'They just don't care about us': Hartlepool's MP slams Government over lockdown exit
Hartlepool’s MP has voiced frustration over a lack of plans to exit the lockdown, with residents left “seething with anger” over a potential tier 3 move.
Labour member Mike Hill told Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons his town does not want to move from the Tier 2 ‘high’ restrictions to the ‘very high’ Tier 3 regulations due to the impact on business and welfare, later venting fury at the reply and drop in support for businesses.
Earlier in the session, Redcar’s Conservative MP Jacob Young said he had reservations over a move and the impact on mental health, seeking confirmation there were no plans to increase the alert level.
He was told the best action was to keep the virus under control.
Mr Hill went on to ask: “I, too, am working hard with Tees Valley colleagues to keep the area out of Tier 3, but my constituents in Hartlepool are confused and seething with anger.
"They are concerned about moving to tier 3 with all the health and economic impacts that that will bring.
"We are not in Tier 3 yet, but if we get there what exit strategy does the Secretary of State have for ending lockdown?
Mr Hancock replied: “Hartlepool is in Tier 2 at the moment and I hope that we can keep it there, but we will keep it under review.
"The best exit strategy for anywhere that wants to go into a lower tier is for everybody to follow the rules, respect social distancing and try to get the case rate coming down, but, of course, for the whole nation — indeed for the whole world — the best exit strategy is a combination of mass testing and a vaccine, and we are working incredibly hard to deliver both as quickly as feasibly possible.”
Last night Mr Hill told followers he was angry about the reduction in support for workers salaries, which has dropped from the 80% salary payment under furlough to 67% under the Job Support Scheme if a business is ordered to close.
He said: “Why is a northern job in October worth less to the Government than a southern job in March?
“They have no answer.
“They won’t communicate with us. They won’t work with us. They don’t care about us.”