I was disappointed that, despite very low rates in East Sussex, we have been designated as Tier 2. The local NHS authorities and County leads have told me that there has been a lack of consultation with them from the Department of Health and Social Care, so I called for transparency from the Department as to how these decisions are made.
Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle)
"Would it be possible for us to have an urgent debate on the manner in which the Department of Health and Social Care is determining which tiers apply for local coronavirus restrictions? We are told by the Department that our local health and local authority leaders have been consulted and have given their views on local data and trends, but the consultations that I have had with my local leaders in East Sussex reveal that not to be the case, which is a worry. My right hon. Friend was always a doughty defender of transparency when he spoke from the Back Benches; will he ensure that we get the same from Government Departments?"
"My hon. Friend undoubtedly raises an important point. It is vital that the Government make and implement all their coronavirus measures with public consent. Indeed, one of the remarkable things has been the extent to which the British people have voluntarily accepted the restraints and have not found it necessary to have them onerously imposed upon them. We will debate the statutory instruments next week, as I announced in my statement, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care will be making a statement shortly. It is important to have the right balance between acting quickly and decisively while managing also to consult the necessary bodies."