Nobody wanted to see further restrictions, and I understand that the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the recent national lockdown, have been a very difficult time for pub landlords and clients alike. This is an especially acute problem here in Cheadle, where our hospitality sector has been affected by Tier 3 for Greater Manchester both before and after the second lockdown.
Some restrictions will still be necessary in order to prevent the NHS, and Stepping Hill Hospital in our area, being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases during the winter.
However, I firmly believe that the Government should decide tiers on a borough-by-borough basis. The restrictions here should reflect the situation in Stockport borough, where the case rate is lower than the average for Greater Manchester and England as a whole, which is why after the end of the second national lockdown, I voted against Stockport being placed in Tier 3. I will continue making the case to the Government that we should be removed from Tier 3, and our pubs allowed to reopen.
Meanwhile, the Government is providing financial support to pubs and other businesses affected by the pandemic. Every business required to close is eligible for grants of up to £3,000 a month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant, and local authorities are receiving a further £1.1 billion to support businesses. Councils are also being given funding for grants for businesses that are not required to close but are severely affected by Tier 2 and 3 restrictions, and the furlough scheme has been extended to March, with the Government paying 80% of wages up to £2,500.