Older People: Covid-19

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)

What steps her Department is taking to support older people during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Our priority has been to continue delivering the state pension and pension credit to new and existing customers. We also supported those in the shielding group who would normally have had to rely on cash through the post office to cover their weekly outgoings.

Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)

We know that elderly and disabled people, especially those living alone, are less likely to access online platforms. During this covid pandemic, knowing the rules and understanding the ideas and information behind them is critical, so will this UK Government be re-establishing regular briefings, including British Sign Language translation, as we have in Scotland, so that no one misses out on vital information?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The hon. Member is absolutely right to highlight the importance of accessible communications. It was an issue raised particularly in the early stages that we then shared cross-Government. I am delighted that BSL, for example, was then picked up by the BBC and that is then provided. Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s statement to the House was also simultaneously interpreted by a BSL interpreter. That was a very valid point to raise.