John Penrose (MP for Weston-super-Mare) and Liam Fox (MP for North Somerset) have issued the following joint-response to news North Somerset will enter Tier 3 from the end of the national lockdown:
“In the drive to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic we fully support the government’s decision to move from a national lockdown to a tiered system, to better reflect local circumstances.
While we support the overall approach, we cannot agree with the way it has been applied to North Somerset. Our infection rate has fallen from 305/100,000 a week ago to 204.6/100,000 today, well below the Bristol rate of 304.4/100,000. On our own, North Somerset might well qualify to be in Tier 2, but we have been placed in Tier 3 because we are regarded as “a natural travel to work area” along with Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The fact that Bath and North East Somerset is in Tier 2, even though it is part of the same “natural travel to work area”, makes the decision even more illogical. This all comes at a time when travel to and from Bristol is much lower than usual anyway, because people have been asked to work from home.
This isn’t right or fair. We hope that, at the review point in 14 days time, this methodology can be changed so that North Somerset can be treated on its own merits, and so hardworking local businesses aren’t punished because of higher infection rates in Bristol.”