The leader of South Holland District Council has apologised to his residents for “failing” to convince government to take the area out of the toughest coronavirus restrictions.
Lord Gary Porter has been one of a number of council leaders in Lincolnshire arguing that it was unfair for the whole of the county to begin in tier three restrictions on Wednesday due to the differences in infection rates across districts.
He posted on Twitter: “I would like to apologise to everyone in South Holland and to the owners of local businesses in the hospitality trade.
“I failed to get the government to understand the unjustness of restricting your liberty and risking your businesses by unfairly putting us in tier 3 today.
Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill said yesterday that it was “disappointing” news but that he was encouraged the situation would be reviewed.
I would like to apologise to everyone in South Holland and to the owners of local businesses in the hospitality trade. I failed to get the Government to understand the unjustness of restricting your liberty and risking your business by unfairly putting us in Tier3 today. Sorry
— Gary Porter (@garyportercbe) December 2, 2020
In a letter to Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, who had raised concerns in government, health minister Matt Hancock said he understood the “force of your arguments”.
He promised that each area, including distrct areas within Lincolnshire, would be assessed individually on December 16.
However, he added: “It is important to note that we know from lived experience over recent months that where narrow carve-outs take place in the face of higher rates in neighbouring areas, time and again these areas simply catch up, and often overtake their neighbouring areas.”
Disappointing that all Lincolnshire will be in T3 tomorrow but encouraging that it will be reviewed in 2 weeks on a more local basis. Our concerns acknowledged and hopefully addressed. pic.twitter.com/1A8emgFQ3O
— Martin Hill (@CllrmHill) December 1, 2020
Councillor Porter said he was “deeply disappointed” by the letter and that the news would have “a significant, detrimental and long-lasting impact on the health and economic wellbeing of the people of South Holland.
All Greater Lincolnshire MPs, except Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, voted in favour of the government’s latest three-tier lockdown following the debate on Monday.
South Holland’s most recent infection rate was 117.9 per 100,000 population compared to the England average of 162.3. It sits as 216th highest.