Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown questions PM on need for lockdown in Gloucestershire

2nd November 2020

Ever since I heard of the proposals to lockdown the whole country my instinct was that it was not necessary for Gloucestershire and the South West, the latest figures I received on Friday 30 October ahead of my weekly call with NHS Glos Officers showed a far lower incident rate than in other parts of the country, although I accept that cases are increasing quite fast https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/media/2102316/early_covid19-_indicators_slides_public_2910.pdf

Given this I am very concerned about the lack of risk assessment, considering the impact on people’s liberties, mental health, jobs, and businesses. Today I have asked for further evidence that the NHS nationally will become overwhelmed if we do not lockdown at this time, I have heard the argument that this could cause a substantial knock-on effect to areas such as Gloucestershire and I have requested to see this evidence before the vote this afternoon. 

Following the Prime Minister's statement to the Commons on Monday I asked why, when we have had comparatively few cases in Gloucestershire, he has abandoned local measures for a national lockdown.

 

Would my right hon. Friend be very kind and explain to my constituents, who contacted me in their hundreds over the weekend worried about their mental health, their jobs and businesses, why in Gloucestershire, which had only one hospitalised death last week, it makes any sense to lock down all those people?

That is exactly why we wanted to pursue the local approach for so long, and that is why I think it was always right to try to avoid a national lockdown for as long as we could. The difficulty is that the overall rate across the whole country is now speeding up and the virus is doubling across the entire country. I would be happy to publish all the data, as my hon. Friend knows.

Hansard

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Planning White Papers

I have submitted my responses to the two planning consultations: “Changes to the current planning system’ and “Planning for the future’.

These planning changes are one of the most significant events to affect the Cotswolds since WWII. I think that both papers contain positive proposals, in our case commitments to protect the AONB. The proposal to abolition Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) should speed up the planning process and it is important that the money is retained locally so that the infrastructure can be built at the same time as the development. 

Too often we see a development being built long before the supporting infrastructure, which I know can cause significant issues for existing residents. The proposals to simplify and speed up local plan-making and retaining neighbourhood plans where possible are welcome, in that design codes can be specified so it should be possible to protect our unique Cotswolds vernacular.   

I spoke in the planning backbench business debate on the 8 October and called for a change to the algorithm the Government uses in its planning White Paper which fails to take account of local variations and concentrates all new house building in the south-east and central south of England. 

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