Essex County Council has swiftly moved to deny its calls for the region to be placed in tier two coronavirus restrictions is financially motivated.

The county council confirmed on Tuesday (October 13) that it is requesting for the Secretary of State to move Essex into the new ‘high risk category’ of Covid-19 restrictions.

Accusations were levied at the council on Twitter, with users citing a BBC article which claimed a memo seen by reporters detailed plans for tier two authorities to get extra funding equal £1 per head of population, and £2 per head for tier three.

“Somehow, some people think we’ve done this for money. Let me just assure you we have never had any discussion about money”, said Cllr John Spence, cabinet member for health and adult social care.

“I believe it’s mainly directed for tier three councils anyway and I didn’t even know and still don’t know what sum would be available.”

Cllr Spence added: “We have done this purely because of what we have seen about the rise in cases across Essex and the projected further rises to come.

“We want to prevent further damage to the economy, we want to prevent the hospitals becoming so busy they can’t treat other sufferers, we want to prevent a potential progress to tier three.”

In a tweet posted hours before Cllr Spence spoke on the matter, the county council claimed it will “not receive any extra funding by moving the county into 'high Level' restrictions”.

Currently, Essex falls under the ‘medium’ alert level (tier one) in the Prime Minister’s new three-tier system of local alerts in England, which means it follows national measures including the rule of six and a 10pm curfew.

By being placed in a ‘high’ alert, new restrictions would be imposed including a ban of the mixing of households indoors.

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