Government accused of spreading ‘confusion and chaos’ with North East lockdown rules

Pedestrians wearing face masks walking in Newcastle city centre. (Getty)
Pedestrians wearing face masks walking in Newcastle city centre. (Getty)

Local leaders in the North East have criticised the government for spreading “confusion and chaos” with its new local lockdown rules.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced a tightening of measures for Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham on Monday.

Under the new rules his department said laws would ban inter-household mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

But local leaders criticised the policy, accusing the government of a “very knee-jerk” reaction to rising infections in the region.

Nick Forbes, the leader of Newcastle County Council, said this morning: “The problem that we’ve got is not just that the secretary of state has made an announcement without any kind of understanding about the impact on affected businesses, and the potential for job losses.

Passengers wearing face masks on a train in Newcastle. (PA)
Passengers wearing face masks on a train in Newcastle. (PA)

“But also, by

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