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Asylum, help for theatres and reaching net zero emissions in Lords questions to government

25 September 2020

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The House of Lords questions government decisions and action in Lords questions at the start of business each day. 

This week, from 28 September to 1 October, members quiz the government on issues including reforming the asylum system, support for theatres during the COVID-19 pandemic, and consideration of the wider benefits of net zero emissions.

Catch up: Monday 28 September


Lord McNally (Liberal Democrat) questioned the government on help for regional theatres to survive the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members discussed a range of topics, including the contribution of regional theatres to local areas, support for regional music and opera, and preventing redevelopment of cultural venues.

Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate (Conservative) pressed the government on reforming the asylum system.
Members discussed topics including the UN refugee convention, the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme and victims of modern slavery and trafficking.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative) quizzed the government on publication of the next energy White Paper.
Members discussed topics including low-carbon electricity sources, aviation and carbon capture.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno (Liberal Democrat) asked government about assisting with medical and funeral expenses of those who had COVID-19.
Members discussed topics including additional fees charged by care homes as a result of the pandemic, the costs of funerals and the impact of public health funeral costs on local authorities.


Catch up: Tuesday 29 September


Baroness Doocey (Liberal Democrat) pressed government on measures to protect the victims of child trafficking affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Members discussed topics including guardians for children trafficked to the UK, tackling conspiracy theorists and workplace inspections to identify child and adult victims of trafficking.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester questioned government on the level of funding provided to the Female Offender Strategy. Members discussed topics including community sentences as an alternative to custody, government funding for the strategy and the development of residential centres.

Baroness Northover (Liberal Democrat) questioned government on the current political situation in Hong Kong. Members discussed a range of topics, including restrictions on academic freedom for British schools in Hong Kong, the EU withdrawal agreement, and creating alliances with like-minded countries.

Baroness Thornhill (Liberal Democrat) quizzed the government about amending the Licensing Act 2003 to enable enforcement of the 10pm closing time. Members discussed topics including the impact of a 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector, the scientific reasoning behind the new restriction and giving authorities powers to help ensure all premises comply with the law.

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall (Labour) asked a Private Notice Question (an urgent question) on the Jobs Support Scheme and performing arts organisations. Members discussed a range of topics, including the viability of performing arts businesses under post-furlough arrangements, the impact on freelance workers, and other measures including business rate and VAT cuts.


Catch up:  Wednesday 30 September


Lord Young of Cookham (Conservative) questioned the government on arrangements to compensate customers whose holidays are cancelled. Members discussed subjects including companies using loopholes to avoid paying refunds, travel restrictions, travel insurance cover and financial support for travel and transport industries.

Lord Scriven (Liberal Democrat) quizzed government on use of exposure notification systems in mobile telephone operating systems. Members discussed topics including track and trace app effects on mobile phone battery life, app availability on older smartphones and avoiding QR code scams.

Baroness Donaghy (Labour) asked government about current safety testing standards for polyethylene chest plates. Members discussed using alternative materials such as aluminium ceramic or boron carbide, tests carried out by the Mail on Sunday and updating 1980s safety standards.

Lord Collins of Highbury (Labour) questioned the government on violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Members discussed subjects including US involvement in mediation efforts, talks with the Turkish government and working with like-minded countries to help avoid conflict in the region.


Catch up: Thursday 1 October


Baroness Browning (Conservative) quizzed the government on use of Do Not Resuscitate notices in hospitals and nursing homes since March. Members discussed respect for patients who wish not to be resuscitated, training for healthcare workers discussing DNR with next of kin and the benefits of living wills.

Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row (Conservative) pressed the government on a new sentencing tariff for those who intend to commission a crime and kill a member of the emergency services. Members discussed topics including government measures to deal with terrorism offenders and a review of sentencing for those who cause life-changing injuries to emergency workers.

Baroness Hayman (Crossbench) questioned the government on whether the Net Zero Review will take into account co-benefits in calculating the costs and investments needed to reach net zero emissions. Members discussed subjects including discussions with the devolved administrations on targets, diminishing green spaces in industrial cities and a review of agriculture and domestic food production.

Baroness Massey of Darwen (Labour) questioned the government about encouraging the uptake of the NHS COVID-19 application. Members discussed the cost of the app compared to other EU countries, evidence of success from the Protect Scotland app and compatibility with older mobile phones.