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Badly hit businesses fear it is ‘too late’ for Tier 2 after damaging fortnight of restrictions, MP says

Badly hit businesses have said it is ‘too late’ for Warwickshire restrictions to be relaxed during talks with Matt Western MP.

The Warwick and Leamington MP approached pubs and restaurants ahead of the government’s review into the tiered system of Covid-19 restrictions today (December 17).

Business owners say they have suffered catastrophic losses in the last fortnight after being forced to remain closed since Warwickshire went into Tier 3 on December 2.

And it was revealed last week that a request was made in November by the leader of Warwickshire County Council, Izzi Seccombe, to group the region with neighbouring Coventry and Solihull.

Mr Western claims higher case rates in Solihull led to Warwickshire being placed in Tier 3 unnecessarily.

This was despite the region entering lockdown in Tier 1.

Businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector, were previously eager to see restrictions immediately loosened so they could reopen.

But they now say their anticipated revenues for December and January would not cover the costs of reopening, particularly with the loss of financial support and relief provided by the government – and the threat of reclosing.

Mr Western said: “While we should have been in Tier 2 this past fortnight, things are moving quickly and there has been a rapid rise in the number of cases.

“Businesses that were previously devastated to have to close say opening would not be worth the risks with potential revenues so insubstantial. They say it’s too late.”

Owner of the Newbold Comyn Arms Sarah Miller said: “It’s no good reopening and then having to shut again. We wouldn’t know whether we would be able to get the stock, whether we have to serve a smaller menu, or even which employees to bring off furlough.

“It comes down to finances and I’m really fearful this could be it.”

Leamington Spa and Warwick have seen a rise in cases over the last week while Warwickshire as a whole has seen a 20% increase. However, the rolling case rate remains higher in Coventry and Solihull.

Mr Western added: “This is going to be an extremely tough call for the government, and (Labour Party leader) Keir Starmer is right to demand a review into relaxing the restrictions over Christmas.

“But in any future reviews, Warwickshire must be considered as its own region without Coventry and Solihull.

“All local councils and representatives must be involved in any discussions with the government.”