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This Week in Westminster - Friday 4 December

Whilst there is great news about the vaccine, the fallout from COVID-19 will still continue and we must be prepared to use our collective voice to speak up about the direction we want this country to take.

News of the vaccine being approved by the UK regulator has dominated the news this week, with this spark of good news adding some light to what has so far been a miserable and grey December.

The first batch of the vaccine should start to be distributed at the start of next week, with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommending that the top priority should be residents in a care home for older adults and their carers. This will be followed by all those over 80 years of age and over as well as frontline health and social care workers.

There are some logistical challenges with the rollout of the vaccine, such as the Pfizer vaccine needing to be stored at -70C which poses some problems for rolling the vaccine out in care homes as fridges will not be sufficient for storage.

Discussion around an impending England children’s care review continues, with the Children’s Minister Vicky Ford MP responding to a written question about the review saying that the Department for Education is preparing to launch the review as soon as possible.

Next week in Parliament is currently quiet, with much of the focus being on the Internal Market Bill and the Taxation (Post-Transition Period) Bill, and no social care-related Westminster Hall debates.

The BASW Westminster team will be looking ahead at what we’re expecting in the New Year, and whilst there is great news about the vaccine, the fallout from COVID-19 will still continue and we must be prepared to use our collective voice to speak up about the direction we want this country to take.

In May, there are elections in England, Wales and Scotland so this will be a key opportunity to make social work a key issue ahead of voters going to the polls to cast their votes.