22nd Apr, 2021

Judicial Review challenge to Tier 3 rejected by the Government

EFFORTS by Stratford district to overturn its placement in Tier 3 have been rejected by the Government.

The district, which currently has a Covid-19 rate of 45 per 100,000 – three times less than that of Redditch which is in Tier 2 – challenged the decision through a judicial review.

Councillor Tony Jefferson, the Leader of Stratford District Council, had argued that Stratford received more than six million visitors last year and that there were 9,000 jobs reliant upon tourism and hospitality, and as a result of Covid its economy was the fourth worst affected in the country.

In a statement he said: “The infection rates, at the point that the Government made its tiering decision to place Stratford-on-Avon District in Tier 3, demonstrated that we were amongst the lowest in the country.

“Of 30 local authorities in the West Midlands, only Malvern Hills District Council had a lower rate of infections than Stratford-on-Avon District.

“Seven local authority areas in the West Midlands with a higher infection rate than did Stratford-on-Avon District were placed in Tier 2. Indeed, one Tier 2 authority had an infection rate nearly three times higher than Stratford-on-Avon District.

“The rates for Stratford-on-Avon District continue to fall and the latest position shows that the current rate for the district is 45.4 per 100,000 over seven days, with only a handful of authorities, including Cornwall, nationally having a lower rate.

“It has to be stressed that all our indicators are relatively low and the trend is still downward.”

However in response the Government’s legal department said the district, which includes Alcester and Studley, had been clustered with all of Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry on the grounds of the serious and imminent threat to public health, and to do so at a lower level would have ‘resulted in a ‘patchwork quilt’ which would have been confusing for the public and led to a lack of compliance.

Furthermore, unknown to Stratford district, the County Council had ‘requested the approach of considering tiers at public health, upper tier authority level along with clustering with Coventry and Solihull’.

Coun Jefferson said: “Whilst this is not the response we had hoped for, we do accept that Government had to make a decision on an appropriate geography to make its assessment.

“However, we did note that in some areas of the country decisions were made on a more granular level.”

The tiering system is due to be reviewed by the Government on December 16.

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