POLICE, NHS and council chiefs in Lanarkshire have urged the Scottish Government not to impose near-lockdown on the area. 

In a leaked letter, they said they "do not believe the most up-to-date statistics support a move to level four". 

They said current measures appear to be working and moving to level four would have considerable implications, including a potentially "catastrophic" impact on businesses.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the toughest restrictions may have to be imposed on the North and South Lanarkshire council areas when Scotland's five-tier lockdown system comes into force on Monday. 

The leaked letter was signed by Des Murray, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council; Cleland Sneddon, chief executive of South Lanarkshire Council; Heather Knox, chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire; and Alan Waddell, chief superintendent of Police Scotland's Lanarkshire division.

It touched on the five key indicators used to assess coronavirus levels.

These include statistics on the number of cases and forecast hospital demand.

It said there is "good reason to observe and believe" that the current measures are having an impact.

Moving to level four would have "considerable implications for Lanarkshire and beyond", it argued.

The letter added: "It has significant impacts on health and wellbeing, public services, and business and the economy."

It raised concerns businesses "will suffer potentially catastrophic impacts".

The letter concluded: "In summary, while we agree that virus transmission and health analysis is the primary basis on which decisions should be considered, we do not believe the most up-to-date statistics support a move to level four. 

"As we have demonstrated above, there is a decline in the key indicators for Lanarkshire when the most up-to-date data is considered.

"Against that backdrop, and the significant additional harms and consequences we have set out for level four when compared with the other levels, we would urge the Scottish Government to place Lanarkshire in level three of the restrictions and assume that its neighbouring authorities will be in a similar position.

"We agree that, should the indicators increase again, level four would have to be considered. 

"However, we also believe that further clarity on a range of issues about the draft strategy outlined above, particularly for level four, would be required before such a decision was taken."