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Lords question government on victims of domestic abuse and short prison sentences on 29 June

26 June 2020

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In the House of Lords on Monday 29 June, questions to the government were on support for victims of domestic abuse, short prison sentences, the impact of Covid-19 on the airline sector and the UK's relationship with China. There was also a Private Notice Question on local government loss of income due to Covid-19.

Questions on Monday 29 June:

  • Baroness Gale asked the government what measures they are taking to support victims of domestic abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: plans to deal with an anticipated surge in demand; government funding for refuges; updating legislation to recognise children who witness abuse as victims; the recent report by Birmingham University on domestic violence and child maltreatment during the Covid-19 pandemic; the number of refugees in the UK; additional support for children that are victims or witnesses to violence; and including parental violence in the definition of domestic violence.


  • Lord German asked the government what plans they have to reduce the number of short prison sentences.

    Topics discussed include: evidence that short sentences increase re-offending; the role of the probation service; the role of rehabilitation in prison sentences; suspending the use of short sentences; community sentencing; and sentencing tariffs.


  • Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked the government about the impact of Covid-19 on the airline sector and what steps they are taking to support that sector.

    Topics discussed include: an extension of the furlough scheme for aviation; the delay to the proposed air bridges; support for the aviation industry including greener fuels for aviation; the Restart, Recovery and Engagement unit; cancelling business rates for airports; reviewing the 14 day quarantine rule; regional air connectivity; working closely with the devolved administrations; and discussions with airlines on bespoke financial support.


  • Baroness Falkner of Margravine asked the government what plans they have to reassess their relationship with the government of China.

    Topics discussed include: the UK taking a clear and united stand with allies where interests diverge from China; the Ethnic Unity Law in Tibet; UK's right to freedom of navigation on the South China sea; how many Hong Kong citizens qualify for visas or full UK citizenship; which countries the UK is working with to counter China's threats to Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere in the South China sea; UK partnership with Australia and other countries in the region; China's new security law; the independent people's tribunal report into forced organ harvesting in China; and the long term prosperity of Hong Kong.

The Lord Speaker has also accepted the following urgent question (Private Notice Question) from Baroness Pinnock:

  • Baroness Pinnock asked the government about its response to reports that five of the largest UK councils may have to issue a notice under section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, which are used when a council cannot achieve a balanced budget, as a result of loss of income due to Covid-19.

    Topics discussed include: government support in place of lost income due to Covid-19; reviewing additional spending as a result of Covid-19; council tax; Luton; advice for local authority leaders; allowing councils to carry forward deficits; council pension funds; the need for an emergency budget; the impact on cultural venues; the risks from suddenly halting services for vulnerable people; and future recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris