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Why the Liberal Democrats voted against the Coronavirus Act

October 1, 2020 11:00 AM
By Liberal Democrats
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll on people up and down the country. This pandemic has caused huge upheaval and uncertainty for families and communities everywhere.

We all want life to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Liberal Democrats worked constructively with the Government to pass the Coronavirus Act back in March. We helped ensure vital emergency measures were in place, such as enabling the emergency registration of nurses and other healthcare workers, and allowing people to receive Statutory Sick Pay from day one.

The Coronavirus Act waters down the rights to care for elderly, disabled children and vulnerable people.

We have also supported, and continue to support, many of the restrictions the Government has introduced - including the lockdowns and face-covering requirements.

But in renewing the Coronavirus Act for six more months without any amendments, we have deep reservations about the serious implications for people's wellbeing, rights and freedoms.

As it stands, the Coronavirus Act waters down the rights to care for elderly, disabled children and vulnerable people. It's unacceptable that on top of all the other hardships of lockdown, families could have the lifeline of caring support cut off completely.

We must protect the most vulnerable people in our society.

This Act also reduces safeguards for detention under the Mental Health Act, and in duties to provide support to children with special educational needs and disability.

On top of this, the sweeping powers in the Coronavirus Act also provide extra powers for police & immigration officers to detain people. The confusion among police and prosecutors has caused 141 people to be wrongfully charged.

We must protect the most vulnerable people in our society. Without any meaningful concessions from the government to keep them safe, Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the Coronavirus Act.