Liz Truss has batted away calls from local council leaders in four northern areas to provide them with more powers to tackle a surge in new coronavirus cases.
It comes after the leaders of Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds council wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying they were “extremely concerned” about the rise in cases in the North of England and hit out at the “national response”.
Areas in the North are among the worst hit by a fresh surge in cases with Leeds’ infection rate rising above 300 cases per 100,000, while Manchester rose above 500 cases per 100,000 and Newcastle and Liverpool both above 400.
But the group of Labour politicians told Mr Hancock the existing restrictions were “not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm rule, are counter-productive”.
“We want to be clear however that we do not support further economic lockdowns,” they added.