Earlier on Wednesday a report emerged claiming that several authorities in the North East, including Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside, had lost up to £3 million each in government emergency funding over the covid-19, whilst affluent counties in the South East received substantial increases. This came despite the former areas having been up amongst the worst affected in the country by number of cases per population.

The row has triggered accusations that the Conservative Party is continuing to neglect the North despite making substantial gains in the region, widely considered to be a traditional Labour heartland, last December. Durham County Councillor Susan McDonnell, who represents the North East Party which advocates devolution and a better deal for the region told Sunderland Global Media that the revelation was “another example of the North East being let down by the UK Government.”

“For decades we have played second fiddle to the South and yet nothing changes – regardless of what colour flag is flying above the Houses of Parliament!”. The report and the criticism comes amid growing disapproval of how Boris Johnson’s government have handled the virus, with an escalating scandal over advisor Dominic Cummings violation of lockdown rules. The government and its supporting media have sought to deflect upon its failures by blaming China, despite tallying the 4th highest tally of Covid-19 cases in the world and failing to make adequate preparations.