EASTBOURNE MP Caroline Ansell may have voted with the government to extend Lockdown by four weeks – but she isn’t convinced.

The Prime Minister suffered a massive rebellion from Tory backbenchers who oppose further rules on civil liberties grounds and due to the damage to the economy.

MPs voted 461 to 60, a majority of 401, on Wednesday to approve regulations delaying the easing of the measures.

Caroline voted with Boris, but this is what she has said today:

“I know many people in Eastbourne and Willingdon were as disappointed and frustrated as I was to hear that the lockdown roadmap had been paused until 19th July.  

This is a blow to our hospitality and tourism sectors here in the town that were looking forward to becoming restriction free on 21st June.   

On the plus side, our town is in the midst of a staycation boom but ‘Freedom Day’ later this month would have boosted recovery from the carnage that Covid has brought to such important industries and big employers.  

It was with a heavy heart that I voted for the 28 day pause but I did so to avoid any risk of easing now only to lockdown again later and after fifteen long months, to buy four more weeks in the race between the vaccine and the virus.  In the meantime, I will be in touch with the Treasury to make the case for the 5% VAT reduction to continue until the end of the year and not end in September as originally planned.  

With 1 in 4 jobs in Eastbourne dependent on tourism, I have lobbied relentlessly for support to help the sector build back better from the pandemic and last week the Government unveiled a Tourism Recovery Plan which has been welcomed by leaders in town.   

The plan aims to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023 – both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.  

New initiatives include a £10 million National Lottery Days Out scheme to support attractions and a new ‘staycationers’ rail pass to encourage domestic breaks and make it easier and more sustainable for domestic tourists to get around the country.   

The new pass will build on the success of the BritRail pass, which is sold through VisitBritain and currently gives international visitors flexible travel across the country.”