Coronavirus is “getting out of control” in the north of England, a minister has said, as she defended government plans to bring in new restrictions.
Gillian Keegan said the country was in an “unbelievably serious situation”, but added that communication with areas facing new rules needed to be clearer.
It comes as Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer called for local leaders to be “in the room” and included in decisions.
The chancellor will set out support linked to the new restrictions later.
A Treasury spokesperson said Rishi Sunak’s latest move as part of the Jobs Support Scheme would help to “protect jobs and provide a safety net for those businesses that may have to close in the coming weeks and months”.
It has already been announced that the scheme, which will replace the furlough scheme when it ends this month, will see workers get three quarters of their normal salaries for six months.
Under the new system – which will replace the patchwork of existing rules – pubs and restaurants could be closed in the worst-affected areas, while a ban on overnight stays is also being considered.
But there has been growing anger among MPs and local leaders about the way the government has communicated the proposed changes with them.
Story by; Abigail Essel