You may recall that in early December, I voted against Stockport being included in Tier 3 after the end of the second national lockdown, as I believed that, at that time, Tier 2 was more appropriate for our borough, given its relatively low case rates.
The Government reviewed its tier allocations two weeks later and decided to keep Stockport in Tier 3. While we continued to post relatively low case rates during that period, I understand that the decision was informed by concerns about capacity at Stepping Hill Hospital over Christmas, as well as the spread of the more transmissible Kent variant of the virus across the country.
As you will know, unfortunately, Tier 3, nor the additional Tier 4 restrictions that were implemented – first in London and the South East, and then in our own region – were enough to contain the rapid spread of this new variant, which has led the Government to implement a third national lockdown.
I hope that, as the vaccine is deployed, and the Government continues to strengthen border controls in order to prevent further new variants entering the country, we are able to get the virus back under control permanently, allowing us to relax, and ultimately end, restrictions. Next week the Prime Minister will set out the ‘road map’ out of restrictions and the clear focus must be on a return to normality which does not risk any further disruptive lockdowns.