On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced that Greater London will be moving into Tier 4 restrictions at 00.01 on Sunday morning. Responding to the announcement, Two Cities MP Nickie Aiken said
Like you, I was saddened to hear the news that London has been moved into a Tier 4, in response to a marked increase in the number of COVID cases and hospital admissions over the last week.
After the Prime Minister’s press conference on Saturday, Members of Parliament for the Tier 4 areas were invited to join a briefing with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP and officials from his Department. The evidence they presented was stark: the new strain of the virus which has emerged has really pushed up the R rate leaving the Government and Public Health officials with little choice but to take drastic action.
I understand that many families will have been made plans to enjoy Christmas based on the previously announced Christmas break, looking forward to seeing loved ones and enjoying celebrations in the company of those nearest to you. I am sorry that this is no longer able to happen, but the government guidance is clear: we must act now to protect our loved ones and the NHS. This means further restricting our social contact for the time being, until a review on 30 December at least.
However, I do think we need to prepare ourselves to continue to be in Tier 4 for some weeks ahead. As the vaccine programme is rolled out across London now is not the time to give up and throw away everything we have sacrificed this year, both individuals and businesses. If we can keep this current infection surge as under control as possible with restrictions and continue to roll out the vaccine there is hope we can see a steady return to normal next year, particularly if the Oxford University-Astra Zeneca vaccine is approved.
I know that this new tier will deal yet another blow to companies, big and small, across the Cities of London and Westminster with retail, hospitality and the cultural sectors particularly hard hit. The Government remains committed to supporting businesses through these challenging times with a variety of options, including the Furlough Scheme and additional grants.
For my part, I will continue to lobby for increased grant giving capabilities for local government and the extension of some schemes currently open, particularly the business rates relief and VAT reduction for hospitality, to allow businesses to plan and invest for the future.
I will also continue to work with Ministers to ensure we all understand the criteria that needs to be met for Tier 4 restrictions to be lifted and Greater London to be returned to Tier 3.
If there is anything I can do to support you, please contact me or my team.
You can find the government's in full regarding Tier 4 here.