The Government has introduced emergency legislation relating to their response to coronavirus.
All the measures in the coronavirus bill are temporary, and proportionate to the threat we face. It is important that they will only be used when strictly necessary, and will only be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation.
The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that sufficient staff are available, and deployed where they are most needed, as well as supporting members of the public, containing and slowing the virus, and managing the deceased with respect and dignity.
Local authority support for disabled people
It is important to state that local authorities will still be expected to do as much as they can to comply with their duties to meet needs during this period, and the legislation does not remove the duty of care towards an individual's risk of serious neglect or harm.
These powers would only be used if demand pressures and workforce illness during the pandemic meant that local authorities were at imminent risk of failing to fulfil their duties and only last the duration of the emergency. It would ensure that local authorities will continue to be able to deliver the best possible care services during the peak and to protect the lives of the most vulnerable members of society.
Concerns surrounding cremations / burials
I joined over 100 parliamentary colleagues in supporting Naz Shah MP’s amendment to the Covid-19 Bill.
I am now pleased to inform you that the Government has listened and the Covid-19 Bill will be amended to respect the strict laws around burial in the Muslim and Jewish faiths.