Huntingdon MP urges Matt Hancock to move district into Tier One
- Credit: Archant
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly has written to health and social care secretary Matt Hancock to urge him to reconsider the tier system to better reflect the situation in the district.
Mr Djanogly says Huntingdonshire has consistently maintained one of the lowest levels of infection in the country and yet finds itself in a higher tier than it was in before the second national lockdown. He has also raised concerns about businesses in the area, many of whom, he says, are unlikely to survive for much longer under Tier Two restrictions.
Cases continue to remain low with just 45 per 100,000 of the population as of December 11 but the tier system for Huntingdonshire reflects higher numbers in the urban parts of the wider county.
In his letter, Mr Djanogly said: “Dealing with Covid-19 has shown that in many cases local solutions to the crisis can offer much
better outcomes at considerably lower cost than national programmes. What the ‘lockdown tiers’ debate of the last couple of weeks has shown is that the public instinctively recognise that ‘localness’ should be grounded on a human scale that residents recognise
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and relate to. A scale with sufficient granularity to ensure that business can respond to local circumstances and be free to rebuild our economy. A scale where one family’s sacrifice can be seen to contribute to a local solution.”
Mr Djanogly believes that district councils should become the default geography for emerging from tier-based restrictions, particularly in Huntingdonshire which is almost entirely served by one A&E hospital.
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He added: “These restrictions have extraordinary costs, especially for the hospitality industry, and I do not think it is feasible for us to live with such restrictions for months to come. There is no doubt that Covid is a deadly disease to many and it is vital that we control its spread effectively. But I believe we must give equal regard to other lethal killers like cancer, dementia and heart disease, to people’s mental health, and all the health implications of poverty and falling GDP. Implications that I am growing increasingly concerned about.
“I continue to hear from many local businesses who say that they are unlikely to survive the
continuation of Tier Two restrictions for very much longer. I also hear from constituents on a daily basis who describe to me the horrendous impact that ongoing restrictions are having on them and their families. Huntingdonshire currently has one of the lowest rates of coronavirus cases in the entire country, and with Hinchingbrooke Hospital seeing only a handful of Covid related cases at any one time it is hard to justify these greater restrictions being imposed on us. The approach of tying Huntingdonshire’s tier status to other distant parts of the county fails to recognise the hard work and diligence of my constituents who have been doing everything they can to help successfully reduce transmission rates.
I would welcome your support for decoupling Huntingdonshire from the urban areas of the wider county when making a decision on our tier status, and I would encourage you to consider moving Huntingdonshire from Tier Two to Tier One at the earliest opportunity.”