Lords question government on Covid-19 and data protection

15 May 2020

The House of Lords resumed business on Monday 18 May, with daily oral questions held in virtual proceedings.

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 Monday 18 May:

  • Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked the government what support it has given to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: specific UK support measures for GAVI; funding UK and international vaccine research; re-emergence of diseases previously tackled by GAVI; international collaboration on vaccine development and distribution; funding for nutrition programmes; and support for healthcare workers in refugee camps.

 

  • Lord Blunkett asked the government what steps it plans to take to adjust the restrictions in place for those isolating due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Topics discussed include: advice and support for those who are shielding from Covid-19; timelines for further guidance to those shielding; consultation of organisations who support those shielding; coordinating approaches to Covid-19 across the four nations of the UK; antibody testing; and contradictory advice received by people who are shielding or in certain groups.

 

  • Lord Stevenson of Balmacara asked the government when it intends to lay the regulation giving effect to the age-appropriate design code required under section 123 of the Data Protection Act 2018 before Parliament.

    Topics discussed include: increases in children being online and reliant on technology due to Covid-19 and a subsequent increase in potential online harms; timelines for implementation of the design code and age verification requirements; and standards for internet connected toys.

 

  • Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the government how it is addressing privacy concerns about the use of the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing application and the introduction of immunity certificates.

    Topics discussed include: recognising the service of the people of the Isle of White; implications of immunity certificates and other ID systems; location and ID tracking; exclusion of people without smartphones; delays to application rollout; and international collaboration on contact tracing apps.

The Lord Speaker also accepted the following Private Notice Question (an urgent question) from Lord Empey:

  • Lord Empey asked the government if an agreement has been made to establish customs posts at ports and airports in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021, and how this is compatible with repeated assurances from Ministers that goods moving from Northern Ireland would have free and unfettered access to UK markets.

    Topics discussed include: sharing details of plans and progress to establish controls; extending the Brexit transition period; progress to establish IT systems to manage tariff processing; conflicting information regarding the establishment of controls; and the impact of extra costs on goods sold in Northern Ireland due to customs barriers.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris

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