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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 Uddin Baroness Uddin Non-affiliated 12:15 pm, 25th March 2020

My Lords, I rise to support Amendments 1 and 2. I am pleased to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Hussein-Ece, and I echo her words. I am the mother of a 40 year-old autistic and disabled son, although he does not use any services. I have been inundated by charities telling me that they are very concerned, especially charities which are serving the needs of ethnic minority disabled and elderly people who do not necessarily feel that they have the voice that others have in connecting with local and national organisations. So I welcome the idea suggested by the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, of an independent body and a voice. I echo that very much.

My second and final point is with regard to the concern expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Scriven, about the role of local authorities. Yesterday, I passionately and enthusiastically overran the guide time, for which I apologise to the House once again, because I had been inundated by groups saying that they were deeply concerned about burial issues. I noted that the Minister said that it would be up to the local authority. I am already deeply concerned that local authorities are incredibly burdened so, unless they are mandated to do so, they will not seek to talk to a wider range of groups. Yet again yesterday I was contacted in the evening by a number of organisations that say they are willing to work with the Government and local authorities to ensure the provision of extra burial places and storage facilities if the Government are looking for them.