COUNCIL officials have called on the Government to introduce greater lockdown restrictions in the North-East.

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes said Newcastle City Council, Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, North Tyneside Council, Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside Council and the North of Tyne Combined Authority had all signed a letter to the Government requesting measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Six parts of the North-East are on the Government's official watch list due to a rise COVID-19 cases - although Northumberland is not one of them.

Exact details of what those measures will be have not yet been confirmed – but they are set to include restrictions on the opening hours and operations of pubs, bars and restaurants.

Residents could also be told not to meet up with people from other households – a stricter position than the government’s new ‘rule of six’ announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week.

Coun Forbes added that it “beggars belief” that he heard reports of house parties being held in the North East over the weekend given the spike in cases.

Coun. Steven Bridgett, who represents Elsdon, called for more funding for the area to deal with further lockdown.

He said: “I agree that tougher local lockdown measures may potentially be required.

"But granting new powers to local councils without giving them the proper funding required to implement and oversee said measures is like giving someone a butter knife to chop down a tree.

“If the Government intends to impose more local lockdowns, the £333 a week it intends to give the vast majority of local businesses in my area, in the form of a grant, is going to result in many of the local businesses in my area actually going out of business."