Kent MP's: Tier Three restrictions are dealing a big blow to the local businesses in our communiites
Greg Clark, the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, has written the following letter to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to persuade him to take Kent out of Tier Three.
As things stand, all Kent football clubs will not be allowed to attract crowds at their stadiums once we come out of this second national lockdown next Wednesday, which will put all of our clubs at financial risk.
However, clubs in Tier Two, clubs who play in the London Borough’s, Surrey and Sussex will be able to attract crowds to their matches.
National League club Bromley will be able to attract crowds of 2,000 to Hayes Lane from next week (tomorrow’s game against Wrexham is being played behind closed doors).
Tenants Cray Wanderers will be able to attract crowds of 600 to Hayes Lane for their Isthmian League Premier Division games, while their Tier Three league rivals Folkestone Invicta and Margate will not be allowed to have fans at their home games.
Step Four sides in Tier Two can attract a maxium crowd of 400, while fans will be banned in Tier Three areas.
Step Five and Six clubs in Tier Two can attract a maxumum crowd of 300, while fans will be banned in Tier Three areas (the whole of Kent).
For example, with East Sussex in Tier Two, Crowborough Athletic will be able to attract a crowd of 300, but nine miles up the road in Kent, Tier Three Tunbridge Wells will not be allowed to attract fans to Culverden Stadium.
“We completely understand and appreciate the difficult decisions that you and colleagues in Government face in suppressing the Covid-19 pandemic and saving lives as well as people’s livelihoods,” wrote Mr Clark.
“However, we are extremely disappointed at the decision to place the whole of Kent into the highest tier of restrictions that you placed yesterday.
“As you know from our previous representations, Kent is a very large county with distinct areas within in, which is reflected in the vast differences in the incidence of Covid.
“For example, in the boroughs of Tunbridge Wells and Ashford, the latest weekly case rate is 120 per 100,000 and falling – less than a quarter of the rate in Swale at 541 per 100,000 – and areas like Folkestone & Hythe are below the national express.
“Moreover, the patterns of community contact are very distinct. In areas such as Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Ashford, for example, movement outside the local area tends to be either up and down towards London (tier two) and across the border into East Sussex (also tier two).
“These restrictions, as well as dealing a big blow to the local businesses in our communities, risk undermining public support for measures if they are seen not to be justified by the incidence of Covid.
“We think that a much better approach would be a more local one – such as at Borough or District level.
“We are grateful for your agreement to meet us, as the MPs for the communities affected.
“We would be grateful if you could, at or before that meeting:
* Provide a much more comprehensive evidence base for the decision to include the whole of Kent in a single tier three.
*Undertake to review this decision at the soonest available opportunity"
The letter has been signed by:
The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells
Damian Collins MP, Member of Parliament for Folkestone & Hythe
Tracey Crouch MP, Member of Parliament for Chatham and Aylesford
Natalie Elphicke MP, Member of Parliament for Dover and Deal
Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald
The Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Member of Parliament for Ashford
Tom Tugendhat MP, Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling