London's lockdown future was on the cutting edge today as ministers debated whether to place the capital in Tier 2 or Tier 3.
Boris Johnson is under pressure from his own party, an army of business leaders and Sadiq Khan, not to impose the most stringent restrictions on the city because he fears they could curb Britain's economic engine.
The Prime Minister will tomorrow split Britain into three "alert levels" of varying severity if the national lockdown ends on December 2nd.
Londoners have taken evidence of the city's declining infection rate, which is below the national average, to reinforce their calls for a Tier 3 evasion.
Tier 3 would ban households mixing indoors or outdoors and restrict pubs and restaurants to only selling takeaways.
While proponents argue that looser Tier 2 restrictions would breathe some life into the economy as pubs could open when they serve a hearty meal.
Hotelier Mark Fuller, who owns Soho's popular celebrity hangout Karma Sanctum, said 50 percent of hotel operations will go to the wall when the capital is ranked Tier 3 from December.
Londoners have taken evidence of the city's declining infection rate, which is below the national average, to reinforce their calls for a Tier 3 evasion
Boris Johnson is under pressure from his own party not to impose the most stringent restrictions on the city for fear they might curb Britain's economic engine
As Londoners waited anxiously for tomorrow's announcement, a City Hall source told the Daily Mail that London could go either way and was currently "pending."
A Conservative source said MailOnline folks were "concerned" that London might be included in Tier 3 but believed Tier 2 was the most likely course of action.
They said, "The capital city's infection rate is well below what other cities had when they entered Tier 3."
The prime minister, himself a former mayor of the city, was unsure today what level the capital will step into PMQs while grilling.
His successor at City Hall, Mr. Khan, and the Conservative mayoral candidate for next year's elections, Shaun Bailey, are both campaigning for the capital to join the middle class.
Mr Bailey said Tier 3 was a "disaster" while Mr Khan reckoned it would lead to a "hammer blow" for businesses.
The Mayor wrote in the Evening Standard: "London's unique economic ecosystem of bars, restaurants, clubs and cultural institutions makes us the largest city in the world, but they have had an incredibly tough year.
"If Ministers were to include London in Tier 3, they would close again for Christmas and New Years – another blow that many would not survive."
Both Mr Khan (right) and his conservative mayor rival (left) in next year's election, Shaun Bailey, are campaigning for the capital to join the middle division
Mr Khan, who campaigned for stricter restrictions in the capital ahead of the November lockdown, cited data showing cases in London are lower than other areas where Tier 2 is expected.
The infection rate is falling in nine London boroughs and The most affected districts are still outside the top 100 in the table of 317 authorities in England.
The seven-day average in London was yesterday from 198.9 on Saturday to 197.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. The national average is currently 235.
Some Tory MPs are even trying to get around London to bypass the top two levels entirely.
Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford, told Mr Johnson today that the capital's entry into Tier 2 or 3 would have "devastating consequences for jobs, businesses, livelihoods and of course physical and mental health."
He called on the government to publish a cost-benefit analysis of the restrictions, which he warned could be even more harmful than the health effects of the virus itself.
Former Tory party leader Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green in north east London, said: "London needs to be ranked Tier 1 … London is dominant in the economy and we need it to get back to work right away . "
Business leaders lined up in the capital yesterday to warn of the harshest restrictions that would wreck the city's economy.
Richard Caring, who owns The Ivy, Annabel & # 39; s, Bill & # 39; s and Soho House, said rules to suppress Covid-19 are indeed a "killer" for businesses and are being imposed "without much thought."
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality industrial group executive director, hopes London will be "as low as possible on attainable public health goals".
She added: “What is certain is that the higher the tier, the more difficult it will be for our companies in London to survive.
"We still haven't seen any evidence that restaurants – which have invested a lot of time and money into making their premises Covid-proof – are a problem area in terms of infection. It therefore seems unfair and arbitrary for hospitality to be treated this way." . " hard hand. & # 39;
Anger over "fingers in the air" criteria to decide which areas fall into levels one, two and three as Boris Johnson's cabinet prepares to sign a new system amid Tory Mutiny fears that no one will end up on the lowest level
By James Tapsfield for MailOnline
A Tory mutiny picks up pace today as Boris Johnson's cabinet prepares to sign the local lockdown levels for England – with fears almost no one will end up on the lowest level.
The Prime Minister faces growing complaints about the “finger in the air” criteria used to make critical decisions after the December 2nd blanket squeeze, as well as the massive impact on businesses and general health.
Conservative MPs threaten to vote against the new system next week if it is a national "lockdown under a different name".
They warn that areas with low infection rates shouldn't have stricter rules due to the nearby urban hotspots – while others complain that the metrics used to assign levels are more vague than certain thresholds for count.
Ministers are expected to base their decisions on recent case data presented today. The levels will be announced tomorrow.
Labor has refused to say it will vote for the rules next week, but it is unlikely to oppose them outright – which means they should go through.
But a huge riot would do further damage to Mr. Johnson's authority as he tries to reset his government after the collapse that toppled Dominic Cummings.
The areas most likely to have Tier 3 rules are East Sussex, Herefordshire and Milton Keynes, which have seen the biggest spikes in coronavirus cases in the past week.
Statistics from Public Health England show that infection rates – the number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people – rose by at least 50 percent in all three areas in the seven-day period ending November 15.
Also in the sights of Mr Hancock and Prof. Chris Whitty are Kent, parts of Essex and London.
Meanwhile, in almost all cases, the areas with the greatest declines were in Tier 3 in the northwest, providing further evidence that the local lockout system appears to be working.
Warrington, Oldham, Wigan and Blackburn, all of which had large numbers of infections during England's second wave, saw drops of 30 percent or more.
Liverpool and other former Tier 3 areas have urged their status to be downgraded in recognition of the progress made in combating the virus.
These graphs show how the infection profile in the UK changed between mid-September (left) and mid-November
Downing Street admitted yesterday that the new level system is “harder” than the one in place in October
Covid-19 cases have fallen in most of the north of England since the lockdown was imposed, but they are increasing in one corner of the southeast. The percentage change is based on comparing the data for the week ended November 15 with the week ended November 8. The government is preparing to reveal its tiered system
The onerous tiered system will run across England from December 3 to the end of March, the Prime Minister said
Boris Johnson faced an increasing backlash to his new Covid levels last night – when it emerged that the whole of England could be placed in the top two levels of restrictions
Downing Street declined to comment in detail before tomorrow's decision, but noted that the prime minister warned on Monday that "many more places will be at higher levels than before".
The Cabinet met this morning even though the main subject of business was the review of the Chancellor's expenses.
Critics have accused the ministers of not making the exact criteria for the decision on the placement of the steps transparent.
Downing Street said five key factors would be used: Covid cases across all age groups; Cases under 60 years of age; the rate at which cases rise or fall; the number of positive tests per 100,000 people; and pressure on the local NHS.
WHAT ARE THE NEW ANIMAL RULES?
Level one will be the default and action cannot be more relaxed in any part of England:
- The rule of six and social distancing apply to both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
- Pubs and restaurants may only be opened with table service and a closing time of 11 p.m.
- People from separate households cannot meet inside and the rule of six applies outside;
- Pubs have to close unless they work as restaurants. Alcoholic drinks are served with meals.
Level three will be the toughest level of restrictions and the rules have been tightened to make them stricter than before. All Tier Two rules apply, plus the following:
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters and bowling alleys must be closed.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must be closed except for takeout.
- Shops, hairdressers and salons can remain open;
- Groups of six people are only allowed to meet outdoors.
- Crowds at live events are prohibited.
- People should avoid traveling to or from Tier 3 areas unless it is inevitable.
However, No. 10 did not provide details on the use of indicators – and economic factors are not taken into account.
Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh told MailOnline that there should be more precise criteria for deciding which levels to apply. & # 39; There is no rating. It's all fingers in the air … "" That seems like a way, "" said Mr. Fysh.
Kent MPs including Tom Tugendhat and former Cabinet Secretary Greg Clark have written to the Prime Minister asking him to set Tiers at the county level rather than the county level.
"Kent is a vast and varied county that showcases the best of our land," the letter reads.
"We need to allow businesses to thrive and not be held back by restrictions that are inappropriate for their region."
According to a rebel source, nearly 100 Conservative MPs had raised concerns about the continuing damage to the economy from restrictions due through April.
Tory boss Whip Mark Spencer is said to have been showered with messages from MPs warning that he will not be able to count on their vote if their constituency is upgraded to one of the higher levels.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, said he would likely vote against the measures when they are brought to the House of Commons early next week.
And he warned that the new restrictions would be "extremely harmful" to companies already struggling to cope with the effects of two bans.
He added: “I am concerned that a large number of companies, particularly but not exclusively in the hospitality industry, have already lost money below Tier 2 and there is a very narrow limit to how long they can do this without seeing it Even greater unemployment and especially youth unemployment are coming our way. "
The number of Tory rebels planning to vote against the tiered system next week is expected to be far higher than the 32 who voted against the national lockdown.
According to The Times, Mr. Johnson will speak to the 1922 committee on Wednesday evening to march the troubled rear benches.
Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne said: “The mood music seems to suggest that everyone is moving up a notch – it's going to be worse than before. We'll have moved from lock to lock under a different name. & # 39;
Downing Street admitted yesterday that the new level system is “harder” than the one in place in October.
The hospitality sector warned that the proposals were so restrictive that many companies would not survive, especially if they lost their lucrative Christmas trades.
Tier One is the only level that people can meet indoors with people from other households.
In Tier 2 it is allowed to socialize between groups of up to six people, but only outdoors. Under the new restrictions, pubs and restaurants are only allowed to serve alcohol to customers who buy a "substantial meal".
In tier 3, pubs and restaurants will have to close for everything except take away.
Nick Mackenzie, head of Greene King, the UK's largest pub chain, said, "I'm concerned that much of the land will be in tier two or three and that will be devastating to the industry."
And the chairman of Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, who runs 875 pubs, said, "We will be effectively locked down and unprofitable on levels two and three."
While Emma McClarkin, executive director of the British Beer and Pub Association, said, "It appears that the government has decided to cause unnecessary pain and irreversible damage to our sector without releasing any evidence …"
Downing Street yesterday turned down proposals that the new system would be a different form of lockdown, suggesting that stores, gyms and hairdressers at all levels could reopen. The prime minister's spokesman said ministers had made it clear that "given the need to suppress the virus, there will be more areas at higher levels".
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs yesterday he was confident that the animal system, coupled with mass testing, would avoid the need for a third lockdown.
Mr Hancock said there would be a shift to "ownership" rather than social distancing restrictions after Easter once the vaccine reaches those most at risk.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Boris Johnson (t) Sadiq Khan (t) London (t) Coronavirus Lockdowns