A Trafford MP says residents were in tears after finding out they couldn’t visit children and grandchildren when the borough was placed back into local lockdown.
Graham Brady, for MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said it was “deeply disappointing” that restrictions preventing the mixing of households had been put back in place in a last-minute government U-turn yesterday.
Lockdown restrictions were due to be lifted in the borough, and in Bolton, on Wednesday.
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But at midday Health Minister Matt Hancock ordered Trafford to stay under lockdown after local leaders urged the government to keep the restrictions in place following a spike in cases.
Altrincham and Sale West MP Mr Brady has voiced his opposition to the government’s decision and says there needs to be a change in the way lockdowns are decided.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (September 3) Mr Brady said it was “deeply disappointing” that the restrictions were back in place in Trafford.
“I had constituents saying they had come home in tears because they weren’t going to see their children or grandchildren when they thought that was going to be allowed under the release,” he said.
Trafford’s infection currently stands at 35.8 per 100,000 people – three times the national average. The rate doubled over the last fortnight.
Mr Brady – who is chairman of the Conservative Party’s 1922 committee of backbenchers – said he would prefer the government to take a “broader basket of measures” in making judgements about lifting restrictions.
He said the number of hospital admissions – which he says have been steady – should be a key factor.
“The government is using a single metric, which is this measure of positive tests,” the MP told Today.
“And certainly it’s correct that measure has gone up – it was about 19 last week when the decision was made to lift the restrictions and about 35 or 36 now, so it’s a significant increase.
“That measure is quite volatile, it’s still quite low numbers. It’s 36 per 100,000 people and it’s obviously influenced as well by the number of tests that are carried out, which is increasing.
“In Trafford we’ve got a new testing centre.”
Speaking about the government’s plans to get people back into offices and workplaces, the MP said there has been a “lag” between the policy of government and the official guidance.
He added: “When the government knows what it wants to achieve it really does need to make sure that all the official advice which is being issued is in tune with the guidance being put out by ministers.”
It has been reported that the Treasury is considering substantial corporation tax rises and capital gains tax changes to deal with the costs of coronavirus – something the government has dismissed.
Mr Brady said making sure the country goes back to work is “fundamental” to recovery and the government should be cautious when looking at tax increases.
“We have to be aware that raising taxes and raising the wrong types of taxes especially can be a way in which you stifle economic growth and prospects rather than guaranteeing them, so I think we should be very very cautious in exploring tax increases,” he said.