Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 17 December 2020
IT HAS been confirmed that Hinckley, Bosworth, and the surrounding areas in Leicestershire will not drop down a tier this Christmas and shall remain in Tier 3.
In the coronavirus briefing which was held at 11.30am this morning (17 December), The Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, explained that Leicestershire was looked at ‘in great detail’ when looking at which areas would move tiers, however ‘the data didn’t support the conclusion’ for the city of Leicester or parts of the county in Leicestershire to come out of Tier 3.
Hancock further explained that he ‘wished some parts of the county and the city of Leicester could have been taken out of Tier 3’ and he is ‘grateful to everybody across Leicestershire’ as it has been ‘a long hard slog’ there with the measures that have been in place for a long time.
Leicester was discussed after Hancock answered a question from the Member of Parliament for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, Neil O’Brien (CON), who asked him if the local Districts and Boroughs in Leicestershire would be put into different tiers if the data supported it.
No new rules will be put in place as Hinckley and Bosworth residents will continue to follow the existing rules put in place.
Hinckley’s neighbouring market town of Nuneaton will continue to remain in Tier 3, as will two areas near Nuneaton – Coventry and Warwickshire.
Interestingly, Herefordshire is the only area which will drop down a tier from Tier 2 to Tier 1 on Saturday 19 December at 12.01am, and Bristol and North Somerset will drop down to Tier 2 from Tier 3.
Secretary of State’s full statement
Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, said: “We’ve looked at Leicestershire in great detail and I wish that we could have taken some parts of the county out [of Tier 3], and I would have wished we could have taken the county and the city out of Tier 3.
“Unfortunately, the data didn’t support that conclusion and I’m grateful to everybody across Leicestershire as I know this has been ‘a long hard slog’ in Leicestershire with measures that have been in place for a long time.”
Council Leader Bray comments
Stuart Bray, Council Leader for Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council believes that staying in tier three is ‘bitterly disappointing news’.
Bray explained further. He said: “This is bitterly disappointing news, especially after learning last week that the Government agreed to assess the Leicester and Leicestershire areas separately on their own merits as we had urged them to do.
“I remain gravely concerned about the impact of this extended closure on local businesses and on jobs.
“Those businesses urgently require more financial support from the government if they are to survive.”
He continued: “While we all agree that we need to do everything we can to avoid overwhelming the NHS and see infection rates kept under control, the people of Hinckley and Bosworth have really stepped up and already done everything asked of them and yet still this is not enough.
“Infection rates in the Hinckley and Bosworth area are now consistently among the lowest in Leicestershire.
“I will continue to push for a review at the earliest possible opportunity and trust that the review in the New Year will see further progress to allow for a move down the tier system.”
Hinckley and Bosworth MP comments
Dr. Luke Evans (CON), Member of Parliament for Bosworth, has been pleased with the Government de-coupling Leicestershire from Leicester.
Luke has said that whilst he is ‘unambiguous in saying that at this point in time it is the right decision’, and that he is unhappy with Council Leader Bray who is considering legally challenging the tier that they have been placed in with Government Ministers.
Bosworth Member of Parliament, Dr. Luke Evans, said: “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.
“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.”