COUNTY Hall bosses have responded to claims they are requesting more Covid restrictions for money.

Essex County Council has requested to the government the county be but into tier two of the alert system for England.

This would mean a ban on households mixing indoors.

John Spence, councillor responsible for health and adult social care, has recorded a video message denying the decision has anything to do with getting more government funds.

He said: "Essex County Council has asked the secretary of state to put is in the high risk category for the Covid pandemic.

"This has been done purely because of what we have seen about the rise in cases across Essex and the projected rise in cases to come.

"We want to prevent further damage to the economy, we want to prevent hospitals from becoming so busy they can't treat other sufferers.

"We want to prevent a potential progress to tier three.

"Somehow, some people think we have done this for money. Let me just assure you we have never had any discussion about money, I believe it's mainly directed for tier three councils anyway, and I didn't even know - and I still don't know - what sum would be available.

"We are working for the best interests of the residents of Essex, operating on the expert advice of our excellent director of public health, and that is the pure and sole motivation of our application."

Southend Council has confirmed it will not be asking the government for the borough to be moved up into the high risk category.