Thank you for emailing me about Tier 3 restrictions in Derby and Derbyshire.
The Department for Health and Social Care considers five factors when deciding what tier should apply to a particular area: case detection rates in all age groups, case detection rates in the over 60s, the rate at which cases are rising or falling, positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken), and pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.
Derby and Derbyshire have been placed into Tier 3, 'Very High'. The Health Secretary's explanation for this decision is that 'There has been improvement in this area, but case rates remain very high at 275 per 100,000, and in those over 60 it is 220 per 100,000. The pressure on the local NHS remains high'. The restrictions will be reviewed periodically.
My personal view is that the new tiered system of local restrictions is disproportionate. Coronavirus measures represent serious restrictions on fundamental civil liberties; Government usually has no business regulating whom people can and cannot see, where they can travel, and what shops they can visit. Furthermore, the economic damage to business forced to close, many of which invested tens of thousands of pounds in becoming coronavirus-secure, will be significant. This is especially the case in the hospitality industry. I am also concerned about the physical and mental health impact on people unable to participate in sport and see family and friends.
With those concerns, I asked the Government to provide impact data detailing not just projected coronavirus deaths, but also the effects of the restrictions. The Government provided a document in response, which you can read here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/939876/Analysis_of_the_health_economic_and_social_effects_of_COVID-19_and_the_approach_to_tiering_FINAL__SofS_.pdf. However, I did not consider that the document contained sufficient detail on the matters above, and so I voted against the Government.
Public health is usually a personal responsibility, and the Government trusts people to make effective decisions for themselves and others. My constituents have endured considerable hardship for the past nine months, and I firmly consider that the time has been reached when they should be returned the individual autonomy that is the defining feature of life in the UK. For some, this would mean following the guidance; for others, seeing family and friends again. Everyone should have the ability to choose.