THERE is much merit in the Government’s regional, or even local, approach to tackling the pandemic. We see in this region that there are local differences in infection rates. For instance, it does now appear that infection rates on Tyneside are dropping, whereas in the Tees Valley – with the exception of Middlesbrough – there is still growth.

These local rates have to be taken into account when working out what measures are appropriate.

However, by entering into financial negotiations with regional leaders, the Government has managed to make it look as if region is set against region, with each leader trying to get the best deal for their area.

In fact, the situation in Manchester has made it look as if the Government is somehow locking horns with the regions, denying them the money they need.

The Government needs to take the heat out of the situation by publishing its “fair and consistent” formula which will set out what money places will get when they go into Tier 3.

Although local and regional solutions will be effective, and will protect the economy as much as possible, we cannot have the nation set against itself.