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Lords questions government on social care, vaccines and more

2 October 2020

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At the start of business each day in the House of Lords, members seek information and raise concerns in questions to government.

This week, from Monday 5 to Thursday 8 October, members press the government on issues including social care complaints, support for the transport industry, new ships for the Royal Navy and vacancies for GPs.

Catch up: Monday 5 October

Catch up: Tuesday 6 October

Catch up: Wednesday 7 October

Catch up: Thursday 8 October


Catch up: Monday 5 October 

Baroness Greengross (Crossbench) pressed the government about handling adult social care complaints following the suspension of all casework by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman due to COVID-19.
Members discussed introducing a statutory appeal system for adult social care and support for families who wish to care for their loved ones at home.

Baroness Bakewell (Labour) quizzed the government about provisions for those with learning difficulties and autism during the pandemic.
Members discussed topics including care for older people with disabilities, reopening centres for the disabled and helping autistic children back to school.

Baroness McDonagh (Labour) questioned the government about the impact on school students’ ability to learn from home due to COVID-19.
Members discussed topics including methods for measuring data poverty, government criteria for supplying computers and keeping schools open in order to improve social mobility. 

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Conservative) challenged the government on the impact of quarantine provisions on civil aviation.
Members discussed COVID-19 testing at airports and suspending business rates to support airports.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) asked the government an urgent question (private notice question) about reports that it is considering establishing asylum processing centres in British Overseas Territories and housing those who are seeking asylum on disused ferries.
Members discussed topics including delays to asylum applications and tackling the root causes for displaced people worldwide.


Catch up: Tuesday 6 October 

Baroness Randerson (Liberal Democrat) questioned the government about support for the transport industry to help it address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members discussed current difficulties within the coach industry, emergency funding agreements with Transport for London and ensuring train operators collect fares from passengers.

Lord Lexden (Conservative) pressed the government about the next meeting and agenda for the UK Government-Northern Ireland Executive Joint Board. Members discussed topics including support for the aerospace industry in Northern Ireland and establishing a UK government hub in Northern Ireland.

Lord Duncan of Springbank (Conservative) questioned the government about the delivery of payments to victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Members discussed speeding up the timescale to process payments and offering compensation first to those who served on the front line. 

Baroness Boycott (Crossbench) quizzed government about criteria for identifying sponsors of COP26. Members discussed topics including measures to avoid greenwashing, benefits for those who offer sponsorships and upskilling workers within the green economy.

Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom (Conservative) asked an urgent question (a private notice question) on Post Office prosecutions. Members discussed referring further action to the Crown Prosecution Service, and the amount of money spent on opposing the sub-postmasters’ appeals.


Catch up: Wednesday 7 October 

Lord Dubs (Labour) questioned the government about the shortage of social care workers for residential care homes and domiciliary care. Members discussed subjects including government manifesto commitments, plans to fill vacancies, training for social care staff and support for unpaid workers who care for family and friends.

Lord West of Spithead (Labour) pressed the government about value for money to the taxpayer of building the new Fleet Solid Support Ships in the UK or overseas. Members discussed the effects of shipbuilding on local communities, the UK’s post-COVID industrial recovery strategy and using British companies to build military assets.

Lord Rooker (Labour) challenged the government about the cost to the taxpayer of requiring food business operators in England to display the relevant food hygiene rating score at the entrance to premises. Members discussed topics including the uneven pattern of food inspection rates across the country and when it will become mandatory for food outlets to display their hygiene ratings.

Baroness Falkner of Margravine (Crossbench) questioned government on conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Members discussed subjects including the UK’s discussions with NATO and other like-minded countries to encourage a ceasefire in the region.


Catch up: Thursday 8 October 

Baroness Sherlock (Labour) questioned the government about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income families with children and support provided by the social security system. Members discussed the increase in UK poverty rates, the value of employment coaches and preventing evictions for families with school-age children.

Lord Polak (Conservative) asked the government about the United Nations arms embargo on Iran. Members discussed topics including methods to stop the spread of arms in the region.

Lord Clark of Windermere (Labour) quizzed the government about vacancies for GPs in the NHS for England in July and comparable figures for five, and 10 years previously. Members discussed subjects including virtual and telephone appointments, support for the mental health of frontline practitioners and waiting times for GP appointments. 

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour) asked the government about the survey conducted by Shelter into the experience of renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members discussed anxiety caused by debt, demand for social housing and the quality of private rental properties.