By Daniel Wood
No final decision has yet been made on whether Kirklees and other authorities in the north will go into Tier 3 coronavirus lockdown restrictions, despite ongoing talks with leaders.
However, a source within Kirklees Council said the authority was being “warmed up” for the imposition of Tier 3 restrictions.
Beyond that, Tier 3 restrictions are rumoured to be “only a matter of time”, according to one politician in the area.
Leader of the Independents on Kirklees Council, Charles Greaves, says he believes the situation will worsen for hundreds of thousands of people living in the borough before it improves.
His opinion was agreed with by the Lib Dems’ John Lawson, who said the current scenario was not likely to last.
Cllr Greaves said: “I think it is only a matter of time before we are in Tier 3 unless they stretch the parameters. Even if measures start to take effect the delay means things are likely to get worse before they get better.
“I am comfortable with Tier 2, in particular as it permits outside social contact, which we know to be low risk.
“The big step forward will be for the Government to focus on track, test and trace, and in sharing the full details locally and moving to work in a proper partnership with local public health.”
Cllr Lawson said: “Given the numbers, it’s quite a gloomy outlook. The number are rising rapidly. The chances of us staying in Tier 2 are very slim. I think we’ll rise to Tier 3 quite soon.
“I’m not sure that this latest raft of Government rules is clear to everybody, and it needs to be. It’s vital that the messaging is clear for the coming weeks and months if we are to get a grip on these numbers.”
The leader of Kirklees Council, Shabir Pandor, issued a sharply worded statement to the government over the prospect of looming Tier 3 restrictions.
He warned the government to understand the public mood and be mindful of the ongoing impact.
Rather than the current piecemeal approach, he has called for a national approach to a national problem and to give local authorities the support required to tackle health emergency situations.
In his statement, he said: “The Government announced that West Yorkshire should be in Tier 2 on Monday. Just a couple of days later, they’re now talking about Tier 3.
“With all the economic and social upheaval that will cause, it’s no wonder people and businesses in our area are fed-up with the rules chopping and changing all the time.
“The Government needs to understand the public mood and take what they are saying very seriously.”