Turing Scheme and child welfare in Lords questions for government
7 January 2021
At the start of business each day in the House of Lords, members question government activities and decisions in Lords Questions.
This week, from Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 January, members quiz the government on the Turing Scheme, family courts, child welfare, the costs of gambling on tax payers and the Green Homes Grant scheme.
Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat) questioned the government on its discussions with P&O Ferries about proposals to discontinue the Hull- Zeebrugge passenger ferry. Members discussed topics including government support to keep routes open, green shipbuilding and the levelling up agenda.
Baroness Walmsley(Liberal Democrat) quizzed the government on its assessment of the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity 'The Future of Obesity Services'. Members discussed topics including obesity support in front-line health services, promoting healthy diets and making them affordable, and standards for food in hospitals, schools and care homes.
Lord Truscott (Independent Labour) pressed the government on its plans to implement recommendations in the report by the Law Commission 'Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease'. Members discussed topics including delays to leasehold reform, ground rent escalations and commonholds.
Baroness Garden of Frognal (Liberal Democrat) quizzed government on applications for the Turing Scheme. Members discussed opening opportunities beyond schools and colleges, replacing the two-way exchanges that the Erasmus scheme offered, and attracting students from the EU to study in the UK.
Baroness Hayman (Crossbench) asked a Private Notice Question (urgent question) on putting the remit and independence of the House of Lords Appointments Commission on a statutory footing. Members discussed numbers of appointments and the report of the Lord Speaker's committee on the size of the House.
Baroness Deech (Crossbench) checked government action on improving the capacity of family courts and support for divorce litigants. Members discussed topics including remote hearings, family hubs and legal aid.
Lord Oates (Liberal Democrat) quizzed the government on the effectiveness of the Green Homes Grant scheme. Members discussed creating a long term scheme, the number of contractors involved in the scheme and the delivery of schemes in England, Scotland and Wales.
Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown (Democratic Unionist Party) asked the government about the financial support they have provided to UK religious groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members discussed topics including the role of faith communities during the pandemic, eligibility to access the Cultural Recovery Fund and tax relief.
Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour) pressed government on the impact on UK law enforcement of the loss of access to EU databases and replacement of the European Arrest Warrant. Members discussed the impact of changes, future cooperation with Europol and Eurojust.
Lord Watson of Invergowrie (Labour) asked a Private Notice Question (an urgent question) on COVID-19 and examination scheduling. Members discussed topics including arrangements for BTECs, support for children and young people in vulnerable circumstances, and support for people with special educational needs.
Baroness D'Souza (Crossbench) asked the government about the appointment of a Cabinet-level minister with responsibility for policies relating to the welfare of children. Members discussed enhancing the role of the Children’s Commissioner and setting up a permanent cross-party group to consider welfare when drafting policies concerning children.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative) pressed the government on support for leaseholders who cannot sell or mortgage their properties as a result of issues with cladding. Members discussed support for leaseholders who are shared owners of their homes but are responsible for defects such as cladding, plus ensuring that property developers and insurance companies accept their share of the responsibility.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans (Bishop) quizzed the government on the cost of problem gambling to taxpayers. Members discussed the costs of NHS gambling clinics, the potential harms of gambling advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of gambling on family relationships.
Lord Robathan (Conservative) questioned the government on the impact of restrictions in reducing COVID-19 spread. Members discussed the impact of lockdowns on the economy, supporting the NHS with volunteers and financial support for those who cannot afford to self-isolate.
Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench) asked a Private Notice Question (urgent question) on the government's response to the arrest of more than 50 people, including pro-democracy politicians and campaigners, under the national security law in Hong Kong. Members discussed the UK’s support of autonomy in Hong Kong and plans to deploy Magnitsky sanctions against identifiable Chinese officials and collaborators.