Local Government: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to devolve decision-making on local COVID-19 restrictions to local government; and if they have any such plans, whether district councils in two-tier local government areas will be included in the bodies making those decisions.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Central Government is working closely with local areas through the Joint Biosecurity Centre, NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England to support local decision-making and keep Ministers updated on outbreaks. Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 18 July, local authorities have new powers to impose restrictions in respect of venues, events and public outdoor places. These powers are in addition to the existing powers they have under diverse legislation such as public health, health and safety and environmental health laws. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care retains the ability to direct local authorities to take action, and to consider whether any use of these new powers is appropriate. Where more restrictive powers are needed, this will be a matter for Ministers. At every step, central Government will remain integral to the response and will ensure it is appropriate to protect the public.

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