Home   Kent   News   Article

Kent MPs to meet with Health Secretary Matt Hancock over Tier 3 restrictions for whole county

Kent MPs are set to meet with Matt Hancock to "express concerns" about the county being placed into Tier 3 when lockdown ends.

They are set to protest the blanket ruling when some of the county's districts are among the lowest in the country – and falling.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Picture by Mark Westley
Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Picture by Mark Westley

The open letter to Mr Hancock comes after weeks of campaigning to convince the government to take a more nuanced approach to the Tier system; by restricting select districts instead of the whole county.

Swale has spent weeks in competition with Hull over which has the worst infection rate in England, and now sits top of the pile with a worryingly high case rate of 535 per 100,000 after recording 803 cases in the week to November 21.

Meanwhile, Thanet now places second in England, with a rate of 493.2 (700 new cases in a week), a drop from 517.9, while Medway is also in the top 10 (seventh, with a rate of 429.4 and 1,196 new cases),

However the letter points out that other districts, such as Tunbridge Wells and Ashford, have less than a quarter of Swale's rate, and other districts including Folkestone & Hythe are below the national average.

It reads: "We are extremely disappointed at the decision to place the whole of Kent into the highest tier of restrictions that you announced today.


"As you know from our previous representations, Kent is a very large county with distinct areas within it, which is reflected in the vast differences in the incidence of Covid.

"These restrictions, as well as dealing a big blow to the local businesses in our communities, risk underminding public support for measures if they are seen not to be justified by the incidence of Covid.

"We think that a much better approach would be a more local one- such as at a Borough of District level."

The letter was signed by Greg Clark, Damian Collins, Tracey Crouch, Natalie Elphicke, Helen Grant, Damian Green, and Tom Tugendhat.

It also demands that Mr Hancock provide evidence for the decision, and promise to review it as soon as possible.

Covid Tier 3 (43273138)
Covid Tier 3 (43273138)

Damian Green, Member of Parliament for Ashford, raised the need for restrictions by dsitrict in parliament on Tuesday and joined with other MPs to send a letter ahead of the announcement asking the government to consider this.

Sevenoaks MP Laura Trott said that she was "initially surprised and disappointed" at the government's move, but that she now understood the government's logic.

She said: "There is simply no leeway in our hospital capacity, and it is vital that we use every tool possible to prevent a further rise in cases from their already high base locally.

"This means that I have reluctantly accepted that tier 3 is necessary for our area at present.

"The government has pledged to review our status in two weeks. If there is a reduction in pressure on our hospitals, I will push very hard for us to return to a district level tier system in Kent."

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More