Following the First Minister’s decision to keep Edinburgh at level 3 Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has today written a joint, cross-party letter to the First Minister urging her to reconsider this decision. The letter has been signed jointly with Miles Briggs MSP (Conservative), Daniel Johnson MSP (Labour) and Andy Wightman MSP (Green). The text of our letter is as follows:
Dear First Minister
Your decision to keep Edinburgh in Level 3 of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions We write to you on a cross party basis as MSPs representing the City of Edinburgh. Yesterday you announced your government’s decision to keep Edinburgh at level 3 the 2nd highest classification of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. We now understand that this was contrary to recommendations of public health officials who had advised you that a move to L2 would now be appropriate given the continued suppression of the virus in the capital. Edinburgh has existed at level 3 for 2 months and yet we have kept infection rates to level 2 parameters for several weeks.
In your statement yesterday, you stated that your reason for retaining Edinburgh’s Level 3 classification was your concern that the city’s shopping and hospitality sector would act as a magnet for people outside of the city. While all of our parties continue to support the 5 level framework for infection control and the measurements and criteria that underpin it, being an attractive destination for shopping and hospitality has never featured in that framework. It’s also not something that we have the power to change. Pre-Christmas shopping and revelries will give way to the January sales- there will always be a magnetism about the city.
Many of our constituents and local business owners are now understandably concerned that Edinburgh will exist in Level 3 for the remainder of the emergency, despite their extraordinary efforts to observe all the rules and bring infection rates down. We would never ask you to take unnecessary risks in the management of this terrible virus. That is why we support the framework wholeheartedly, but your decision has deviated from the application of that framework and it is now unclear under what circumstances the city would be stepped down to level 2. This will have a profound impact on the wellbeing of local citizens and the health of the city’s economy. We urge you to reconsider the decision to keep Edinburgh at level 3.
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP (Edinburgh Western)
Daniel Johnson MSP (Edinburgh Southern)
Miles Briggs MSP (Lothian)
Andy Wightman MSP (Lothian)