“Treating held-back communities in northern England as 2nd-class citizens” – new report accuses Tories of bias in putting London in Tier 2

“Not only did he fail, but he repeated that discrimination”

A hard-hitting report by the No Holding Back group of northern working-class figures accused Boris Johnson’s government of repeated contempt for struggling northern communities.

The report, released this morning, begins:

Boris Johnson has treated held back communities in northern England as second-class citizens. His decision to keep tough restrictions for the north for longer while neglecting to place London in tier three shows that he has no regard for the difficulties faced by our constituents. Placing London in tier two will ultimately cost unnecessary lives and prolong this second wave. With tier restrictions commencing on 3rd December, Boris Johnson had a chance to show he had learned from his blatant discrimination in trying to foist 67% furlough on Northern England while pivoting to 80% furlough when the lockdown was extended to the South of England. Not only did he fail, but he repeated that discrimination, again leaving us in no doubt of his disregard for held back communities. Like ours.

The report, published by MPs Ian Lavery and Jon Trickett and former MP Laura Smith, analyses the government’s methodology for deciding tiers – and the government’s decision to ignore high and rising infection rates in the south and falling infection rates in the north to impose higher tiers in hard-hit working-class communities. It also exposes the Tories’ decision to provide inadequate testing in London to hide the high levels of infection:

This decision, after the 2nd of December, to place London in tier two, whilst placing areas like Manchester, Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East of England in tier three is flawed. Infections in London are on the rise, especially among those aged sixty and over, the infection positivity rate is rising, as is the level of CV19 hospitalisations. Coronavirus is growing in London, and despite the much lower levels of testing in the capital city, it is recording 16,000 infections a week.

• London’s infection rate is rising.
• Much of northern England’s infection rate is falling.
• The spike of London’s hospitalisations shows no evidence it is crushing the curve, in fact all evidence is that it continues to grow.
• That infection levels in southern England more generally are on the rise, especially the South East of England whose authorities now occupy many of the top forty most infected places.
• That London has the lowest testing level of any region in England and if its testing levels matched Yorkshire or the North East that it would show London as having the greatest number of infections of any region over the last week
• Areas in London such as Havering & Redbridge have higher infection levels than Wakefield which is in tier three
• Areas in London such as Bexley, Dagenham, Hackney, Havering & Redbridge have infection levels higher than Northumberland which has been placed in tier three
• ONS show CV19 mortality impacts poor communities & Black and Asian communities worse. Thus, the decision to keep London out of tier three will cause many unnecessary deaths in London.
• Lives of poorer communities in London and ethnic minorities are being placed second in consideration to the financial capital, The City of London.

The report goes on to highlight the obvious bias in the Tories’ decision-making and the racism and class bias inherent in its choices – and calls for the government to protect the health and wealth of the nation:

London’s infection levels are climbing, especially among its over 60s. It’s hospital levels from CV19 patients is also on the rise. Despite low testing, its week on week levels show a marked increase in infection levels. We have shown that parts of London have worse infection levels than some held back communities who have been placed in a higher tier level. Given the worse health outcomes for more deprived communities, especially ethnic minorities, it is clear the government is putting the perceived wealth of the nation against the health of its citizens. This is a false choice. Health is wealth. The best thing the government can do for the economy is have blanket tier four restrictions for the entire country until the curve has been crushed.

The manner in which the government implemented its furlough system also provided a clue into its disregard for the North of England. 67% furlough for northerners, jumping to 80% when Londoners were included was blatant discrimination for all to see. We think that same bias is influencing the decision to keep London on lower restriction levels. This is a decision that will cost lives, especially those in London already suffering from structural racism and poverty.

Held back communities will have watched the government’s decision making. They will have seen the double standards in the implementation of restrictions and it the awarding of furlough payments. The promises to level up the north were quickly set to the side when the first hurdles arose. This government has shown it cannot be trusted to act in the interests of the northern working class communities.

Read the full report here.

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  1. Speaking as a proud Northerner, Id regard any Northerners who haven’t figured out the tory bias towards the South yet as a bit on the slow side

    1. They are biased towards the rich in the South and London, evidently according to this, working class Londoners are dispensable, pack em like sardines into the tube trains and buses every day, get them back out to work to keep the (their) economy going.

    2. Diogenes, Blair’s ” ‘Nu’ Labour” is a symptom and cause of the dire political state. CRUCIAL, indeed ACUTE reality is this. By ordering our troops to slaughter MILLIONS abroad, due to its talent for limitless dishonesty, Blair created a lasting LEGACY of destruction, bloodshed, grief for millions of people, millions more refugees fleeing the wrecked, unstable countries, and a CHRONIC distrust of its EHRC outfit, MPs, the MSM – especially the BBC, Church of England priests and vicars who blessed Blair’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and Death, before smashing open the hornets nest of more rampant terrorism.
      BUT -Blair’s sharply felt bleeding LEGACY of HORRORS should have immunised us against being “duped” and “tricked” by that lot… No?
      Will we accept reality ?
      REALITY – Hypocrites crawling along Blair’s trail to the trough, work against us for the 1% DELIBERATELY. Starmer, Evans, Twatson, Campbellend’s Lammy, David Miliband Rayner that lot are all realise that Blair’s horrific deadly legacy is lucrative hence the creatures devotees. They desperately worship and LONG to be more enmeshed in the 1% banditry.
      That’s why tonight, frauds and saboteurs will ABSTAIN from responsibility. They follow the faecal sent of money smeared along Blair’s trail. They focus on how to grab what they crave. That involves pretending to support X, or campaign against Y. As soon as the gullible support them to office, the frauds pursue their self-serving obsessions – money from dodgy agents of foreign states and oligarchs.
      When last did you hear Harriet Harman go on about caring for women? ? ? Yes of course, when she last tried to deceive during leadership elections and when “Government of National Unity” was being pushed in an attempt to sideline Jeremy.
      They deceive. Always have. Always still. Always will. That is all 🛑🛑🛑

  2. The problem is that viruses don’t obey postcodes. Even in areas in Tier 3 there are communities with infection rates well below the threshold who are blaming other nearby communities for somehow “spreading” the outbreak. The same goes for tier 2 areas – whole counties with big urban / rural splits. The only sensible approach is a ‘whole country’ approach as New Zealand – and to a degree – Sweden showed

  3. This was confirmed by Gove this morning (Tuesday) on Radio 4s the Today programme. Gove claims that heargued for London to be put in Tier 3, but that his arguments were overruled by Johnson and Co.

  4. The sooner we realise, Cummings’ Johnson & chums have ZERO care about lives, the better. Tory chumocracy priority is – exploit ANY situation, no matter how tragic, to stuff the pockets of the 1%.
    Dido Harding, Kate Bingham, Soames, the suddenly £20 million richer jewellery designer PPE middle man, are tips of their stinking sewage-berg.
    Their 1% clique are heartless and shameless. It is our fatal error to assume Tories including Starmer, Lammy, Rayner, Twatsom, McNicol, Evans & Co are incompetent or stupid. They’re not. Their priorities and values are polar opposites to ours. Hence their Covid-19 charade is illogical to us, but logical to them.
    PLUNDER our country for all they can get.
    That is all🔴

  5. Getting Brexit done ……….yessss…. just get it done … voted for that , voted for the liar in chief ,,,,, getting Brexshit done
    well done the Britshit electorate you voted soooo well didn’t you … 72K unnecessarily dead just remember that ,,, and that goes for the little helpers in the PLP that enabled all that ..

    1. Rob, you are going to upset those on the naive left who believe it is a tenet of the left to hold pro Brexit views. They helped to support a right wing inspired scheme to turn our backs on our EU comrades and the world’s largest market, right on our doorstep, without thinking through the consequences to those who will least be able to withstand them. I’m fed up hearing some on the left say ‘I’m a Bennite therefore I support Brexit’ without having a clue about how the EU functions and the benefits we obtained by being part of it.

      Anyone who starts talking about markets and trade, upon which the livelyhoods of all of us depend, is accused by some on the left of supporting neoliberalism. They need to get real and accept that Socialism includes having business and trade run so that it is not exploitative or predatory which is what is bound to happen now that we will be grasping for trade deals at almost any cost.

      The tragedy is that all of this could have been avoided and the billions already lost through the process of leaving the EU could have been saved. When we get a deal, if we do, how many will be saying when the deal is examined, what the heck have we got, we may well have just Remained.

      1. You are displaying logic and demonstrating an understanding of the subject. You are not going to be popular on this page! Can’t you rewrite this blaming the CIA, Tony Blair and bring Palestine into it?

      2. Plain Citizen, I made my comment from a firm, enlightened left point of view in a way which I agree is not often seen on this blog. I have already mentioned on many occasions my full support for the Palestinian cause and my opposition to Zionism, Blair, Starmer and all right wing policies.

  6. Off topic, but this from the Guardian today – A board member of the government’s equality watchdog has ‘liked’ or retweeted social media posts criticising Black Lives Matters protesters and describing the words misogynist and homophobe as “highly ideological propaganda terms” in the latest controversy to beset the EHRC, the Guardian can reveal.
    Alasdair Henderson, who led the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into Labour party antisemitism this year, also liked a tweet decrying “offence-taking zealots” who accused Roger Scruton of antisemitism, Islamophobia and homophobia, and one by Douglas Murray, who once called for Muslim immigration to Europe to be banned……….

    1. Strange how the Guardian must always attack Jordan Petersen but not the political appointee commissioners of EHRC. Who are these powerful individuals; which organisations employ them & whose interests do they represent? Perhaps an investigation into Adam Wagner would be pertinent? Working at Doughty Street Chambers, he is a contributor to the Guardian, Wagner also represents the ‘Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’, but sits as an independent panelist on EHRC So much for investigative journalism & freedom of speech…

  7. No one likes ‘offence-taking zealots’. What we need is courteous and rational debate that pays attention to facts not rumour and innuendo, committed to making a better society irrespective of race, creed, appearance or sexual identity or orientation

  8. I was once described @ a meeting by Jack Straw as “that troublesome Scouser from Bristol”…….still one of my proudest moments.

    I have spent the past 45 years living on Merseyside, but still have strong family connections with the South West of England aka ‘The land that time forgot’. I understand that there is a ‘Northern Poorhouse’ & that all roads lead to London. BoJo is operating a classic divide & rule…us & them. The City of London attracts the investment that will go nowhere else.

    The Labour Party cannot be absolved from this criticism as even Jeremy was part of the Islington elite. There is no Labour Party in Scotland nor Ireland & the Labour Powerhouse in Wales has all but disappeared. It seems that Nationalism will destroy Britain in more ways than one.

    The spectre of devolved Nationalist gov’ts is Blair’s vision, but inevitable as London & the ‘Home Counties’ dominate the economy; politics & British culture. The post war Labour gov’t recognised this & a social revolution followed with the birth of the NHS & the emergence of working class culture in film & literature ‘the Angry Young Man & Gritty Northern Realism’.

    The various regions of Britain are artificially divided as 4 nations, but as I am half Irish; half welsh & half English I have difficulty with a call for independence as a nation. The people of Tyneside are as different as those living in Cornwall, who can claim to be as celtic as the Irish, Scots or Welsh. Nationalism starts wars & division. Real Regional gov’t may unite the 4 corners of Britain as representative accountable democracy may bring greater economic equality.

    It is so sad that the only thing that unites the poor people of Britain isn’t Socialism, but a hatred of Tories & the economically privileged South East.

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