Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
19 October 2020

Regional lockdowns will have sharp consequences for “medium tier” areas

Most of the UK’s engines of economic growth are now under a form of lockdown. That has implications for everyone.

By Stephen Bush

Greater Manchester is set to be put into tier three, whether after an increase in economic support or against the will of its metro mayor Andy Burnham and the leaders of its local councils, depending on which newspaper you believe. 

The cause of the delay? Rishi Sunak, Andy Burnham tells Ailbhe. Burnham – who, don’t forget, was chief secretary to the Treasury in addition to his roles as culture secretary and health secretary – has said publicly what a growing number of Conservative MPs are saying privately: that the combination of Sunak’s orthodox Treasury view on spending, Matt Hancock’s nervousness on public health and Boris Johnson’s inability to choose between the two approaches means the United Kingdom has the worst of all worlds – lockdowns of varying degrees of severity, but without sufficient economic support. The difference is that, on the whole, Conservative MPs tend to favour the easing of restrictions and with it a reduction in economic support, while Burnham is fine with a lockdown, provided it comes hand in hand with economic support. 

That political choice is going to become starker and more painful in the coming months. Most of the UK’s great cities are now in some form of lockdown, and cities are – still – the engines of economic growth. That people in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff, Swansea and Birmingham are all now either strongly encouraged or actively prohibited from leaving their areas will have sharp consequences for regions that are classed as being “medium” risk: who, as it stands, will have little in the way of meaningful economic support, even though their major markets have largely been shut off to them.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
A global hub for content producers, gaming and entertainment companies in Abu Dhabi
Insurance: finding sustainable growth in stormy markets
Why public health policy needs to refocus