This article was published in the Hampshire Chronicle: https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/opinion/2021-will-be-better-year-uk-f…
Wednesday saw the tier system of Covid restrictions reviewed across England.
Although I would very much like to see Meon Valley in Tier 1, I think we need to be cautious and look to move our county as one entity when it is safe to do so.
Having different tiers close together has caused issues in other parts of the country. Areas in Tier 1 have soon caught up with higher infection rates surrounding them because people have travelled there to visit restaurants and pubs and take advantage of the looser restrictions.
We also have the issue of differing infection rates in different areas of Hampshire. Some locations such as Winchester district, which is part of the Meon Valley, have seen figures fall to below 100 infections per 100,000 people. However, in Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth – where many people from Meon Valley work – we have seen rising figures.
The numbers are changing all the time and we need to make sure we monitor the situation closely but, right now, I would not support a change. My view is we need to see a consistent county-wide drop first otherwise we risk lives being lost. However, it is not my decision to make.
The weekend saw the first anniversary of the General Election and the great honour I was given when I was elected to represent Meon Valley in parliament. To say the last 12 months have been a challenge for everyone is an understatement, but I have been proud to see communities across the Meon Valley rise to that challenge by helping others and supporting our NHS and social care workers.
We are not out of the woods although the vaccine rollout is just great news. I will continue to do all I can to help my constituents with issues such as redeveloping Waterlooville, accessing better mobile and broadband coverage and making sure businesses and people are supported as we recover from the pandemic.
As I write the UK and the EU are still negotiating a trade deal. However, whatever the outcome of the negotiations, I passionately believe this country will prosper outside the EU.