Down Syndrome Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:59 pm on 4th February 2022.

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Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 1:59 pm, 4th February 2022

I regularly meet the Minister for Disabled People and the Minister for Employment—the three of us are often together—to talk about how we can optimise opportunities for many people across our society, but particularly those with learning disabilities. The numbers are not good enough, and we know that we have more work to do. As I said in Committee, I will return to the issue of employment in developing the Down syndrome statutory guidance. We know that good work helps people to live happier, healthier and more independent lives.

On scope, as healthcare, education and housing are devolved matters, the Bill and guidance will cover England only. However, I know that there is real commitment to improving outcomes for people with Down syndrome across the whole of the United Kingdom, and I look forward to working with my counterparts in the devolved Administrations as we develop the guidance so that we can ensure that there is consistency of approach and inclusion for people with Down syndrome across the whole of the UK.

It has been a pleasure to work with my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset in supporting the Bill on behalf of everybody with Down syndrome and their families, including my own. Its passage so far represents the very best of the parliamentary process, with MPs working together cross-party for a common purpose. I very much look forward to the Bill’s successful passage through the Lords, which Lord Kamall will oversee. He will have heard the pleas from many Members about timing, to try to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March. I commend the Bill to the House.