Lords considers new regulations and raises concerns
22 July 2021
The House of Lords scrutinises secondary legislation, recommending changes and raising concerns.
Between 19 and 22 July, members highlighted issues with new regulations on calorie labelling, COVID-19 testing and mandatory vaccinations in care homes.
Tuesday 20 July
The House of Lords raised concerns regarding regulations on mandatory vaccines for care home staff on Tuesday 20 July.
The House debated a motion of regret in relation to regulations on madatory COVID-19 vaccinations for care home staff. Members also debated regulations on COVID test devices and a motion to regret on provision of free COVID-19 testing.
Care home staff vacination
The motion put forward by Baroness Wheeler (Labour) regrets that the operational guidance for mandatory care home staff vaccination will not be available until the end of July (after the regulations come into force), and that an assessment on the impact on care homes, if staff become ineligible for work, has not been published.
Members speaking debated the regulations and the regret motion. The House voted 221 for, 211 against, so the motion to regret the regulations was agreed.
Catch up on Parliament TV. Read a Lords Hansard transcript, available from three hours after the debate.
Thursday 22 July
The House debated a motion put forward by Baroness Bull (Crossbench), stating that new calorie labelling rules for takeaways and restaurants will not tackle obesity and will be damaging for people living with eating disorders.
In addition, a further motion put forward by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe (Labour) regrets that the regulations do not extend to alcohol.
Catch up on the debate on Parliament TV or read a Lords Hansard transcript.
Read the House of Library briefing on the calorie labelling regulations.
Looking at the small print
The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, which examines all statutory instruments, has drawn the vaccination of care home staff and calorie labelling regulations to the special attention of the House.
It has also published a report following its meeting with the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment.
What are the regulations?
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 make it mandatory for anyone working in a care home to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus unless subject to medical exemption.
The Medical Devices (Coronavirus Test Device Approvals) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 sets out the approval process for COVID-19 test devices before they are made available on the market.
The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021 require cafés, restaurants and takeaway food businesses with more than 250 employees to provide information on the food and drink that they sell for immediate consumption in kilocalories (kcal).
Delegated legislation – also known as secondary legislation – is used to fill in the details of Acts of Parliament, providing many of the practical measures that enable the law to operate in daily life and to be enforced. These details are provided in regulations, orders or rules, generally known as statutory instruments (SIs).
Role of the Lords
Although the power to make SIs is delegated to ministers, about a third require some form of parliamentary scrutiny. This scrutiny is an important part of the checks and balances on the government.
There are two Lords committees dedicated to this area of legislation: the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.
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