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Amendment 1

Part of Coronavirus Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 12:15 pm on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Hussein-Ece Baroness Hussein-Ece Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Equalities) 12:15 pm, 25th March 2020

My Lords, I too support the amendments in this group and the spirit in which they have been put forward. Many of us will have received briefings from various charities and organisations that are doing important work face-to-face with very vulnerable people. I declare an interest as my grandson is in lockdown in a residential unit for disabled children and children with epilepsy. As noble Lords can imagine, we as his family are very worried and concerned about the outcome of that. There are already staff shortages in that facility, as I am sure there are up and down the country.

I received a briefing from Barnardo’s and it resonated very much what with what the noble Baroness, Lady Grey- Thompson, was asking about yesterday, so I shall ask about vulnerable children and children with disabilities, many of whom may possibly be falling through the cracks and will not have support networks if local authorities are rolling back some of their duties under the Bill. It makes sense that charities and other bodies could come together under a local authority directive or umbrella to make sure that children who are in care or leaving care or who have disabilities receive care. Those who would normally be attending school and would receive support in school will not be getting that support now, so there is huge concern about thousands of children up and down the country who face incredible disadvantages and possible dangers without these systems in place and without local authorities functioning in the ways they normally would have done. Will the Minister tell us what measures can be put in place for the most vulnerable and at risk? Will the Government work with charities such as Barnardo’s and many others up and down the country to ensure that vulnerable children are identified and receive the support that they need?