Thank you for contacting me about the emergency legislation relating to the Government's response to coronavirus.
I would like to reassure you that all the measures in the coronavirus bill are temporary, and proportionate to the threat we face. It is important that they will only be used when strictly necessary, and will only be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation.
The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that sufficient staff are available, and deployed where they are most needed, as well as supporting members of the public, containing and slowing the virus, and managing the deceased with respect and dignity.
With regard to local authority support for disabled people, it is important to state that local authorities will still be expected to do as much as they can to comply with their duties to meet needs during this period, and the legislation does not remove the duty of care towards an individual's risk of serious neglect or harm. These powers would only be used if demand pressures and workforce illness during the pandemic meant that local authorities were at imminent risk of failing to fulfil their duties and only last the duration of the emergency. It would ensure that local authorities will continue to be able to deliver the best possible care services during the peak and to protect the lives of the most vulnerable members of society.
I recognise your concerns about measures relating to cremation outlined in the Coronavirus Emergency Act passed last week. I understand provisions have been included in the act to ensure that people’s choices for family and friends can be adhered to, and that support services for families are in place, even in times of great stress. Ministers assure me there should be no public health reason or capacity reason why someone who wished to be buried would be cremated.
I do hope you find this information useful; I will continue to monitor this issue and scrutinise the steps the Government is taking closely. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Member of Parliament for Woking