One of Preston's top politicians is calling for the city to be placed in a Tier 2 lockdown once national restrictions come to an end in early December, citing the district's 'sustained achievement' in reducing transmission of coronavirus in recent months.

Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, says enough progress has been made in the city for it to avoid the harshest measures in the return of the tiered system of lockdown measures.

With restrictions within each tier strengthened, Councillor Brown says the rates in the city have fallen enough as a result of the original Tier 3 measures imposed on Preston in October - adding that those same measures amount more to the new Tier 2 restrictions than what has been labelled 'Tier 3-plus'.

"As you will be aware," Coun Brown says, "the old Tier 3 restrictions in effect become the new Tier 2 measures. We firmly believe that the revised Tier 3 restrictions are an unnecessary and disproportionate measure to be placed on Preston."

The city council leader has now appealed to Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick and Fylde MP Mark Menzies for their support in positioning the city in the middle tier, saying the city's latest Covid data is "evidence" of the original Tier 3 restrictions working in the city.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the national lockdown for England was ending on December 2, with the tiered lockdown system returning in a strengthened form.

In a letter to the two Lancashire MPs, Councillor Brown has hailed Preston's "sustained achievement in reducing Covid transmission", with an infection rate now down to 294.1 cases per 100,000 people; 10.7% of tests returning a positive result for Covid; and cases among the over 60s down to 174 per 100,000 people.

"This data demonstrates a 37% reduction in daily incidence across a seven day moving average, the largest reduction of any Lancashire authority," Coun Brown writes.

"In light of the data, combined with our demonstrated ongoing commitment to working with local, regional and national partners to support the district and drive rates down, that we strongly appeal for your support in positioning Preston in Tier 2."

Since August 7, Preston has been under local lockdown restrictions in some capacity; something Coun Brown says is evidence that the city has "demonstrated a long-term, coordinated and robust approach to managing the pandemic".

"Working with partners across the Lancashire Resilience Forum, community groups, business and faith groups we have worked tirelessly to support residents, communities and businesses through the significant challenges that the city has faced over recent months," he said.

On Tuesday, Coun Brown told LancsLive that Government must treat local authorities "as equals", with a responsibility to consult with councils "on which measures they fall under".

But Councillor Brown's hopes were dashed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who said negotiations will not take place as they did when initially bringing in Tier 3 measures in October.

Lancashire took more than seven days to come to a financial agreement for its move to the most severe tier, during which its infection rates rose.Speaking to the Health and Social Care Committee in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said infection rates in the likes of Lancashire and Greater Manchester had climbed while negotiations were talking place and that had been "bad for public health".

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Following this, Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver revealed that Lancashire never saw any support money come through after securing a £42million support package.

He said: "Before national lockdown we had long, detailed and constructive negotiations with government to agree a financial package for businesses affected as a result of Lancashire going into what was then tier three. This set the framework for the financial support being offered to other tier three areas and now the whole of England for going into national lockdown.

"However, we did not receive the support for the three-week period before the national lockdown when we were in tier three. I cannot stress enough how vital this funding is for business across the county which is why all of Lancashire's 15 leaders have set aside political differences to make the case to government to provide us with this support.

"It is really disappointing that we haven't had this, not least because Lancashire has been ready, willing and able to work with central government to support our people and businesses throughout this pandemic – and we remain so. I would urge government to pay us the money we are due."