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BASW in Westminster - Christmas edition

More doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been issued this week around the UK, and we’ll really see a ramping up of jabs being given out in January as people at the top of the priority list get their vaccine

By Kerri Prince, BASWs Public and Political Affairs Lead

The House of Commons went into recess yesterday with MPs not due to return to Westminster until the 5th January – although there has been talk of a potential Brexit deal requiring MPs to return to Parliament late-December to push the deal through all the stages of the Commons, Lords and Royal Assent in just one day.

More doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been issued this week around the UK, and we’ll really see a ramping up of jabs being given out in January as people at the top of the priority list get their vaccine. There has been a bit of a public debate about whether the Christmas relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions is a good idea and arguments in favour of stricter measures – but it doesn’t look like Boris Johnson will change course. Instead, it looks like there may be a third England lockdown after Christmas, with Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland free to choose which course they wish to take.

For those like me who are fascinated by local government finance, you may have already seen the Local Government Secretary of State Robert Jenrick announce the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, with the burden for funding adult and children’s social care shifted onto Councils who are able to charge residents more council tax as well as the social care precept.

Robert Jenrick said local authorities would have to take into account the financial circumstances of their residents – which means that the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 may have the least funding to support much-needed services. We know that those who live in poverty are most likely to need social work support, but it may be that the local authorities that the poorest people live in are the least able to fund the services needed.

In 2021, we can expect to see a review of children’s care in England, a decision on whether to retain the temporary £20 Universal Credit uplift, and perhaps even the long-awaited social care green paper – but I wouldn’t hold my breath!

Have a great end to 2020, and I’ll be back here in 2021 with more updates about what’s happening in Westminster.