Sir Graham Brady said today’s decision to keep Greater Manchester in Tier 3 will be “greeted with dismay” as he questioned why other areas with higher infection rates had managed to secure Tier 2 status.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today confirmed that Greater Manchester would not be moving down to Tier 2, as many had hoped in the light of falling infection rates across the borough.
Brady, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West, maintained that his constituents had behaved “responsibly” and asked why Trafford had not been treated the same way as other areas with higher rates.
He told Altrincham Today: “Our rates are lower than neighbouring Warrington and Cheshire East, which are both in Tier 2, and lower than Bristol, which has been moved out of 3 into 2. What exactly do we have to do to be moved out of Tier 3?
The most recent available data, for the week to December 11th, has Warrington with an infection rate of 147.1, Cheshire East at 115.6 and Bristol at 117.2, all higher than Trafford at 110.4.
Brady added: “Fundamentally I understand it’s about pressure on the NHS across Greater Manchester, but with rates and therefore cases falling strongly over the last six weeks or so, that pressure is likely to be easing.”
Brady said the news was a particular blow for the hospitality sector in Altrincham.
“The hospitality sector has been such as important part of the regeneration of Altrincham, and it’s been a tragedy to see restaurants, bars and pubs bearing the brunt of these restrictions, especially when there is so little evidence that they help to spread the virus,” he said.
Brady added that he agreed with the government’s decision to relax the rules over Christmas.
“It is absolutely right to give people the choice of seeing their loved ones at Christmas,” he added. “I’m also glad to hear the government talking about the importance of personal responsibility, and we should all seek to behave in a way which keeps households safe.”
Councillor Geraldine Coggins, Leader of the Green Party group on Trafford Council, said it was “really disappointing news for lots of people
“I know how badly people want to get back to a more normal life,” she added. “This is putting an enormous strain on the hospitality industry and there are many people who are worried about their livelihoods.
“However, from a public health point of view, there isn’t much choice. Our numbers are already creeping up and for now, we need to stay in tier 3.
“January and February are known to be the hardest time of the year for the NHS. Household mixing at Christmas, sanctioned by the government is likely to make this so much worse. A third spike after Christmas will only lead to further lockdowns, with the potential to disrupt the vaccine rollout, as staff isolate or become ill. We must do what we can now to keep people safe in the new year.”