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Preston and South Ribble leaders react to tier-3 announcement

Posted on - 26th November, 2020 - 3:53pm | Author - | Posted in - Health, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, South Ribble News
Sunset on the River Ribble at Preston Pic: Tony Worrall
Sunset on the River Ribble at Preston Pic: Tony Worrall

It has been announced today (Thursday 26) that Preston and Lancashire has been put back into tier-3 restrictions when lockdown 2 ends next week.

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The announcement has been met negatively by many people across Lancashire, including the leaders of Preston City Council and South Ribble Borough Council.

Councillor Matthew Brown posted an open letter to local MPs earlier this week detailing why he believed Preston should be places in tier-2.

Councillor Matthew Brown
Councillor Matthew Brown

In reaction to being placed in tier-3, the highest restrictions, Cllr Matthew Brown said: “We are disappointed to have been placed in Tier 3 and worry about the continued affect this will have on our residents and struggling businesses, both in the city and across the region.

“Since being placed under enhanced restrictions since 7 August the people of Preston and organisations throughout the city have worked hard and sacrificed much to bring our rate of infection down, leading to significant reduction in recent days.

“It is important that we pull together as a city and keep doing everything we can to drive down the rate of infection so that we are in a stronger position to move to Tier 2 when figures are next reviewed.”

South Ribble Borough Council Pic: Ian Greig
South Ribble Borough Council Pic: Ian Greig

Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I am bitterly disappointed to discover that the whole of Lancashire – 1.5 million people and 75,000 businesses – will be entering Tier 3 following the national lockdown.

“I have just watched the MPs in the House of Commons laugh and joke their way through one of the most important and eagerly anticipated announcements of the year – but let’s be clear, to me, this is no joke.

“To all the business owners out there struggling to survive; to all the pub landlords; to all the restaurants and cinemas, this is no joke. This announcement could prove fatal for some businesses and that is truly devastating for both they and our communities.

“What’s more, to hear the Health Secretary tell the House of Commons that he has engaged with local leaders is simply not true. If the Health Secretary wants to engage with me, then by all means give me a ring or send me an email, but don’t misrepresent what is actually happening, or in this case, not happening.

Read more: Preston and Lancashire to be placed back into tier-3 restrictions from 2 December

“If the Health Secretary had taken the time to speak with me and other local leaders across Lancashire, we would have told him we support a targeted approach within Lancashire – allocating Tier 2 to areas where the rate of infection was lower, but putting Tier 3 restrictions in place where the rates were higher.

“I am just desperately sorry for the businesses in South Ribble who now face more time out of action. I hope that, of the small businesses that are allowed to remain open, our residents will get behind them by shopping locally and supporting the South Ribble economy.

“Let’s now do our utmost to try and reduce the rate of infection and make the case again that we should be placed in Tier 2.”

Angie Ridgwell on her first day at work in County Hall
Angie Ridgwell

Angie Ridgwell, chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum has also reacted saying: “Whilst we’re disappointed that the government didn’t take into account Lancashire’s large and complex geography, what this decision does do is make crystal clear what everyone needs to do in Lancashire to drive infections rates down.

“By our collective efforts, we have made substantial progress over the past number of weeks, and this work needs to continue in the coming weeks. We’ve done so well to drive down the rates of infection, we don’t want to lose those gains now. By continuing to work together and build on this work so that in the forthcoming reviews we can show that Lancashire can go into tier-2.”

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi answers readers questions about coronavirus

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, added: “We are starting to see really positive signs across Lancashire. In some areas we are significantly below the national average for coronavirus, and in all areas we are going in the right direction.

“But we have to keep this up, as this will be the fastest way for us to get Lancashire into a lower tier. And the guidance remains the same- hands, face and space.

“It’s important as Christmas approaches that we don’t lose all the gains we’ve made in the last few months. What we do before and during the Christmas season matters most to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

“Let’s make smart choices about who we meet and keep everyone safe, until we get a well-functioning test, trace and isolate programme, and of course vaccinations.”

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