-profile philanthropist in Teesside before going into politics.

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, added: 'Clearly these are serious allegations and it is important that the full facts are established'

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, added: 'Clearly these are serious allegations and it is important that the full facts are established'

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, added: ‘Clearly these are serious allegations and it is important that the full facts are established’

The first charity he founded, in 2011, was Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation which raises funds for communities in the area.

The Foundation is supported by a number of local businesses including Middlesbrough Football Club.

A few years later, Mr Preston launched a new charity called CEO Sleepout which holds events across the UK to raise funds to combat homelessness and poverty.

In December 2016, launched a restaurant, The Fork in the Road, in Middlesbrough in an attempt to provide employment opportunities for former prisoners, recovering addicts and the long term unemployed.

He stepped down from his foundation after being elected, having raised three million during his tenure.

Mr Preston was previously a staunch Labour member before standing as an independent in 2015.

He had a run in with the Labour Party in 2019, when he was accused of ‘dog whistle racism’ after making a post on Facebook titled ‘Immigration Can Bring Big Benefits and Big Negatives’.

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, labelled Preston’s post ‘irresponsible and dangerous’.

However, the mayor was heavily supported by the public and an online poll suggested that 89% of residents agreed with his post.

In it, he said that he was ‘100% certain that recent and rapid immigration to some parts of central Middlesbrough is causing new problems and a clash of cultures is developing.’

Dismissing his critics in the Labour party, Mr Preston later said: ‘If professional politicians and some snowflakes aren’t happy with me then that’s fine.

‘I’ll keep sticking up for people – regardless of what abuse politicians and their lackeys send me.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Covid will hit average worker’s wages to the tune of £1,200 a year by 2025, think tank says

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covid will hit average workers wages to the tune of 1200 a year by 2025 think tank says

The Covid-19 pandemic will hit the average worker’s pay packet by £1,200 by 2025, analysis by a think tank has revealed today.

A report published by the Resolution Foundation has hinted the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the finances of individual Britons, alongside damaging public economics.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow says that by the middle of the decade, average wages are expected to be around £1,200 lower than was forecast before the virus took hold in March.

Weaker pay growth and higher unemployment rates will likely serve to prolong Britain’s living standards squeeze, it was suggested.

Furthermore, household incomes could rise by just 10 per cent in the 15 years since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, compared to a 40 per cent growth in the 15 years before the crisis.  

A report published by the Resolution Foundation has hinted the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the finances of individual Britons, alongside damaging public economics

A report published by the Resolution Foundation has hinted the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the finances of individual Britons, alongside damaging public economics

A report published by the Resolution Foundation has hinted the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the finances of individual Britons, alongside damaging public economics

The report comes as Rishi Sunak yesterday revealed what the Government will spend hundreds of billions of pounds on in the coming years, including £38billion for public services to fight Covid-19 for the final weeks of this year.

The Chancellor also pledged £55billion to battle the pandemic in 2021, including £2.6billion for devolved administrations, as he set out his plans in the Spending Review at the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Mr Sunak additionally promised a £6.3billion cash increase in NHS spending, a £2.2billion rise for the schools budget and £400million to help recruit 20,000 more police officers by 2023.

However, Mr Sunak today refused to confirm extending a £20-per-week boost to Universal Credit payments beyond next April.

The Chancellor said the increase, which impacts six million Britons, was a ‘temporary’ measure, adding any decision on an extension would come in 2021.

 He told BBC Breakfast: ‘We put, at the beginning of this crisis, lots of different measures in to help people.

‘One of those was a temporary one-year uplift in Universal Credit given that we were dealing with many months of a national lockdown – very severe set of restrictions that that was and a period of acute panic. 

Pictured: A graph projecting who in the workforce is likely to be affected by the public sector pay freeze

Pictured: A graph projecting who in the workforce is likely to be affected by the public sector pay freeze

Pictured: A graph projecting who in the workforce is likely to be affected by the public sector pay freeze

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his autumn Spending Review in the House of Commons  on Wednesday

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his autumn Spending Review in the House of Commons  on Wednesday

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his autumn Spending Review in the House of Commons  on Wednesday

‘That was a temporary increase, it runs all the way through to next spring and it wouldn’t be right to make a permanent decision about that now when the economic outlook is so uncertain.’

It is understood extending the boosted Credit would cost an additional £6billion.

Those at the Resolution Foundation said considering the economic hardship, ‘it makes no sense for the Chancellor to have failed to extend the £20-per-week boost to Universal Credit.’

The report added: ‘Against that backdrop, it makes no sense for the Chancellor to have failed to extend the £20 a week boost to Universal Credit into next year, leaving six million households wondering if they are set to lose over £1,000 a year just at the time when the OBR expects unemployment to reach its peak.’

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow also found £13billion of cuts to planned spending means it will not feel like the end of austerity for many public services. 

Pictured: A graph illustrating the 15-year growth rate in Real Household Disposable Income

Pictured: A graph illustrating the 15-year growth rate in Real Household Disposable Income

Pictured: A graph illustrating the 15-year growth rate in Real Household Disposable Income

The day-to-day spending of some Government departments will remain almost a quarter smaller in real terms per person in 2024 and 2025 compared 2009 and 2010.

Elsewhere, the think tank found Mr Sunak stuck to the ambitious capital spending targets he set back in March. 

Public sector investment is still set to average 2.9 per cent of GDP over the next five years, the highest sustained level since the late-1970s. 

Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, added: ‘The Covid crisis is causing immense damage to the public finances, and permanent damage to family finances too, with pay packets on track to be £1,200 a year lower than pre-pandemic expectations.

‘The pandemic is just the latest of three ‘once in a lifetime’ economic shocks the UK experienced in a little over a decade, following the financial crisis and Brexit. The result is an unprecedented 15-year living standards squeeze.

‘Yesterday, the Chancellor chose to ramp up his Covid spending to £335 billion. But he also quietly dialled down his spending plans beyond the crisis. For all the talk of ending austerity, its legacy will continue for many public services throughout the parliament.

‘While the priority now is to support the economy, the permanent damage to the public finances mean taxes will rise in future. But which taxes those will be, like which Brexit we can expect, are questions the Chancellor left for another day.’ 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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