Jack Brooke-Battersby
By Jack Brooke-Battersby

Senior Staff Writer

4 November 2020

| | 3 min read


Call for Newcastle to unite as country goes into lockdown

The leader of Newcastle City Council is calling for the city to be more united than ever to come out of lockdown in as strong a position as possible.

Newcastle Civic Centre
Newcastle Civic Centre

His call comes ahead of the meeting of full council tonight (4 November), on the eve of the country being plunged into a second national lockdown amid rising infection levels across most of England.

For more than a month, Newcastle and the North East had been subject to restrictions under the ‘high’ Covid alert level. In announcing the lockdown during a press conference on Saturday October 31, the Prime Minister, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific advisor praised the North East for being the only region to have flattened the upward trajectory of infection rates.

He said: “Tonight we will enter a national lockdown. Despite Government reluctance to introduce it regionally, we now have an extension to the national furlough scheme which will protect thousands of jobs.

“We must now put aside political differences of opinion and focus on doing the right things over the next four weeks. The more we can get our infection rates down now, the greater the chances of having fewer restrictions in place at the end of the national lockdown.

“Many of our residents will not be able see loved ones or do all the things they enjoy. They will not be able to enjoy aspects of our vibrant city, their unique hobbies or activities they take part in. We must be there to support them and we will make far more noise in our discussions with Government if all our collective voices are the saying the same thing.

“I would like us to unite in our calls for greater financial support for our business community, for greater local control over the essential track and trace system and for everyone to adhere to the hands – face – space messages. Fixing these, and ensuring widespread compliance to the public health messages, are essential if the four weeks of national lockdown are not to be wasted.”

The council leader also pointed out the steps the local authority would be taking to support residents during the four-week lockdown, as it had done when the first lockdown was introduced in March.

He added: “We will be once again putting in place support to protect clinically extremely vulnerable residents, and gearing up the Citylife Line as a point of contact for residents who need help self-isolating. I would like to pay tribute to all those in the voluntary sector, and the Mutual Aid groups that have sprung up around the city, and thank you all in advance for the work that you are about to do.

“I know these restrictions are incredibly harsh and they ask a great deal of you all after so many months of fighting this virus. But I would ask that everybody does all you possibly can to comply and work together to put Newcastle in the strongest, healthiest position by the time they are lifted.

“Please stay at home as much as possible, do not mix with other households, and do your bit to protect our city. We will be far stronger in the future if we all work as one now. Once again, I am asking all Newcastle residents to show the spirit, generosity, and empathy that has got our city through difficult times before. We have made incredible progress in dealing with the pandemic already and must keep on battling the common, hidden enemy of Covid 19.”

You can watch the full council meeting on YouTube from 6pm this evening here. Agendas for the meeting are available on the Newcastle City Council website.