As Plymouth emerges from lockdown, the public health measures and the economic support must match each other and that is not happening in the Government’s revised tier proposals.
Commenting on the vote in the House of Commons on the new tier system, Luke said:
“We have got to defeat the virus and following the rules is a really important part of that. I am worried that the old tier system was not working. It seems to be a conveyer belt towards ever stricter restrictions not a path out of higher tiers. This new system is tougher and I hope it will work. But what is clear is that some businesses are still not getting the help they need to survive. These new tiers have not matched the economic support to the public health measures and as such I cannot vote for them.
Labour will not oppose these measures in the vote and so they will become law, but that will not stop us campaigning for the proper help especially tourism and hospitality businesses desperately need.
Since the start of the pandemic I have wanted to work with the Government and I want their measures to work, as that will save lives and livelihoods if they’re the right measures.
I am also unhappy about the way Plymouth was lumped in with the rest of Devon when announcing the new restrictions. Ministers have chosen to treat Plymouth, Torbay and Devon council areas differently to other parts of the country. The rationale for our tier two status is because of problems at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital but Plymouth is served by Derriford who don’t have the same issues, so why lump us all together? Plymouth should not be denied exit from Tier two because of what is happening in Exeter and vice versa. Unfortunately, this just goes to show how we are so often ignored and forgotten about in the South West.
I will be pressing Ministers to assess all our council areas on their own merits and virus levels when the tiers are reviewed on 16 December and I hope that will mean we can exit to tier one restrictions accordingly.”