"A total farce": MP's verdict on Lancs Covid meeting, as no decision made on shift to Tier 3 status
A Lancashire MP has branded a meeting with the government over potential changes to Covid restrictions “a total farce”.
After a morning of feverish talks with MPs and council leaders, the county is staying in Tier 2 of the Covid alert levels – for now.
It had been expected that a Commons statement by health secretary Matt Hancock this morning would announce a shift for most or all of the county into the most restrictive Tier 3.
But Mr. Hancock instead told the House: “No further decisions have yet been made, but we need to make rapid progress.
“Delayed action means more deaths form Covid. more non-Covid deaths and more economic pain later, because the virus comes down slower than it goes up – so we should stop it up going up in the first place.”
A definitive decision had been expected after almost a week of discussions with local authority leaders.
However, one county MP told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The call with Lancashire’s MPs was a total farce.
“It started late, the minister appeared unsure what was happening and local MPs were denied the opportunity ask questions.”
Lancashire has been trying to negotiate a funding package worth nearly £50m more than the £12m believed to be on offer from the government – including a massive discretionary grant scheme to support businesses directly or indirectly affected by a tougher lockdown.
Lancashire’s 15 leaders were set to hold another meeting of their number, after they too were invited onto a call with government officials.
Sources have told the LDRS that a decision could still be made about Lancashire’s status today.
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