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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 Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:34 pm, 18th March 2020

My hon. Friend makes a very important and sensible point, and I will make sure that that is given some further thought. I thank him for raising it in the debate today.

One of the questions the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South raised was about PPE, and she was right to do so. We need to make sure that the care sector has the PPE that it needs. I would like to update the House that free distribution of fluid-repellent facemasks from the pandemic flu stock will start today, with every care home and every care provider receiving at least 300 facemasks that will be distributed through the usual channels. It will take seven days to distribute the full amount, but it is a good start to make sure that people have the PPE that they need. We are of course also thinking about beyond next week, and we are working rapidly with the wholesalers to ensure the longer-term supply of all the aspects of PPE, including gloves, aprons, face masks and hand sanitiser, which the hon. Lady also raised.