‘Putting Somerset in stricter tier system implies lockdown didn’t work’

December 8, 2020

HEAVY PRICE: “There is also a clear implication that the Tiers will continue until Easter. This will be devastating to lives and businesses in our area – while costing all of us, and future generations, almost £1 billion a day. It’s imperative that businesses are allowed to open – including those in the hospitality and tourism sector which contribute so much to the economy of the West Country.” – Somerton and Frome MP David Warburton on the recent tiered system brought in by the Government and their SAGE advisors.

 

 

 

 

A SOMERSET MP has gone into intricate detail to explain why he voted against the new tier restrictions that were introduced at the beginning of this month following the end of month-long longdown.

The former founder, chief executive and chairman of Pitch Entertainment Group, David Warburton, was elected Tory MP for Somerton and Frome at the 2015 general election replacing Lib Dem David Heath, who stepped down after serving the constituency for 18 years.

Mr Warburton was one of four MPs who voted against the restrictions in Dorset and Somerset along with MP for Yeovil, Marcus Fysh; West Dorset MP Chris Loder and South Dorset MP Richard Drax. Further east Chris Chope of Christchurch and Desmond Swayne of New Forest East were also amongst the 55 rebel Tories who could not back the Government.

He particularly singled out the confusion of the rules facing pubs in Tier 2 areas, which encompass all of Dorset, Somerset and the New Forest and the idea of what constitutes a “substantial meal” and were “not logical” and this was one of seven reservations he bullet-pointed in his despatch.

‘Rules have no obvious sense of cause and effect’

Writing on his website, he said: “The rules that have been proposed are contradictory and, in many cases, seem almost arbitrary. From last orders at 10pm but 11pm closing (do we all order four rounds at 10pm, or do venues have to pay staff for an hour with no takings?), to the vaguely defined ‘substantial meal’.

“From allowing soft drinks all day but alcohol only with food, to an astonishingly labyrinthine and impossibly convoluted ‘bubble’ system, with no obvious sense of cause and effect.

“From work meetings being allowed in public or private places (only for self-employed), to no one allowed to meet from separate households either outdoors or indoors, unless they’re on a train or travelling.”

He brought attention to his constituents the failure by the Government to make the case for the cost benefit analysis of the lockdown which this site covered when transcribing the observations of his colleague Iain Duncan-Smith on Talk Radio on 24 November.

‘What is the cost to all non-Covid related health?’

Mr Warburton said: “Apparently the Cabinet Office had been putting this together all weekend for us, which sadly suggests that the data was not the basis for the proposed rules.

“The crucial question we have to ask ourselves is what is the cost to lives, to livelihoods, to businesses, to mental health, suicides, to all non-Covid related heath and – of course – the future of the economy of the restrictions, against the likely lives saved from those same restrictions.”

Mr Warburton demanded to know why areas of small towns and villages were being lumped with large urban conurbations in the statistics and suggested this was “problematic”.

‘Moving country into stricter rules implies lockdown didn’t work’

“Many, having had lockdown for a month, find themselves moving into stricter restrictions than were imposed before lockdown. This would seem to imply that lockdown was ineffective.

“Which itself would imply that the stricter Tier system will also be ineffective. Figures show that the previous Tiered system was having an effect on infections, whereas lockdown did not have a proportionately greater effect. So why will 99% of country continue under effective lockdown?

‘This has been costing us up to £1B a day’

“There is also a clear implication that the Tiers will continue until Easter. This will be devastating to lives and businesses in our area – while costing all of us, and future generations, almost £1 billion a day.

“It’s imperative that businesses are allowed to open – including those in the hospitality and tourism sector which contribute so much to the economy of the West Country. The restrictions have gone a long way towards the destruction of hospitality and tourism (and much else) in the West Country.

“I have very real anxieties about the precedent that’s being set here: of the state arrogating itself the power to impose such stringent measures on its population when the data upon which this is based is chancy and uncertain.

‘Liberty is easy to remove and difficult to regain’

“Liberty is like innocence, easy to remove and extremely difficult to regain. And a future government with less benign intentions could easily use this precedent to interfere further – and for malign motives.

“So, given the economic, social, health, livelihood, business, mental health costs, the unemployment, insolvencies – each of which is a personal tragedy – I cannot in good conscience vote to compromise lives and destroy livelihoods.”

  • THE full transcription of Mr Warburton’s reasons for voting against the restrictions can be viewed here and read in their full context.

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