Lords question government on mental health services and ultra-processed foods on 2 July

01 July 2020

On Thursday 2 July, members questioned the government on the impact of Covid-19 on high street retailers and mental health services, reducing the availability of ultra-processed foods and prioritising environmental projects.

A short summary of what members raise and discuss is available on this page.

Questions on Thursday 2 July from 11am:

  • Baroness Barker (Liberal Democrat) asked the government what steps it is taking to ensure that mental health services are available in acute and community care settings during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Members discussed topics including: additional funding for mental health services in light of the Covid-19 pandemic; the role of churches and faith communities in responding to mental health needs; funding for new community projects and 24/7 helplines; increased rates of violence and harm; government implementation of plans for child mental health; reforming the Mental Health Act 1983; increased prescribing on antidepressants and funding for psychological therapies; appointing a national wellbeing guardian for NHS and care staff; and testing and support for those with diabetes.


  • Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick (Non-affiliated) asked about the impact on high street retailers of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Members discussed topics including: additional support to prevent job losses in the retail sector; support for small, local precincts of shops; a reduction in VAT; returning staff to offices; business rate reform; ending the stay at home message; re-opening other high street industries; retailers in isolated areas; consumer confidence in returning to high streets; and the environmental benefits of shopping locally.


  • Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (Green) asked the government what plans it has to reduce the amount of ultra-processed foods available for purchase in the UK.

    Members discussed topics around ultra-processed foods and how they represent 57% of the calories in the British diet; the connection between them and obesity and the comparison of consumption between Europe and the UK. In addition, discussions on the Prime Ministers proposed obesity strategy; implementing advertising restrictions; improving food labelling and encouraging large companies to help promote a more balanced and nutritious diet.


  • Lord Randall of Uxbridge (Conservative) asks the government about its plans to ensure environmental projects will be given priority in its economic growth strategy.

    Members discussed topics including: ensuring new developments will not impact environmental protections for local habitats and wildlife; UK-wide house insulation schemes; government plans to produce the world’s first zero emissions long-haul passenger plane; a green recovery from Covid-19; supporting British overseas territories that apply for funding for environmental projects; government consideration to establish a cross-departmental body to oversee the delivery of net-zero; and a new green investment bank.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris

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