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Parliament: Coronavirus

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, with reference to the Office for National Statistics report of 11 May 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by occupation, England and Wales, what assessment the Commission has made of the level of potential risk to parliamentary security and cleaning staff.

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee

The Commission is aware of the current evidence which shows that those from a BAME background and those who are older have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, with specific underlying conditions further increasing the risk of severe illness. The House service has a clear policy that all staff who are not business-critical do not come on to the estate; persons who are vulnerable and/or shielding are instructed to work from home. This policy applies to all staff, not just those in the security or cleaning teams.

The report issued by the Office for National Statistics discusses research findings; the Commission will review the potential risk to parliamentary security and cleaning staff as soon as the recommendations for the actions expected of a reasonable employer are issued by Public Health England, the Health and Safety Executive or other similar body.

In the interim, local and corporate Equality Impact Assessments have been carried out and measures introduced where necessary.

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