Norfolk MP seeks assurance over further lockdown measures

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. Picture: Supplied by Duncan Baker

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. Picture: Supplied by Duncan Baker - Credit: Archant

A local MP has called for further coronavirus restrictions to take into account the lower infection rates in areas like Norfolk.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Duncan Baker, Conservative MP for North Norfolk, put the question to health secretary Matt Hancock at the House of Commons on Monday.

He said: “My constituency of North Norfolk and widely in Norfolk has seen some of the lowest infection rates in the entire country and that is thanks to the dedication and sacrifice that many people have made in my area.

“Can you assure me that any further major national restrictions will absolutely reflect the low levels of infections in constituencies like mine?”

The health secretary said further national and local restrictions was a “critical balance to get right.”

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Mr Hancock added: “My honourable friend makes an important point. He actually represents the oldest constituency in the country and so this is an important matter for him and his constituents.

“It comes back to this central point that the balance between the measures we take nationally and the measures we take locally, according to local rates of infection, is a critical balance to get right.”

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It comes after Mr Hancock announced a support package for people on low incomes who need to self-isolate.

In a statement, he said: “Self-isolation can be tough for many people especially if you’re not in a position to work from home.

“I don’t want anyone having to worry about their finances while they’re doing the right thing.

“So we will introduce a new £500 isolation support payment for people on low incomes who can’t work because they have tested positive or are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.”

Mr Hancock also announced an exemption for caring purposes for those living with local restrictions.

He told the Commons: “I’ve heard the concerns about the impact of local action on childcare arrangements. For many, informal childcare arrangements are a lifeline, without which they couldn’t do their jobs.

“So, today I’m able to announce a new exemption for looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults where that is necessary for caring purposes.

“This covers both formal and informal arrangements. It does not allow for play-dates or parties, but it does mean that a consistent childcare relationship that is vital for somebody to get to work is allowed.”

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