New tier system: 99% of population of England plunged into harshest Tier 2 and Tier 3

NINETY Nine per cent of England will be plunged into the harshest Tiers 2 and 3 next week, it was revealed today.

Just 700,000 people – or 1.27 per cent of the population – will escape strict rules on socialising and going to the pub when the lockdown ends next Wednesday.

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London and Liverpool - with most of England - will be in Tier 2 next week


London and Liverpool – with most of England – will be in Tier 2 next weekCredit: Reuters
Matt Hancock revealed the Tiers news in the Commons today


Matt Hancock revealed the Tiers news in the Commons today
The Government's postcode checker crashed this morning


The Government’s postcode checker crashed this morning

Just the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in the lowers Tier 1 – who will face very little restrictions.

Some 32 million people in England (just over 56 per cent of the population) will be in Tier 2 – including Liverpool and London.

And nearly 42 per cent (23 million people) will be in the top Tier 3 – featuring large swathes of the North East, North West, parts of the Midlands, and Kent.

But already furious MPs have vowed to vote the new rules down when it comes to the House of Commons next week.

The Government’s postcode checker crashed this morning as thousands of people tried to see what their new tiers would be.

Matt Hancock unveiled the new tiers this morning in the House of Commons – confirming the ‘stay at home’ order will end, and shops, gyms and personal care will reopen from next week.

But Mr Hancock warned: “We cannot simply flick a switch and try to return to life straight back to normal.

“If we did this we would undo the hard work of so many and see the NHS overwhelmed.”

The Rule of Six and 10pm curfew will return across England, too.

The new toughened up lockdown tiers are due to come into effect next Wednesday, when England’s month-long national lockdown ends.

The news comes as:

Liverpool is being hailed as a success story after mass testing by the Army helped bring infection rates down to 162 per 100,000 people from 700 five weeks ago.

It will go down from Tier 3 into Tier 2 and provide a model for others to get out of the top tier too.

Mr Hancock heaped praise on the city, saying they showed “impressive leadership” locally.

He added: “This shows what we can do when we work together.”



Already fuming MPs have insisted they can’t support the measures and blasted them as “authoritianism at work”.

Steve Baker of the Covid Recovery Group said today ministers must publish the impact assessment of the tiers as soon as possible so they can decide whether the system is fair or not.

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He stressed: “I am open to supporting measures where it can clearly be demonstrated that the government intervention will save more lives than it costs – as long as this data and analysis is published in full and in time ahead of any votes in Parliament, so that MPs and the public have a chance to scrutinise it.”

But he blasted the Government’s use of dodgy data with models which “wrong time and time again”.

“How much longer can we go on with this rubbish determining the course of all our lives?” he added.

Richard Drax MP said: “”With only 80 cases for every 100,000 people in South Dorset, I’m astounded that we’ve been put into Tier 2. 

“We were at Tier 1 before, so how can we possibly need even more severe restrictions than before the lockdown?”

Mark Haper raged that the impact assessments wouldn’t be coming until early next week.

He blasted: “Gov must provide this evidence in full and in time.

“Government must already have the information to hand, given they have announced what the restrictions are.

“Why not release the evidence now & give MPs time to assess all the data?”

Damian Green, whose Kent constituency has been slammed into Tier 3, raged: “Before lockdown we were in Tier 1 so what has lockdown achieved? We need the full analysis made public. #RoadToRecovery”.

Tobias Ellwood, whose been plunged into Tier 2 added: “I’m puzzled to see us placed in this tier which will cause further hardship for our hospitality industry.

“I will NOT be supporting the Gov’s motion to introduce this next week.”

William Wragg of Stockport said Stockport’s rates were on the way down.

He said: “We should be considered for tiering on a Local Authority basis. As we have not been, I cannot support these proposals.”


It appears the threshold for an area going into Tier 3 is a combination of a higher pressure on the NHS, alongside a rate of more than 200 cases per 100,000 for the over 60s and overall.

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The Government said Manchester’s rate, although it had improved, was still too high.

Weekly cases for those over 60 are still 260 per 100,000, and there is still pressure on the main city hospitals.

The Mayor Andy Burnham said he was “not surprised” the region would be placed into Tier 3, but said he would be making the “strongest possible arguments” for it to be moved down to Tier 2 in a fortnight if good progress continues.

He added: “What we believe is completely wrong is the Government’s decision to provide no additional business support to areas in Tier 3 than those in Tiers 1 and 2.

“This will cause real hardship for people whose jobs will be affected and risk the loss of many businesses.”

All areas in Tier 3 – including South Yorkshire, the Humber, West Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire – are seeing high pressures on the NHS and rates of over 200 cases per 100,000.

Some of the areas which have been pushed into Tier 3 have seen a sharp increase in cases too.


Ministers tried to reassure concerned MPs last night restrictions could be eased in time for Christmas when tiers are reviewed after two weeks – on December 16.

And they could get another weekly review before Christmas too.

MPs have demanded a cost-benefit analsysis of the Tiers system – and a clear strategy for how to get out of it – but No10 said that won’t be published until next week.

A vote will come to the House of Commons on Tuesday.


The newly tougher Tier 3 means pubs, restaurants and cafes have to shut – along with indoor entertainment.

People can’t mix between households, either.

Areas in Tier 3 will get access to new rapid-result tests for everyone which give tests in under an hour, a strategy which has seen Liverpool’s cases drop drastically.

Tier 2 allows pubs and restaurants to remain open, but they must serve a substantial meal and different households can only mix outside.

The tiers list in full

Tier 1: Medium alert
South East

South West

Tier 2: High alert
North West

  • Cumbria
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Warrington and Cheshire


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West Midlands

  • Worcestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

East Midlands

East of England

  • Suffolk
  • Hertfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
  • Norfolk
  • Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
  • Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes


  • all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East

  • East Sussex
  • West Sussex
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Surrey
  • Reading
  • Wokingham
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • West Berkshire
  • Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire

South West

  • South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Dorset
  • Bournemouth
  • Christchurch
  • Poole
  • Gloucestershire
  • Wiltshire and Swindon
  • Devon

Tier 3: Very High alert
North East

  • Tees Valley Combined Authority:
  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Darlington
  • North East Combined Authority:
  • Sunderland
  • South Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • North Tyneside
  • County Durham
  • Northumberland

North West

  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Blackburn with Darwen

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • The Humber
  • West Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham and Black Country
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire

South East

  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
  • Kent and Medway

South West

  • Bristol
  • South Gloucestershire
  • North Somerset


Mr Johnson has said the allocation is based on “common sense” with a number of metrics used to decide how strongly to restrict areas.

These include case detection rates in the over 60s, the rate at which cases are falling or rising, pressure on the NHS and case detection rates in all age groups.

The number of positive cases found in a percentage of tests taken in certain areas will also come into consideration.

Andy Burnham said he wants to try and get out of Tier 3 as soon as possible
Andy Burnham said he wants to try and get out of Tier 3 as soon as possible
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson on why city should be in Tier 2 of govt’s coronavirus levels

Tories are already rounding on ministers to demand their areas stay out of the top level of restrictions.

They are demanding a cost benefit analysis and reams of data to back up the theory that the stricter rules will help bring down infections.

On Wednesday, the PM promised he would fulfil their wishes and give them information on why the Tiers system was working.

The rules will be relaxed for Christmas – with people in the UK allowed to form a bubble of up to three households.

They won’t have to social distance, and will be able to travel between tiers.

Boris has said the Tier decisions will be based on common sense
Boris has said the Tier decisions will be based on common sense



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