Council denies MP's claim that they asked to be placed in Tier Two


According to Tatton MP Esther McVey Cheshire East Council asked the government to be placed in the high risk category, known as Tier Two, resulting in extra lockdown measures for local residents. However, the Council has flatly denied this.

Responding to my direct question, a spokesperson for Cheshire East said "CEC did not ask to be put into Tier Two".

Ms McVey told ''Cheshire East and Cheshire West Councils asked central government to be placed in lockdown tier 2 even though areas like Manchester which has been in lockdown since July 30th has seen their infection rates rise exponentially.

She added "Rather than destroy livelihoods on the back of a lockdown which isn't showing a reduction of infection rates it would be far better if clear, consistent guidance was given, such as observe social distancing rules, wear a mask and wash your hands, as well as provide information to who is most at risk, like the over 70s, those from the BME community and those with underlying healthy conditions so we can all take precautions and be alert to the dangers in order to protect ourselves and others."

Ms McVey continued "The action of the Labour run councils will destroy jobs and businesses in our area - with all the physical and mental health implications that flow from that - people should be under no illusion about that.''

Esther McVey


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Mark Russell
Wednesday 14th October 2020 at 4:19 pm
Diane Walker
Wednesday 14th October 2020 at 9:41 pm
I totally agree Mark! I can fully imagine CEC asking to be put into tier 2 after reading their comments earlier about taking further measures. We need to sack the lot of them and pick a new CEC!
Sue Helliwell
Thursday 15th October 2020 at 7:54 am
Well Cheshire East Council did ask for something, a nine page document was agreed across all three Local Authorities and co signed by the leader of Cheshire East Council.This document was then sent to Central Government on October 5th.
Kathryn Blackburn
Thursday 15th October 2020 at 8:06 am
We already tried that. Is it the councillors then or is it actually the civil servants that hold the power within the council, employed at vast cost to the tax payer, who are responsible for our dilemma ?
Robert Taylor
Friday 16th October 2020 at 5:58 am
The comments by McVey on labour run councils is uncalled for - where is the evidence for this other than value-judgement.

Onto the article; IIRC CEC stated in a public notice a week or so ago that they didn't want increased local restrictions but called on the population to be more responsible and act as if there were further restrictions in place to avoid further measures. I guess relying on the general public or even central gvernment to help wasn't working. (See BBC news article 6-10-20 and news 5-10-20)

@Katheryn Blackburn - Ultimately the (paid) councillors who were voted for by the public to represent the public interest so if there are any problems it is because of the candidates voted forward by (you/us) the electorate. Major decisions are made by councillors advised by officers. However the civil servants do the work and usually have remit for day to day running of the council and for some decisions if they have 'delegated authority'. Also you will find that over the last 40 years staff in government has shrunk because of Tory cost-cutting (not fully rectified by uncle Tony) so all those 'employed at vast cost to the tax payer' tend to be too few to run effective services which are usually cash-starved towards very basic/essential/statutory functions.
Kathryn Blackburn
Friday 16th October 2020 at 8:15 am
As you say Robert it is the Executive that run the 'day to day' and if you take a look at the CEC accounts at vast expense. Staff at councils have been co-opted into council run companies a practice that should never have been sanctioned by government. Take a look at the Pensions provisions whilst you are at it then next April put you hand in your pocket for yet more increases in council tax to pay for it.
Gemma Evans
Tuesday 20th October 2020 at 10:39 am
Cheshire East could not have asked to be put in 'level 2' because at the time they wrote to the government, the 3 tier system had not yet been announced by the government.

It's also worth remembering that Labour do not have control of Cheshire East council. The council is under no overall control and has a scrutiny committee led by the local Conservatives. Therefore, if a bad decision is made then Labour, the Conservatives and the Independents all have to accept responsibility for it.
Mark Russell
Tuesday 20th October 2020 at 3:12 pm
Today i have received an answer to my FOI request. My request was very simple:- "Please can you supply me with the covid compliance rates in Cheshire East?" I have received this very simple answer:- "The information is not held"

So we have all these local councillors sitting in their nice office's over in Sandbach, making very serious decisions on local people, and they dont even know if the current rules are being followed or not!! Added to the fact that every single press release these guys put out, always thank the population for compiling. How can they say this when there is no data?

How can they be making decisions that are finishing off local businesses,
keeping families apart and in general just whimsical while all the time not having a clue whether they are working or not???

I find it amazing these people are getting away with it. The data is out there, everyone walks around with a tracker on them now (mobile phone), so is it a case of they dont care, or just dont understand and are on a power trip? They were failing over themselves a couple of weeks ago to get us into the highest tier (in order to get more cash) then had the front to say they blamed central government for the extra restrictions!!

People are starting to get very sick of being treated like children, with made up "stats" and bull.

Please can someone from Cheshire East explain how decision's are come to with no data on how well people are behaving currently?
Gemma Evans
Wednesday 21st October 2020 at 7:53 am
Mark Russell - What do you actually mean by 'COVID compliance rate'? Do you mean the number of incidents the police have dealt with like breaking up a large gathering or do you mean you want to know every incident of where someone hasn't worn a mask (when they should), hasn't kept 2m from other people etc.? Surely if it's the latter you know that information isn't going to be available because we don't have CCTV operators watching every aspect of our daily lives.
John Duckworth
Wednesday 21st October 2020 at 4:29 pm
I agree with our MP

She is correct in saying that we have a Labour Run Council in East Cheshire. I recall that labour and the "independent group" wanted to replace the Conservative-run council. they succeeded because they did a better campaign than the Conservative party. We have images of the Labour leader and his independent deputy leader on newsletters posted, from Cheshire East.

I am sure that when requested to vote at the last local elections lots of voters thought they were voting for a truly independent candidate rather than a candidate who was part of the Independent Group and not for a Labour-run council.

I initially had involvement in that I was willing to help or stand as an independent - but not as part of the "Independent (Party) group" and withdrew my interest

Other than Alderley Road we still have major parking problems in Wilmslow, has the independent group fulfilled all their pre-election promises? Parking was possibly the main local issue in Wilmslow.

Back to COVID 19 just follow the guidelines -
Gemma Evans
Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 9:50 am
John Duckworth - As I mentioned in my earlier post the Conservatives currently run one of the committees on the council, as the result of the council being under 'no overall control.' Most independents and the Lib Dems backed the Labour motion to phase out the controversial cabinet system, which the Conservatives had introduced in Cheshire East and which under the Conservatives was directly responsible for implementing cuts to funding for road repairs and bus subsides, despite those policies not having the backing of at least half the councilors. However, as Labour didn't have a majority there was a desire among independents for a Conservative led scrutiny committee and that is what the council now has.

I'd suggest most people who voted independent wanted to end the chaos and corruption that we saw over the 10 years which the Conservatives had complete control of the council and they knew in voting independent we were likely to have a council under 'no over control' opposed to a council where one party has a majority. As we know from the 2010 General Election if no party has a majority then it usually means some form of coalition agreement or some form of confidence & supply arrangement. Unlike the Lib Dems at the 2010 General Election, the Cheshire East Independent Group did not agree to support another party for an entire term, only until the cabinet system can be replaced by an efficient alternative, after which the Conservatives will regain more power within the council.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 10:21 am
Well said Gemma; absolutely spot-on.
Kathryn Blackburn
Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 11:14 am
FGS how can you believe that these local representatives with little background in economics or planning do more than follow the lead of the council department executive.
And the Government Tier policy was thought out long before it was implemented so McVey was most likely correct in that the begging bowl went out in advance of it going public.
Mark Russell
Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 3:49 pm
Gemma, I was asking what is the rate of compliance. Pretty simple question as every politician from the prime minister to the local numpties keeping saying compliance is high. Wales now use vehicle registration to stop “out of towners” and fine them if they are not there for a valid reason. That’s one way of measuring compliance. I’m not the one quoting how well everyone is doing. If compliance is so high, why is covid on the up again? The two don’t add up , and nobody can give me any figures. If compliance is so high, then why do we need lockdowns? Surely by these politicians own words, we are behaving as a nation so why use lockdowns and ruin so many businesses??
Kareem Masdoon
Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 6:54 pm
One word "bribes" our government are bribing councils up and down the country with bribes to implement harsh lockdowns . It is no different to the World Bank offering recent "bribes" to various countries on the condition they implement harsh lockdowns
Toni Fox
Thursday 22nd October 2020 at 9:04 pm
Hello All,

In response to previous comments, under the Independent/Labour administration members of the groups applied for positions on the Cabinet, and were appointed, based on their knowledge and experience.

Under the previous Conservative administration members were given Cabinet positions as a 'reward', as an 'inducement', or to fill a vacant position, whether they had any relevant knowledge, experience, and whether they were suitably qualified or not. That may be one of the reasons why Cabinet members roles changed so often under their administration, why there was no consistency in the Leadership, and ultimately why there were so many widely publicised police investigations.

I would like to re-assure everyone that this is a joint administration that respects the views of all elected members and residents, and, that as a cross party Cabinet we work together to achieve the best outcome for all residents living in the Borough with the resources that are available to the Council.

Just to expand on this point for every £1 that the Council receives in Council Tax this is how it is spent (a large proportion of which is a statutory requirement legislated by Government):

Social care services 68p
Waste management and street cleaning 13p
Education support like home to school transport 8p
Highways and public transport 5p
Museums, parks, libraries 3p
Homelessness and planning 2p
Licensing, elections, trading standards 1p

It is also worth adding that between 2013/14 and 2019/20, central government grants to Cheshire East Council fell from £55.9 million to £0.

If you would like more information on the Council's finances, and the aims of the joint administration, I would suggest that it would be helpful to start by reading the new draft Corporate Plan. The Corporate Plan is the only document which covers the full range of the council's responsibilities and is an important tool to help focus the Councils efforts, and resources, in the right areas. The proposals are currently out for public consultation (closing date 27th November) and feedback is very welcome as it will help the Council to reflect the views and aspirations of our residents.

Finally, as has already been stated, I will repeat and reaffirm, the Council did not ask to be put in Tier 2.

Councillor Toni Fox
Cabinet member for Planning
Independent - Residents of Wilmslow
Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow
Mark Russell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 9:47 am
Toni, there are numerous articles on this very web site where the big wigs are pictured in front of the council building asking the government for more restrictions. They didn’t ask for tier 2 as it didn’t exist then. But they were asking for harsher lockdowns. Let’s not play on words, it’s gone way past that now. We need to stop the trashing of jobs and live with the virus instead of it controlling us.
Gemma Evans
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 9:52 am
Mark Russell - As I'm sure you're aware the use of face coverings in shops is mandatory but not for young children or those with medical conditions. I'm sure you're also aware it's not a requirement for those with medical conditions to get an exemption certificate from their doctor or for parents to carry a document proving the age of their children. I'm sure you've also seen that most people are wearing face coverings in shops, so we can easily say the majority of people are complying but we can't say how many people aren't complying unless everyone not wearing one is questioned and shop workers report the numbers to the government.

As to why COVID cases are rising, how do you know level 1 restrictions prevent the spread opposed to just slowing down the spread? Our government recommends social distancing of 2m, yet in Germany and Greece, where the infection has been spreading more slowly they only recommend keeping a 1.5m distance. However, unlike us they are stricter on mask rules - a scarf tied around your face is not enough and the mask must also be worn in busy outside areas, so using their rules wearing a mask in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester would be mandatory, not just if you're just about to board a bus there. Also other countries don't have a full exemption for those with medical conditions, those with medical conditions are required to wear a face shield instead or even to stay at home.

One reason for COVID spreading is schools and universities reopened. The latter being especially relevant because it involves people mixing from different parts of the country and even under normal circumstances when students move in to halls of residence in September a lot of viruses get spread, hence the term 'freshers flu.'
Kathryn Blackburn
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 10:44 am
Tell us then what experience you held Toni that led to your appointment
to the Planning portfolio ?
Mark Russell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 11:50 am
Gemma. Not sure what’s got your cage rattled? I want to know the compliance rate for people who should be self isolating after all they are the carriers not aunty Jean doing her shopping in Tesco with a mask on.
Gemma Evans
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 1:04 pm
Mark Russell - So it's taken you five posts to explain that you don't really mean you want to know how many people have breached all COVID-19 related laws and that you are only interested in knowing how many people have gone out (and being caught) after being told to self-isolate. I wonder if you even managed to explain that properly to Cheshire East council, given it's taken you 5 attempts on here. If you re-read what you wrote earlier and don't presume other people know what you were thinking, you implied very strongly that the government should be monitoring each and everyone of us so that they can provide stats on COVID compliance.

Also not sure why you're uninterested in mask wearing in supermarkets (if you're so interested in COVID compliance), it might be Aunty Jean, who forgets her mask and still goes shopping in Tesco today, was having coffee with her friend Joan (in her social bubble) three days ago and tomorrow she'll get a phone call from Joan to say she's got COVID symptoms. As you should know COVID symptoms can take up to 14 days to display and some people with COVID show no obvious symptoms, which is why face coverings and social distancing are just as important as self-isolation.
Toni Fox
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 4:00 pm
Sorry Kathryn, I am not minded to share my CV in such a public forum. If you have been following this site, reading the local paper, or taken an interest in the Local Plan and local politics over the 8 years or so there is plenty that is in the public domain.
Mark Russell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 5:12 pm
Gemma, read what I wrote. It’s people like you that is winding up the issue. I never mentioned fines and I couldn’t care less. I’ll make it simple...... if the council don’t know the compliance rate of people being told to isolate, then how can they plan for anything else???
Kathryn Blackburn
Saturday 24th October 2020 at 12:04 pm
Yes indeed hence my comment. The Executive guide the council not the other way round.