Tuesday 3rd November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I entirely agree with the noble Baroness. We are working very closely with local authorities, and they do indeed have significant resources and powers to do local contact tracing. In fact, there are more than 128 local authority contact tracing teams in place around the country, with more to come. I am sure she will be aware of the Liverpool pilot scheme, which we are hoping will be successful and roll out. Everyone living and working in Liverpool will now be offered a Covid test, whether they have symptoms or not. Whole-city testing aims to protect those at highest risk and find asymptomatic cases in order to prevent and reduce transmission in the community, exactly as the noble Baroness said. If this approach works—and we are looking to roll it out—we are hopeful that it will play a significant role in doing exactly what the noble Baroness says in helping to make sure that local authorities and local areas can bear down quickly and effectively on outbreaks within their area.

Lord Bruce of Bennachie Portrait Lord Bruce of Bennachie (LD) [V]
- Hansard - -

My Lords, yesterday the Prime Minister, in his characteristic style, said that the same terms would be available to Scotland if it went into lockdown later than England, yet this seems to be have been qualified by Robert Jenrick today, who said that it was a matter for the Chancellor. Scotland is watching to see whether the current restriction levels will bring about a sustained fall in the infection rate or whether more stringent measures will be needed. I am happy to acknowledge the £7.2 billion of additional support provided by the Treasury to Scotland, but we do not want a lockdown just to qualify for furlough, so clarity is needed. Will the same support now being given to England be available to Scotland if it has to follow the same route on a later timescale beyond 2 December?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the noble Lord for acknowledging the £7.2 billion of funding for Scotland. This intervention has saved nearly 1 million jobs in Scotland, which I am sure is very welcome. As we have said, the furlough scheme is a UK-wide scheme, and it will always be there for all parts of the UK.