NORTH Shropshire MP Owen Paterson has once again called for the county to be separated from Telford & Wrekin ahead of the Tier review on Wednesday.

Mr Paterson originally criticised the banding together of the two unitary authorities when the new tiers were announced after the country left lockdown on December 2.

He believes that Shropshire on its own would be placed back into Tier 1, meaning that hospitality providers in the area would be able to return to normal functioning level.

"I've looked at (Monday's) figures and we're still very low in Shropshire," said Mr Paterson, who admitted he expects Shropshire to remain in Tier 2.

"We got bumped up to Tier 2 because of Telford & Wrekin and I had a lot of support for what I said first time around.

"I'm not asking for anything special – I'm just asking to go back to the original geographical area on which we were judged when these tier systems started.

"I just want Shropshire to be on its own. The two are independent in everything else so it's makes no sense for them to be judged together.

"I've written to Matt Hancock about it."

Mr Paterson began his week meeting hospitality providers around Oswestry, including Sweeney Hall and specialist 'wet pub' i.e. no food provided, the Bailey Head.

He admitted hearing of their predicaments under the current regulations has left him aggrieved on their behalf.

He added: "These guys in hospitality are really struggling.

"They got through the first lockdown, they've found it really difficult recently and if they don't go back to Tier 1, they're in real trouble.

"It's tragic meeting these people because we know they're really good businesses – the Sweeney is a really good business.

They've done everything asked of them.

"I just want to go back – tiers were brought in on the Shropshire unitary being judged as one area and I want to return to that.

"It's only because we've been mixed in with Telford & Wrekin that we've been bumped up – that's very unfair on areas in north Shropshire where the cases are so low that they don't count."