Nick Ferrari challenges minister: 'How will areas exit restrictions?'

27 October 2020, 08:51 | Updated: 27 October 2020, 09:41

Nick Ferrari asks business minister Nadhim Zahawi how the Government plans to move areas out of the tiers as over 50 Tory MPs demand clarity over exiting restrictions.

Over 50 Conservative MPs in the north of England have come together to demand a "clear road-map" out of lockdown, as eight million people face living under the highest coronavirus restrictions by the end of the week.

The group of northern Conservative backbenchers, led by former northern powerhouse minister Jake Berry, have written to the Prime Minister asking him to develop an economic recovery plan for the North.

Warrington in Cheshire is the latest town to be put in to the toughest lockdown level.

LBC's Nick Ferrari asked business minister Nadhim Zahawi what the way out of these tiers and restrictions will look like.

Mr Zahawi responded: "If you look at the Tier Three...within the agreement between ourselves and the local leadership, there is a 28 day review of where we are."

"At the end of the 28 days, we sit down, look at the data, look at the evidence to make sure this is not something that will go on forever and ever."

The business minister told LBC that the current R rate (infection rate) is between 1.2 and 1.4 nationally and the aim still stands to bring the R number below 1.

However, he said, "The rate of increase has slowed down, it's still too high and we've got to continue to protect our hospitals, make sure we save lives, protect the NHS and protect livelihoods...it's a trade-off."

Nick asked whether the business minister was concerned that his colleagues on the ground are saying they feel they could be "left behind" and fear a downgrading of the levelling up agenda.

"They're on the ground, they're seeing it more closely than you are, you must be concerned about this?" Nick asked.

The business minister responded that while the signatories of the letter are looking for an an economic recovery plan for the North, the Prime Minister has "refreshed" the local growth strategy.

This comes as the Government has announced a new Town Deals with seven areas, many of which are in the North, benefitting from £178.7 million in regeneration money.