Government delay in responding to report is disappointing, says Chair of the Petitions Committee
15 December 2021
Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, has reacted to the Government’s delay in responding to the Committee’s report on the Impact of Covid-19 on new parents.
In a letter dated 13 December, Maggie Throup MP, a Minister in the Department for Health and Social Care, states that the Government's response will be delayed while they coordinate with other departments. The Government’s response was expected by 7 December, as the Government is expected to respond to all select committee reports within two months.
The Committee’s report, published in October, made a number of recommendations to the Government calling for better support for new parents and their babies, including for a dedicated covid-19 recovery strategy for new parents, and additional ‘catch-up’ mental health support.
Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said:
I am disappointed the Government has failed to respond to our report on the impact of covid-19 on new parents on time. New parents, who have faced an accumulation of adversity during the pandemic, could be forgiven for seeing this delay as yet another sign that the Government is ignoring them.
While I appreciate our report calls for coordinated action across Government, it is vital that Ministers provide a meaningful response to our constructive recommendations at the earliest opportunity, to ensure new parents are not let down any further.
The Committee's latest report on the impact of covid-19 on new parents found that little progress had been made on the vast majority of the recommendations made by the Committee in its first report on this issue, published in July 2020.
In addition to calling for additional mental health support funding, which the Government has now announced, the Committee requested that the Government publish a dedicated covid-19 recovery strategy for new parents. Other key recommendations include:
- Provide additional funding and resources to allow catch-up mental health support for new parents impacted by covid-19 and accelerate planned capacity-building in perinatal mental health services
- Fund local authorities to arrange in-person visits to new parents by the appropriate local authority, voluntary organisation, or health visiting staff by the end of the year
- Review monitoring and enforcement activity relating to employers’ health and safety obligations to pregnant women
- Legislate as soon as possible to introduce the planned extension of redundancy protections for new and expectant mothers
- Commission a review into the funding and affordability of childcare which will consider how to provide greater financial security to the sector following the pandemic and ensure childcare provision meets the needs of new parents seeking to return to work
The Government was expected to respond to the Committee’s recommendations by 7 December, and petitioners will be informed once the late response has been received and published.
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