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This Week in Westminster: Friday 20 August

Kerri Prince, Public and Political Affairs Lead, provides an update from Westminster after Parliament was recalled this week

Recalling Parliament

Although the UK Parliament doesn’t normally sit in August, the Government decided to recall MPs for just one day to debate the situation in Afghanistan. There was no vote in the Commons, which led to some questions as to the point of Parliament being recalled.

Why are MPs being summoned back to Westminster if nothing is going to change? There is some merit to that argument, but it is also important to remember that getting information from the Government about what they are doing, how it happened, and what their future plans are is key.

Members of Parliament were able to stand up, on live TV, and ask tough questions to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary – who couldn’t just walk away and not answer. Holding decision-makers accountable is a key aspect of our parliamentary system, and one that there is every point in using. If you want to see the full debate, you can watch it online.

APPG’s

The House of Commons has gone into recess again, with MPs back in September. One of the key issues that BASW will be focusing on are the remaining sessions for the two All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Social Work inquiries that are being conducted.

The APPG is ‘owned’ by David Simmonds MP and Barbara Keeley MP as co-chairs, and BASW UK provides the secretariat function.

The two inquiries are on health and care integration, and children’s social work models. After the evidence sessions have concluded, the APPG will draft reports in the name of the APPG that will be shared with key stakeholders such as the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for Education.

All the remaining evidence sessions will be live-streamed on BASW’s Facebook page.

Legislation

The Health and Care Bill will start its committee stage in the Autumn, and we’re also expecting the committee stage of the Nationality and Borders Bill. The Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill will go to the House of Lords to continue its passage through Parliament.

Universal Credit

A policy change that will devastate the weekly budget of thousands on Universal Credit, the Government are ploughing ahead with cutting the weekly Universal Credit allowance by £20. This could force households into choosing between heating and eating, and will have a detrimental impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of so many people.

BASW is against this cut, and believes that there needs to be a sufficient support system – which includes enough money to live well on.