Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing ahead of the Government’s anticipated announcement on Thursday, allocating local areas to the new tier system, to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in England.
It is clear that strong measures will continue to be needed once we come out of the current national lockdown restrictions on 2 December, to ensure we keep people safe and well.
However, it is vital that careful consideration is given to ensuring the right areas are placed in the right tiers. While we welcome the way the three tiers recognise that different areas require different approaches to managing the virus, we believe that Nottingham City Council is uniquely placed to understand the best interests of its citizens.
Last month, Nottingham was placed in tier 2 before being stepped up to tier 3, alongside our partners in the neighbouring Nottinghamshire County Council. At that time, we had one of the highest rates of Covid-19 in the country. Since then, we have seen a significant and sustained reduction in the rate of Covid-19 in Nottingham City, with 40 consecutive days of falling Covid cases and counting. We now sit below the national average for rates per 100,000 population and are ranked 121st Lower Tier Local Authority nationally. I’m sure you would agree this is a dramatic and impressive turnaround.
Our rate is now 50 per cent lower than when we were last placed into tier 3. We believe our sustained lower rate of Covid-19 should be reflected in the way Nottingham is allocated a tier this time around.
Our fall in cases of Covid-19 is a reflection of the hard work which has taken place, along with neighbouring councils, the police, businesses and our city’s two universities – as well as with the local NHS. All organisations have united in a shared response to reducing the spread of the virus.
It is also, of course, attributable to the efforts of our local communities, and their support in adhering to the guidelines and restrictions in place. We feel that people in Nottingham have worked hard to bring down the rate of Covid-19 in our communities and among our older population – and that our position in the tier system should reflect this decrease.
We know that ongoing restrictions will continue to have a significant impact on our businesses, our hospitality sector and our communities. It is vital the right decisions are made for our city.
We would like the opportunity to build on Nottingham’s successful partnership work in a way that allows us more freedom to reopen key parts of our economy: to keep restaurants and indoor entertainment venues open and to ensure our city can begin to reopen in a way that is safe, supported and protected.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further.
Cllr David Mellen
Leader, Nottingham City Council