MP frustrated that Ribble Valley placed in stricter lockdown measures despite having lowest levels of coronavirus infections in Lancashire
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has expressed his disappointment at his constituency being placed in stricter lockdown, despite the area having the lowest level of infections in Lancashire throughout the whole of the pandemic.
And he vowed that he will be pushing minister’s to ensure that when the Ribble Valley’s cases fall restrictions are lifted as soon as it is safe to do so, and residents won’t be forced to wait for the situation in other areas of Lancashire to improve first.
All areas of Lancashire, apart from Blackpool, were placed under greater restrictions by the government two days ago.
Infections in the Ribble Valley are currently at a weekly rate of 38 per 100,000 people, compared to a national average of 17 per 100,000. However, cases in Blackburn are at a weekly rate per 100,000 of 165 in Blackburn with Darwen, 168 in Preston, 65 in Blackpool and 42 in South Ribble.
Expressing his disapointment at the measures, Mr Evans said: "Despite East Lancashire having had a high number of cases for some time, up until recently the Ribble Valley had continued to see very low numbers of cases, usually hovering around the national average.
"Although cases have more than doubled in the Ribble Valley in the last few weeks, the rise in infections is still considerably less than other neighbouring areas in Lancashire, and lower than Blackpool, which has not had restrictions placed upon it.
"The Ribble Valley continues to have a lower infection rate than all parts of Lancashire, excluding
Lancaster, yet the area has had greater restrictions imposed at the same time as other areas of the county."
Mr Evans said that although it was partly due to its more rural nature Ribble Valley residents have 'diligently' stuck to the guidance throughout the pandemic, adding: "This shows itself in our low figures when compared to
"I know the new restrictions will be incredibly frustrating to a lot of people, but I am hopeful that if everyone follows the rules, we will see infections in the Ribble Valley start to fall again, which will enable us to return to normality as quickly as possible.”
Speaking about the impact of the restrictions on businesses Mr Evans said the Ribble Valley had a large hospitality sector that had still not recovered from the effects of the first lockdown.
He said: "Further restrictions on weddings that have been put in place at a national level, and the curfew times for hospitality venues, mean that income will be curtailed.
"I have contacted the government to stress the need for it to ensure that businesses that continue to be affected by restrictions, or those that see a fall in income as a result of the restrictions, are given government support
to help offset the impact.”