TAMESIDE’S three MPs have raised issues and are demanding answers from the Government after the borough was placed in Tier 3 with the most stringent lockdown restrictions.
Jonathan Reynolds, who represents Stalybridge and Hyde, said: “While Greater Manchester’s infection rates and hospital pressures remain high, they have come down rapidly in recent weeks, and it is not wholly clear why Liverpool has been offered a reprieve to Tier 2 and we have not.
“Alongside other Greater Manchester MPs, I am meeting with one of the health ministers this afternoon. I want to know what the criteria has been for these decisions, how areas exit the tiers once in them, and the rationale behind the funding settlement as it looks a lot like the Government has short-changed the North once more.
“I hope that my suspicions that which tier your area is in depends whether you are on No 10’s naughty or nice lists prove unfounded.”
Andrew Gwynne, whose constituency is Denton and Reddish, said: “Ministers forget that we have been in local restrictions continuously since the end of July. Most people have done the right thing and that has helped to drive our transmission rates down.
“They will continue to fall through their continued efforts. We have to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from getting a deadly grip and we have to remain vigilant at all times.
“But I will never understand the logic of a tiering system that says it’s ok for many thousands to cram into a busy shopping centre in the run-up to Christmas, but small numbers from the same household are unable to sit responsibly at a table for a meal and a drink in a bar or restaurant.
“This will be a heavy blow for the hospitality businesses across Denton and Reddish who have invested heavily in Covid-secure measures to allow them to reopen safely.
“I will look very carefully at the measures to be brought before Parliament. I support the new tougher enforcement powers to ensure business compliance with Covid regulations, but I don’t support the arbitrary singling out of the hospitality sector, which all the data shows is responsible for around just three per cent of transmissions. As such, I am minded to oppose Greater Manchester being put into Tier 3.
“What we need is to protect the most vulnerable, and roll-out proper localised testing and contact tracing. In the meantime, we must all continue to follow public health advice – hands, face, space. Let’s defeat coronavirus together.”
Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton, said: “My constituents have been living under increased restrictions since July so the news that we will leave national lockdown on December 2 to enter Tier 3 has obviously caused upset and concern for many people and businesses.
“We urgently need answers to the following questions. Why is no support being provided to people and businesses? How are they supposed to survive? And how do we exit Tier 3?
“It’s important to remember that the Tier announcements weren’t preceded with negotiation with local areas about support for people and businesses, it was just imposed.
“The online postcode checker crashed as the Government announced which areas are in which Tiers which just about sums up the whole shambolic handling of the Tiers system right from the start.
“The Test and Trace budget is now £22billion – more than the police and fire service combined. The Government is throwing good money after bad.
“To get out of Tier 3 lockdowns we need local councils running Test and Trace, not Serco. Local councils reach 97 per cent of contacts compared to 60 per cent for call centres.”