I recently saw the figures for the proposed increase for NHS spending in Scotland. The proposed increase is lower than in England; it is lower than the money that has been passed over to the Scottish Government from UK taxpayers to spend on the NHS in Scotland. My question is: what has happened to the money for the NHS in Scotland that was given to the SNP Government in Holyrood? They have not spent it on the NHS. We know that they have many wasteful projects. Thankfully, we work very closely together on important things such as the vaccination effort, which has been a true UK success story, but this question of the missing millions for the NHS in Scotland is one that we need answers to from the Government in Holyrood.
Yes, of course. We want to get back to normal for care home residents—of course we do. We are taking steps in the right direction in England. I cannot comment on the situation in Wales; that is rightly a responsibility for the Cardiff Administration. As we progress down the road map, I hope we will be able to make further progress.
There is absolutely no doubt that we have worked together as a United Kingdom to put ourselves in a strong position when it comes to access to the Pfizer vaccine, and we have worked together to ensure that, should it come off, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be available across all parts of this United Kingdom. I pay tribute to the work that I anticipate the NHS in Wales will be doing to deliver the shots into arms across Wales, but it is a UK-wide programme and is yet another example of why the UK is so strong when it works together.
We absolutely value enormously all those who work in health and social care. Just this week I was able to say that the exemption from the immigration health surcharge has been extended right across those who work in health and social care. That demonstrates the value that we place on them.
I am a man who is an unashamed optimist. It is sometimes difficult to be an optimist in the middle of a global pandemic, but I am glad for the chance to answer my hon. Friend’s wise question with some enthusiasm because, amid the great tragedy of this pandemic, we have seen some big steps forward. The use of telemedicine and improved access to medicine for so many people through the use of technology is one example. Another is the advance and the march of British science, which has led the world not only in terms of the discovery of the first drug known to reduce the impact of coronavirus, but across the board in the scientific work that has gone on. I talked earlier about the flexibility and the system working in the NHS, which have to be the hallmark of the future of our NHS. Those are just three examples off the top of my head, but there are myriad others. Amidst this dark cloud, when we see a shard of light we must take great hope from it.
Virtual participation in proceedings concluded (Order, 4 June).
We address that in the advice, and this is a very important point. We have taken advice on how to respond to the crisis, including from our ethics committee, which includes representatives of the major religious faiths. It is true that we include religious groups in our advice about social contact. We have seen from elsewhere in the world how sometimes it is through religious gatherings that the virus can spread so, with the deepest regret and the heaviest of heart, we include faith groups and gatherings of faith within the advice.
First, the Leader of the House, Mr Speaker and the House of Commons Commission, advised by Public Health England, are best placed to come forward with guidance on the details of how this place can run should a significant number of colleagues and, potentially, staff be unwell or self-isolating.
Secondly, it is very hard, from central Government, to make sure we reach all the people who will need the sort of support the hon. Lady describes. This is best done through local authorities, which is why we have introduced a £0.5 billion fund for local authorities essentially to do whatever they think is necessary in these circumstances.
Yes, absolutely. This is a four-nations approach, and the Welsh CMO is in daily contact with the English CMO, the Scottish CMO and the Northern Irish CMO. Indeed, they are also working with the chief medical officer of the Republic of Ireland. The basis of the scientific advice is the same across the four nations. Although, as my hon. Friend reports, there are no cases in north Wales, I am afraid this virus will continue to spread and we should expect there will be a case in north Wales before too long.