By Daniel Wood
Kirklees Council released a press release at 9:10 pm last night that included a message to the government regarding the COVID-19 restrictions that have been introduced and may be introduced in the future.
The borough is currently in Tier 2 of restrictions with rumours that the government are looking to push it into Tier 3.
Tier 3 restrictions have already been implemented in areas like Liverpool, Lancashire and Manchester.
The Kirklees cross-party Outbreak Board made the following joint statement regarding the restrictions.
“Rising infection rates in Kirklees and the pressure that is having on the NHS is something we must take seriously, and we need to do all we can to improve this situation so we can save lives. However, we do not believe Tier 3 restrictions are the best way for us to do this.
“The closure of our pubs and bars will have a devastating impact on our economy and people’s livelihoods, and we have not seen the evidence that this will directly impact on infection rates.
“We instead need to continue the work we are doing at local level, on the ground, in our communities. We are already seeing positive results from this work, with Kirklees now having the lowest rates in West Yorkshire. We’re urging the government to give us more resources to build on this.
“We’re concerned about the mental health of people in Kirklees, many of whom have been under local restrictions since July. Preventing people from visiting each other’s gardens will be a big blow during what is already a very difficult time.
“We also do not feel comfortable agreeing for Kirklees to enter Tier 3 without any indication of how we get out of these restrictions and how long they will last.
“For these reasons, Kirklees’ Outbreak Control Board has unanimously agreed to urge the Government not to place Kirklees in Tier 3 and to instead let us build on the work we’re doing to prevent the spread of the virus locally.”
The statement is signed off with the following people who are part of Kirklees Council’s Outbreak Control Board:
- Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council
- Councillor John Taylor, Conservative Group Deputy Leader
- Councillor John Lawson, Liberal Democrat Group Leader
- Councillor Andrew Cooper, Green Party Group Leader
- Councillor Charles Greaves, Independent Group Leader
- Member of Parliament Batley and Spen: Tracy Brabin MP
- Member of Parliament Colne Valley: Jason McCartney MP
- Member of Parliament Dewsbury: Mark Eastwood MP
- Member of Parliament Huddersfield: Barry Sheerman MP
Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin has released her own official statement in an attempt to push to keep Kirklees in Tier 2 restrictions and avoid Tier 3.
She has urged the government not to place West Yorkshire into Tier 3 without a clear indication of how we would leave Tier 3, and without support for a local track and trace system to be put in place.
After the meeting, Ms Brabin said: “We cannot be pushed into Tier 3 without transparency from the government on how they are assessing areas going into Tier 3, and what steps need to be taken to be moved out of Tier 3.
“I am concerned that the imposition of Tier 3 restriction will have negative effects on the local economy and the mental health of local people, especially as there is no clear evidence that this approach works.
“In Kirklees, a huge amount of resources has been placed on following Tier 2 and similar restrictions for months. That hard work has led to Kirklees having the lowest number of Covid-19 cases, but cases as still rising, so this piecemeal approach clearly isn’t working.
“If the government is serious about combatting this virus, it should follow the science and SAGE advice and impose a nationwide circuit breaker lockdown.”
It will be interesting to see if the government listen to the Kirklees Outbreak Control Board and spare them from going into Tier 3, or if they will end up following the same fate as Liverpool, Lancashire, and Manchester.