Tier review will 'try to be sensitive to local effort'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Granular approach: Government ministers have promised to look at "local achievements" when assessing tier status
Granular approach: Government ministers have promised to look at "local achievements" when assessing tier status

Related tags: England, Boris johnson, lockdown, Legislation, Coronavirus

The Government could take a more localised approach when it reviews coronavirus tiers, the Prime Minister has suggested.

The designation of tiers is set to be reviewed every fortnight, with the first to take place on 16 December.

Pub operators have told The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ their frustration over pubs just miles away from them being permitted to trade in a lower tier. 

One commented on The MA​ Facebook page: “Here in our tiny Cotswold village we are in Tier three......whilst towns four miles either side of us are in tier two.....you couldn't make it up…”

“I can’t open my pub but I can go and work in my mates pub five miles down the road,” another complained.

Licensees also described frustration that their areas with lower infections had been placed in the same tier as more densely-populated areas reporting stronger infection rates.

MPs have raised this issue in Parliament a number of times this week, with ministers promising to take “local achievements” into account. 

Granular detail

In a bid to win over rebel MPs ahead of Tuesday’s vote​, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs he would consider a more “granular” approach going forward.

He said the next review would be based on “as much granular detail as we can."

“We will try to be as sensitive as possible to local effort and local achievement,” Johnson said.

He added: "As we go forward, and I mean this very sincerely, the Government will look at how we can reflect as closely as possible the reality of what is happening on the ground, looking at the incidence of the disease, the human geography and spread of the virus." 

Conservative MP for Workington Mark Jenkinson questioned the tier status of Cumbria in the Commons earlier this week. 

“My constituency of Workington sits entirely in the borough of Allerdale, who entered national restrictions at tier one and leave them in tier two – but drill down into the data, and our rate as we entered restrictions suggested we were already in tier two territory, or may have been in short order," he said.

“The narrative also fails to set out the impact that those local outbreaks and over 60’s rates – in some cases 90 minutes away from my constituents – may have on our shared health infrastructure.

“We have condemned the leisure and hospitality industry to as good as closure in tier two. For many, November and December makes or breaks the year.”

What’s more, health secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged a “promise of more granularity” with the upcoming review to MP for Buckingham Greg Smith yesterday.

Hospitality bosses have also called on the Government to review areas' tier statuses each week rather than each fortnight, according to Sky News​. More than 100 companies - including pub chains Fuller's and Mitchells and Butlers - signed an open letter to the Government imploring it to review the "arbitrary and punitive" measures.

Related topics: Health & safety

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