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Lords oral questions to government on 30 April

29 April 2020

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Members of the House of Lords questioned government on Covid-19 and the conflict in Syria on Thursday 30 April. This session was held in a virtual proceeding.

Questions on Thursday 30 April:

  • Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle asked the government what plans it has to protect the prosperity and wellbeing of British citizens from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the United Kingdom's gross domestic product, and the global economy.

    Topics discussed include: adopting a 'post-growth' approach to economic recovery; productivity rates and learnings of the 2008 financial crisis; refining support schemes; impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health; plans to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, the unemployed and those on zero hours contracts; support for farmers; long term support plans; and discussion on quantitative easing offered to citizens.


  • The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked the government what assessment it has made of the ongoing conflict in Idlib, Syria.

    Topics discussed include: Actions to prevent a new crisis arising from Covid-19 among those affected by the conflict; actions to fight terrorism in the region; supporting aid routes into Syria; holding states to account for violating international law; humanitarian access to Idlid; and progress to end the conflict.


  • Lord Fox asked the government how much money the British Business Bank has disbursed to financial institutions to support British businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: barriers to funding imposed by banks; increasing government guarantees on loans; disclosure of financial support by companies that receive it; creation of a central support product comparison site; allowing greater flexibility for support eligibility; plans for a demand stimulation programme; involvement of the UK fintech sector in support schemes; and interest rate caps and early repayment penalties.


  • Baroness Boycott asked the government what steps it is taking to ensure that any fruit and vegetables ready for harvest during the COVID-19 pandemic are harvested.

    Topics discussed include: wages for people involved in harvesting and the impact on food prices; sourcing workers from across the four nations of the UK; use of technology in harvesting; fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK; impact of the current furlough scheme end date on availability of workers; and actions to support locally grown food.


  • A private notice question (urgent question) was also granted to Lord Watson of Invergowrie. Lord Watson of Invergowrie asked the government what steps it is taking to safeguard vulnerable children in care during the COVID-19 pandemic following recent legislative changes.

    Topics discussed include: changes to regulations in response to Covid-19 restrictions; foster care; education provision for vulnerable children; sharing best practice between authorities; consultation with voluntary organisations before changes to regulations were made; meeting the requirements of young people with complex needs; and changing of regulations without parliamentary scrutiny.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris