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Local Government Responsibilities: Public Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 18th March 2020.

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Photo of John Baron John Baron Conservative, Basildon and Billericay 3:34 pm, 18th March 2020

I welcome this as a nudge in the right direction. Although I appreciate the “dear colleague” letter we have all received and what the Minister has just said, there is still a vulnerable group of people who risk being overlooked by the Government’s initiatives, and that is the elderly and vulnerable who live on their own, whether or not they are ill. There is a risk that they will be inadvertently overlooked in such a scenario and in such extraordinary times. As a society, we have to reach out to them.

I urge the Minister to look at this again because, at the moment, that group does not feature in any Government initiative. The Government should be sending a clear message that they will provide whatever support it takes for local councils to reach out to those people. Many may be in rural settings, but there may be a lot in the city, too. Local councils should reach out, locate them, identify them and offer help, if necessary tying in local charitable causes or charities to help them in that assistance. The message must go out to local government to reach out, because we do not want anyone to be left behind.