The legal bases for national unlocking defined before the vote
- New “roadmap regulations” defined today before the next easement phase take place on March 29
- The one-year review of the coronavirus law proposes a series of measures to expire or suspend. The measures to be pursued are essential and proportionate – to deliver the roadmap and maintain the tools necessary to continue to fight this virus and to support families and the economy through it
- Before Parliament’s vote on the roadmap and the coronavirus law on Thursday, March 25
The government today set regulations that will pave the way for easing all restrictions from June 21 and are making proposals to maintain support for the most vulnerable, businesses and public services.
Government support programs such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme were quickly rolled out under the coronavirus law, providing income for many families and a lifeline for thousands of people. ‘businesses throughout the pandemic.
Thanks to the extraordinary success of the historic UK vaccination program, with more than half of all adults now vaccinated, and the public’s commitment to play their part, infection and hospitalization rates have dropped dramatically .
The regulations set out today mean that from March 29, outdoor gatherings of 6 people or 2 households will be allowed, including in private gardens.
The government has made it clear that the roadmap to exit lockdown is cautious, but irreversible. It sets out the measures that must continue in order to protect the hard-earned progress and ensure that the nation can meet the 4 tests that will allow further unlock. A full review will be done before moving on to step 2 of the roadmap which will be on April 12th.
Along with the roadmap regulations, the government today released a review of the coronavirus law ahead of a vote in parliament, which sets out 15 measures that will expire or be suspended after the Easter recess because they are no longer essential to the national response to COVID-19.
It explains which measures of the Act will be retained and how they will help support businesses and individuals, strengthen the capacity of health and care services and ensure the delivery of essential public services.
The law ensured the NHS had the capacity to cope with the peak of the virus by allowing the temporary registration of nurses and other healthcare professionals. It allowed the courts to use video technology and allowed the government to put in place support programs such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Program and the Self-Employed Income Support Program, which provided a source of income for families and a lifeline for many people. companies. It also gave businesses access to loan programs, which have provided over £ 72bn in business support with over 1.5m loans approved.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Today we are defining the legal bases which, if approved by Parliament, will allow the roadmap to be removed from containment.
These measures have been vital in reducing infections, hospitalizations and deaths across the country, and thanks to the commitment and support of the people, we have made great progress.
We are rightly ending as many national measures in the safest way possible, while maintaining those that remain necessary and proportionate to help reduce and further control infections as we cautiously but irreversibly ease restrictions and our historic vaccination program continues at a steady pace.
The regulations tabled today will be voted on by Parliament on Thursday and, if approved, will replace the “all levels” regulations that were passed to enact the tier system late last year.
Temporary measures in the coronavirus law require a renewal vote every 6 months as part of the government’s commitment to properly review the coronavirus legislation. The powers of the law have been thoroughly reviewed and those no longer needed will expire, and only the most important and proportionate measures will be maintained.
Maintaining the law will continue to provide important support to individuals and businesses and will allow essential public services to function. The law allows the leave scheme, virtual hearings and extension of statutory sick pay to continue for as long as needed, to support those who need it most during this difficult time.
When this bill was introduced in Parliament, the government made it clear that it would only retain these powers as long as necessary to enable us to respond effectively to the pandemic. Due to welcome progress in our fight against this virus, the government is now able to expire and suspend a series of measures within the law.
While the vote will provide the legal basis for the law to remain in force for an additional 6 months, the law as a whole and all of its provisions are reviewed in a report tabled every 2 months. Roadmap regulations must also be subject to statutory review every 35 days.
In total, 12 provisions will be completely removed from the coronavirus law. This is in addition to the mental health powers that were removed in December for England:
Sections 8-9 (applies to UK): emergency volunteers. These provisions were to come into force if the delivery of health services was threatened by the pandemic. Despite significant workforce pressure in healthcare and social services, other measures such as NHS professionals, other agency and bank workers and the Bring Back Staff (BBS ) were more appropriate to meet the need for trained clinical staff. As such, these powers have not yet entered into force.
Section 15 (applies to England and Wales and will expire for England): Care Act Easements (DHSC). Some obligations to local authorities are relaxed under this section, allowing them to streamline the assessment and billing of care retrospectively. There is strong stakeholder support to remove this provision. Eight local authorities in England have used the powers but the power has not been used since June 29, 2020
Article 24 (applies to the United Kingdom) (Home Office): extension of the retention periods for fingerprints and DNA profiles, allowing their retention for an additional 6 months beyond the normal deadlines. This power cannot be extended beyond the time when regulations expire in March without primary legislation.
Articles 25 to 29 (applies to UK) (Defra): Require information from businesses and people involved in the food supply chain. Gives the power to demand information such as an interruption in the food supply if it is refused voluntarily. The information has been provided voluntarily and is not necessary
Section 71 (applies to UK) (HMT): signatures of the Treasury Commissioners; allows a single HMT commissioner to sign instruments and act on behalf of commissioners, instead of requiring the signature of all commissioners.
Section 79 (applies to England) (MHCLG): extension of Business Improvement Districts (BID) agreements. BIDs, local business partnerships established through voting, have now successfully completed polls and 43 are expected to introduce polls before expiration in March 2021
Article 84 (applies to England) (MHCLG): postponement of the General Synod elections. Allows the Queen to postpone the dissolution of the General Synod of the Church of England and therefore to postpone the elections to the General Synod
In addition, the following 3 provisions will also be suspended:
Article 22 (applies to the United Kingdom): appointment of Temporary Judicial Commissioners (JC)
Article 23 (applies to UK): time limits relating, for example, to emergency warrants under the Investigative Powers Act
Section 58 / Annex 2, Part 2 (applies in UK and will be suspended in England): Allows the issuance of instructions under Part 2 if it was believed that death management was not organized correctly