It is a pleasure to follow Andrea Jenkyns. She makes a valid point that this is a public health crisis.
Over a week ago, my constituency of Hartlepool was placed under lockdown. It is currently in tier 2 of the new measures. Yes, it was requested by the local authority that such action be taken, but not in the guise in which it formed itself in the current measures. Lockdown was imposed on Hartlepool via a Government press release. Yesterday morning at 9 am, there was a hastily arranged conference call, hosted by a Minister, with all north-east leaders, yet Hartlepool, together with other authorities in the Tees valley, was left off the phone call. On behalf of my council, I would like the Minister to answer why they were not included in a phone call on the new measures in the north-east of England. If that was a mistake, has it been rectified or when will it be rectified? Consultation with my local authority has so far been woeful.
Turning to the public health issues, now that the whole of the Tees valley is under tier 2 we can hopefully work together and set party politics aside for the public good. Collectively, our local authorities face important challenges and they deserve to have appropriate resources allocated to them. In my council, it is estimated that £4.5 million is needed to provide extra support during lockdown. We desperately need to see a strategy developed by the Government for ending lockdown. Test and trace needs to be devolved, so that local environmental health teams, who know the patch and have the knowledge, can provide a more effective service. We need much more to assist us to get through tier 2. It is a public health crisis. I urge the Government to improve their communications and to answer the question I put earlier.