Clearly whilst I am disappointed that following the Government’s review of local tiers Hinckley and Bosworth remains in Tier 3, I want to be unambiguous in saying that at this point in time it is the right decision.
Since the reintroduction of local tiers I have lobbied for the decoupling of Leicester and Leicestershire, I’m very pleased that this has happened. I continue to lobby for a borough based approach. We have done it before, and have the evidence base from the summer to prove that for our area, it can work. But I have also consistently said that Leicestershire, and indeed Hinckley and Bosworth, should only be lowered when the data and threat to hospital pressure is manageable, then it is safe to do so.
Looking at the data first. Whilst Hinckley & Bosworth’s infection rate has lowered significantly since the second national lockdown, I and Public Health officials locally are rightly concerned that this decrease has now begun to plateau and even creep up again in our borough. The evidence is there to see.
Secondly, I am also acutely conscious that University Hospitals of Leicestershire NHS Trust are running to the highest number of Covid-19 admissions experienced throughout the pandemic. A letter was sent to all GP practices in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland warning of the pressure and asking GP’s to consider all options when treating patients and considering hospital admissions.
As we approach Christmas, and the conscious decision to relax restrictions over the holiday period, we must maintain our vigilance and adherence to them in order to prevent transmission.
Let me be very clear. As much as I want to see our hospitality sector reopened doing so at this point in time is the wrong thing to do, but I will continue to speak publicly and write privately to the Chancellor to push for support for our pubs, restaurants, travel, events and weddings industries, and a road map for all those most affected. You can see my speech in Monday's General Covid debate, in which I spoke about support for the sector, here.
I’m disappointed with the Leader of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council who is posturing about a legal case and potentially wasting taxpayers money, risking our public health and putting our NHS under further strain.
The hospitality sector does need Government support, something which I have spoken in Parliament about twice this week. There will come a time when restrictions can be lowered and I hope that it will be soon. But that time is not yet, for now we must continue to work together to defeat this virus.