A TYNE Valley mother of three is calling on Government to allow informal childcare arrangements to continue during the North-East's local lockdown.

Karen McArthur, of Stocksfield, said that the new measures, which ban people from meeting with others outside of their household/bubbles, were affecting her and most other parents she knew, who rely on family, particularly grandparents, for help with childcare.

The petition, which was started just three days ago, has already amassed 5,000 signatures.

Karen said: "I appreciate that numbers of Covid cases in the North-East are rising (with considerably fewer cases reported in Northumberland) and action must be taken to contain the spread of the virus.

"There will be a significant number of working parents who will be greatly disadvantaged by the specifications outlined in the enhanced 'lockdown' measures.

"Under the rules, children (who are isolated in bubbles within school) are able to attend after-school clubs and childminders, where they are free to mix with children from outside of their school 'bubble'.

"They are unable to be collected from school by a grandparent and looked after in their own home, which would carry a much lower risk of spreading the virus.

"Studies have shown children do spread the virus and may be 'super-spreaders'.

"In addition to the reduction in opportunities for transmission, allowing grandparents to continue with a care giving role is imperative for some low-income families.

"The prohibitive cost of childcare means that those parents in low paid roles simply can't afford to work without the aid of their families."

Leaders across the North-East confirmed on Friday they had written to the Government to amend the new, local Covid-19 restriction measures to allow families to continue their usual childcare arrangements.

The region's seven local authorities came together to request stricter measures across the North-East in response to rapidly rising infection rates.

In their request to the Department of Health and Social Care, the leaders of Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham asked that people be able to enter other households for the purposes of childcare while the main carer was at work.

Health secretary Matt Hancock approved a host of new regulations for the region but rejected this request from the North-East local authority leaders.

The petition can be found and signed at www.change.org./LockdownChildcareNorthEast