South Tyneside MP highlights plight of local pubs before voting against Tier system

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne highlighted the plight of local pubs in her constituency before voting against the tiered system which will see the North East face the toughest restrictions.

Kate Osborne and Emma Lewell-Buck both voted against the restrictions alongside six other MPs from constituencies in the North East.

The House of Commons voted by 291 to 78 – a Government majority of 213 – for the new restrictions on Tuesday evening (December 1).

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Speaking ahead of the vote, the Jarrow MP highlighted the struggles faced by local people and businesses – especially in the hospitality industry – before calling for the Government to make it a ‘priority’ to ensure it is financially possible for everyone with Covid symptoms to self-isolate.

She also praised community pubs including the Red Hackle In Jarrow and landlord Lee Hughes for their ‘great work in supporting kids in our community when the Government refused to fund free school meals over the half-term period’.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Osborne said: “When we were last in the three-tier system, my constituency started in tier 2. It then went into the national lockdown and we are now going into tier 3. It simply did not work, which is why I call on the Government to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated and that no area is left behind.

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"It is irresponsible of the Government to insist that those in tier 3 put up with further hardship, while at the same time encouraging a national knees-up during the Christmas period. This irresponsibility is likely to lead to another devastating national lockdown in January.”

Later adding: “Many in communities such as mine live financially week to week, month to month. If they are forced to self-isolate for two weeks, it means a further slide into debt and rent arrears. Making it financially possible for everyone with Covid symptoms to self-isolate must be a priority now for the Government.

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MP Kate Osborne highlighted the plight of pubs in her region before commending establishments like the Red Hackle and landlord Lee Hughes for their efforts to support the community.

“It is also grossly unfair that local businesses in my region are set to lose out compared with areas of the country that have spent less time in restrictions. The one-off nature of the £20 a head business support grant means that local authorities must stretch out funding for as long as they are in tier 3.

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"And the tier 3 restrictions are devastating for community pubs such as the Red Hackle in Jarrow, which has been doing great work in supporting kids in our community when the Government refused to fund free school meals over the half-term period. I pay tribute to Lee and the team there.”

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck echoed concerns and says there is no actual plan on how mass testing will be carried out.

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Speaking in the House of Commons ahead of the vote, she said: “I know that this is not easy for any of us, and we are grappling with a virus that, quite frankly, we still do not know enough about. But I also know that what is currently being done, and what we are about to repeat, has not worked and I do not think will work this time.

"Today I will be voting against these measures because I absolutely must do what I feel is best for my wider community.”

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