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BASW in Westminster: Autumn Recess

Kerri Prince, Public and Political Affairs Lead for BASW UK, provides an update from Westminster.

The House of Commons has been in recess over the last week, which is normally the time that Members of Parliament would be carrying out constituency work, catching up with their team of staff, and making visits to local groups and organisations.

But we are not in normal times, and many MPs will be busy trying to keep on top on what COVID-19 is doing to their local area, what impact it is having on their constituents, and worrying about moving into a different tier of lockdown.

But as MPs return to Parliament on Monday, it will come as no surprise that the main debate of the day will be on COVID-19, with a Westminster Hall debate relating to school attendance.

Wednesday will bring the Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination Bill back to the House of Commons to consider amendments proposed by the House of Lords. This may well be the last of the ‘ping pong’ sessions, as it is likely the House of Lords will concede to the higher status of the Commons and the Bill will then move forward to Royal Assent.

On Wednesday there will also be a debate on sexual abuse and exploitation, at Westminster Hall. Although Westminster Hall debates do not change government policy and there are no votes on these proceedings, it is a great opportunity for MPs to get an issue debated and to guarantee a response from the Minister.

Parliament is incredibly fast-moving, and business can change with the shortest of notices. As we look ahead to the coming months, the Labour Leader has said that the Opposition will push for another vote on free school meals if the Government do not agree to fund this ahead of Christmas.

We also continue to wait for the Government to make any movement on Social Care reform, but in the meantime BASW will be working with Parliamentarians to ensure our voice is heard at all opportunities.