'We want Tier 1 for Christmas': Shropshire MPs hoping for Tier 2 restrictions to be eased soon

Shropshire must strive to get into Tier 1 ahead of Christmas, the county's MPs said today.

The county has been placed in Tier 2, escaping the most extreme Tier 3 measures placed on neighbouring West Midlands and Staffordshire.

But with levels continuing to fall across the county, politicians said more should be done to relax measures in Shropshire.

Many expressed their disappointment that the county would be placed into the Tier 2 'high alert' category, and called for the rules to be eased when an expected pre-Christmas review of tiers takes place.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the whole of the county, including Telford & Wrekin, will be placed in Tier 2 when the national lockdown ends on Tuesday.

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This means that pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, but only to customers who buy a 'substantial meal' during their visit.

People will not be allowed to socialise indoors with anyone who is not part of their household or support bubble, but will be allowed to meet family and friends in an outdoor setting.

It means the county has so far escaped the more stringent Tier 3 regulations which have been imposed on the majority of local authorities in the West Midlands. Herefordshire has also been classified as Tier 2.

Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, said that while he was pleased that Shropshire would no longer be subjected to national restrictions, he was disappointed that the county would be in Tier 2.

He urged people to now rally behind shopkeepers in the county and to do their Christmas shopping locally.

"It is appropriate that we will be in the same group as Telford & Wrekin, given the geographic proximity, and that our hospital trust serves both communities," he said. "I'm concerned about the impact on hospitality. Those pubs which that serve food should be able to continue trading.

"I'm pleased that over the few weeks running up to Christmas that shops which have been closed will be able to open from Wednesday.

"I would urge residents to shop locally for Christmas presents this year, and to support our local traders."

'Bittersweet'

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said the Government's decision to seize control of deciding which tiers different areas would be in was the result of the "posturing" by mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

He said he was minded to support Shropshire's classification in Tier 2 at the moment, but would, along with other MPs in the county, be monitoring the situation and lobbying for the district to be downgraded to Tier 1 as soon as was safe to do so.

Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, said he had mixed feelings about the news.

"This is a bittersweet tier," he said. "But I hope, with local infection rates coming down, the borough and county will be able to move into Tier 1 over the next few weeks."

Lucy Allan, MP for Telford, said she was glad the town had avoided the Tier 3 restrictions, which had been imposed on most of the West Midlands.

She said it made it much more likely that the restrictions would be relaxed sooner rather than later.

"I'm really pleased the Government has listened and Telford is to be grouped with Shropshire and Herefordshire," she said.

"We're much more likely to move to Tier 1 sooner with this grouping, than the alternative that was under consideration."

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