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House of Lords questions government on 20 May

19 May 2020

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House of Lords business started on Wednesday 20 May with daily oral questions on refugee camps, inheritance tax, collaboration with the Irish government, dental care and reopening schools.

You can watch the full session on Parliament TV. A transcript will also be available via Lords Hansard around three hours after proceedings, and a short summary of what was discussed is available below.

Questions on Wednesday 20 May:

  • Lord Collins of Highbury asked the government about the response of international institutions to the impact of Covid-19 on refugee camps.

    Topics discussed include: actions to support the people of Yemen; support for faith-based organisations' responses to Covid-19; work to support refugees in Jordan; support for Palestinian refugees; support for refugees in Greek camps; protection for stateless women and girls; Syrian border crossings; and humanitarian evacuation corridors in Libya.


  • Lord Palmer of Childs Hill asked the government about its assessment of the amount of inheritance tax paid, the measures being taken to avoid paying any such tax; and what plans it has to ensure that inheritance tax is paid promptly.

    Topics discussed include: curbing inheritance tax evasion and loopholes in regulations; replacing inheritance tax with other systems; wider transformation of the tax system; simplifying procedures and paperwork; and considering systems used in other countries.


  • Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick asked the government what discussions it has had with the government of Ireland about the development of a co-ordinated all-island approach to the lifting of Covid-19 related restrictions.

    Topics discussed include: an all-island approach to contact tracing and a common strategy to tackle Covid-19; the anti-vaccine movement; testing and quarantine periods for travellers; restrictions concerning sport; and intergovernmental contact between the UK and Ireland.


  • Lord Farmer asked the government when it plans to allow routine dental care to resume.

    Topics discussed include: health problems caused by untreated dental issues; setting up a national plan to get dentistry back on track; financial issues affecting private dental practices because of Covid-19; NHS dental staff receiving PPE; NHS returning to routine eyecare by opticians and eye clinics; and the increase in snack buying during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lord Speaker has also accepted the following urgent question (Private Notice Question) from Lord Watson of Invergowrie:

  • Lord Watson of Invergowrie asked the government what action they are taking to publish scientific evidence which ensures the re-opening schools on 1 June will be safe for pupils, staff and parents, including the impact on the national and regional reproduction rates ("R") of Covid-19.

    Topics discussed include: regional publishing of R rates; the impact of school closures on disadvantaged children; track and trace capability; publishing papers from SAGE regarding children and education;  transmission of Covid-19 by children; risk assessments conducted  by schools; deadlines for when local authorities must decide whether to re-open; and operational defence plans for school staff and children.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris