WE are going to need some convincing that it is right for the Tees Valley to move into Tier 3.

We do not doubt that the figures in the sub-region are going in the wrong direction, with particularly deep pockets of infection in Stockton. We do not doubt that, unless we are going to let the virus rip and destroy people’s lives while potentially overwhelming our hospitals, something does need to be done.

We also accept that, although a national lockdown would be the simplest option, the Government’s regional approach is correct, as places like North Yorkshire and Northumberland with lower rates of infection do not yet need the tougher measures.

But Tier 3 will damage and destroy businesses without providing any guarantee that the infection rate will be quickly brought under control. Some areas of the north have been under the toughest measures for weeks if not months and yet still have far higher infection rates than ours.

Our leaders, who will have to battle for as much Government support as possible, face unenviable decisions, and will need to explain what they are trying to achieve by imposing Tier 3 restrictions and by when.