TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has spearheaded a meeting between local leaders from across the political spectrum and Downing Street to discuss local lockdown restrictions and to get the best deal for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

The meeting will take place on Friday and comes after the Government placed the whole of the Tees Valley in the high category of the new Local Covid Alert Level on Wednesday.

As part of Mayor Houchen’s ongoing discussions with Downing Street he coordinated the meeting to enable local leaders from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland to discuss directly the restrictions that have been introduced and to push for support for businesses, especially for the hospitality sector which will be hit the hardest by the new restrictions.

Mayor Houchen said: “As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, with new restrictions, it is absolutely right that leaders from across the political spectrum come together and fight for the best deal for the hard-working people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

"That’s why I was pleased to be able to spearhead this meeting with Downing Street so that we can discuss the restrictions and the support our amazing businesses need.

“While I am sure the discussion will be wide-ranging and constructive, I am sure we will all make clear that none of us want to spend a day longer than is absolutely necessary under these new restrictions.

“Throughout the pandemic the Chancellor has delivered unprecedented levels of support and this has saves hundreds of small and medium sized companies and thousands of jobs across our region."

Urging local people to follow the new rules so that the new restrictions could be lifted as soon as possible Mayor Houchen said: “It is absolutely essential that everyone across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool follow the rules so that we can get the virus back under control and return to normal as soon as possible.

“Everyone across the region has sacrificed too much to go back into a full lockdown, but if we do not follow these rules, our region and our nation will face even stricter restrictions that no one wants to see - restrictions that will have a catastrophic impact on our economy, our livelihoods as well as our physical and mental health.”