Two senior Lancashire MPs have joined forces to call on the Prime Minister to move Lancashire out of the toughest level of Covid restrictions.

Chorley MP and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Ribble Valley Conservative MP Nigel Evans, one of the deputy speakers in the House, met with Boris Johnson earlier this week to set out their concerns about the impact of the Tier 3 rules.

There was anger amongst many local council leaders last week when the entire county was placed under the strictest regulations, after the government dismissed a plea for the post-lockdown system to be implemented on a district-by-district basis, recognising the differing infection rates in each of Lancashire’s 14 local authority areas.

The first of the fortnightly reviews of the tiers will take place on 16th December and Sir Lindsay and Mr Evans want to see Lancashire shifted to Tier 2 – a move which would allow pubs and restaurants to reopen, but with a ban on mixing between households for their paying guests.  

Household mixing indoors in private homes would also continue to be outlawed.

“Local residents and businesses have now faced many months of restrictions and lockdown.  These restrictions have had a significantly detrimental impact on businesses as well as placing pressure on residents in terms of their mental and physical health,” Sir Lindsay said.

“Despite this, local people have adhered to the rules and thanks to these huge sacrifices, we have seen the infection rate in Lancashire fall consistently over many weeks. 

“This has had an obvious positive knock-on effect in terms of hospital admissions and with one of the lowest R rates in the whole country, I believe it would be more appropriate to place Lancashire into Tier 2.

“This would allow the hospitality sector to re-open, albeit under tight restrictions, during their most important time in the run up to Christmas – whilst at the same time keep effective control on the spread of the virus.

“The Prime Minister listened to the arguments and stated that he would continually review the Tiers and also made it clear that he didn’t want any restrictions to last any longer than absolutely necessary.”

In the seven days to 30th November, Chorley’s Covid case rate stood at 184.4 per 100,000 people – down from over 320 at the start of the month.

In Ribble Valley over the same timeframe, the rate totalled 151.1, just below the England average  – having topped 400 at one stage earlier in November.

Nigel Evans said he stressed the importance of the hospitality sector to Mr. Johnson during the meeting between the trio.

“I wanted the PM to understand how Tier 3 is unnecessarily damaging a vitally important sector,” Mr. Evans said.

Lancashire’s average Covid case rate across its 14 council areas was 194 in the week to 30th November – above the England figure of 155.4.

However five districts were below the national rate – as well as Ribble Valley, they are: Wyre, West Lancashire, Lancaster and Fylde.

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