MP Dehenna Davison has called for a more local approach to restrictions
MP Dehenna Davison has called for a more local approach to restrictions

TEESDALE'S MP last night voted to support the move to place the area under the toughest Covid-19 restrictions but urged a more localised approach later this month.

MP Dehenna Davison told MPs that it was “almost impossible to justify” putting upper Teesdale in Tier 3 because of its low number of virus cases over a long period.

But speaking in the Commons yesterday, she said: “If we choose not to vote for the new tiers, however, what is the alternative?

“On the table at present I see only two alternatives. The first is that the harshest national restrictions we have been living with for the past month will continue, devastating businesses and mental wellbeing across the whole country, and the other alternative is to end restrictions completely and allow the virus to rip through our communities, with a huge human toll paid for that.”

She said the new tier system was the “least bad option” and that she would vote for it.

But she said her vote came with “two clear caveats”.

Ms Davison said: “First, as I have been raising now for months, we need a more localised approach.

“A number of colleagues have mentioned that today and pointed to the success of hyper-localised restrictions in other countries including Germany and South Korea. I believe that we must try to replicate that approach.

“It is almost impossible to justify placing residents in upper Teesdale in my constituency, where cases have consistently been far below the national average, into Tier 3. I ask that at the review on December 16 a more localised approach is taken, not only for fairness but to mitigate the economic damage that we know these restrictions cause.”

Her second plea was for more support for the hospitality sector

Ms Davison added: “That must be done right away to give our landlords, restaurateurs, waitresses, bartenders, chefs and others some much-needed hope throughout the Christmas period. Given the importance of the Christmas period for annual earnings in the hospitality sector, I urge my ministerial colleagues to check the books one last time, dig down the back of the treasury sofa and find a proper pocket of cash.”

As the dale went into Tier 3 today, upper Teesdale and west Teesdale had a Covid rate of 58 cases per 100,000 – well below the UK average. Barnard Castle’s rate was 137.8, around the UK average. Evenwood, Cockfield and Staindrop’s rate was just above national average at 165.

Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham have all been included in Tier 3.

In a written statement last week, the secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock, revealed the “rationale”. The statement suggested an average was taken across the region, which was listed as the North East Combined Authority.

Mr Hancock wrote at the time: “The region continues to see very high case rates, overall 318 people per 100,000, although this figure is either stable or falling in all parts of the region. Case rate in over 60s remains very high at 256 per 100,000. NHS admissions in the area have remained high in November.”