Health and social policy by topic

Health and social policy includes the following topic areas. Please click the links to access lists of publications by topic:

Coronavirus

  • The Government has announced that the England-wide Covid-19 restrictions commonly referred to as ‘lockdown 2’ will not be renewed past 2 December 2020. The restrictions are to be replaced with a revised tier structure for England similar to the one in place before the second lockdown. The revised tiers form part of the Government’s Winter Plan, which was announced on 23 November 2020.

  • Rough sleepers have been identified as an at-risk group who are vulnerable to contracting and spreading Covid-19. The Government has launched several schemes to support local authorities and their partners to provide covid-secure accommodation to those sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. In November 2020, the Government launched the Protect programme, which provides targeted funding throughout the winter to support areas with high numbers of rough sleepers.

  • Almost 200 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently being developed. Ten candidates, including the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, are currently in largescale phase 3 clinical trials. This article provides an update on the Covid-19 vaccine, looking at when a candidate is likely to be available for deployment, who will be prioritised when a candidate becomes available, and how the vaccine will be distributed internationally.

View all briefings on coronavirus

Education

  • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Education has said it expects to see an increase in the number of apprentices being made redundant. The Government has laid regulations which would allow apprentices who are made redundant to continue to receive funding to complete their apprenticeship through an alternative provider.

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has had multiple effects on the lives of young people. These include worry for vulnerable family members and a change in normal routines. School closures have often exacerbated feelings of isolation and loneliness. Young people with existing mental health needs may have experienced a disruptive break in regular care as a result of the pandemic. This article examines the impact the pandemic has had on young people’s mental health, and what the Government’s response is.

  • Children whose parents or guardians get certain benefits, and all children up to year 2, are entitled to a free school meal during term time. During the Covid-19 pandemic the Government introduced supermarket vouchers to cover the cost of a meal while the schools were closed. This scheme was extended into the Easter, May half term and summer school holidays. On 14 September 2020, Baroness D’Souza is due to ask the Government what assessment they have made of extending a programme of free meals and activities into all future school holidays.

View all briefings on education

Families and social services

View all briefings on families and social services

Health

  • The Government has announced that the England-wide Covid-19 restrictions commonly referred to as ‘lockdown 2’ will not be renewed past 2 December 2020. The restrictions are to be replaced with a revised tier structure for England similar to the one in place before the second lockdown. The revised tiers form part of the Government’s Winter Plan, which was announced on 23 November 2020.

  • Medicinal and agrochemical products can be granted a Supplementary Protection Certificate, an intellectual property right associated with patents, to provide up to five years of additional rights and protections once their patents have expired. In order to apply for an SPC, a product must receive approval to be sold on the UK market. Under the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol, products to be sold in Northern Ireland must obtain approval under EU law, whilst products to be sold in the rest of the UK will obtain approval under UK law. Currently, this marketing authorisation is only given on a UK-wide basis. This regulation amends the market authorisation process to enable authorisations to be granted for the Northern Ireland market only and for the Great Britain market only.

  • There is currently a system for mutual recognition of health and social care qualifications within and between European Economic Area states and Switzerland. The UK has passed legislation amending its provisions in this area to take account of its exit from the EU. In recent agreements with Switzerland and the European Free Trade Area states, the UK committed to conditions for these countries which go further than the legislation that has already been passed. The European Qualifications (Health and Social Care Professions) (EFTA States) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 would implement these commitments.

View all briefings on health

Housing

  • Rough sleepers have been identified as an at-risk group who are vulnerable to contracting and spreading Covid-19. The Government has launched several schemes to support local authorities and their partners to provide covid-secure accommodation to those sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. In November 2020, the Government launched the Protect programme, which provides targeted funding throughout the winter to support areas with high numbers of rough sleepers.

  • In August and September 2020, the Government made several changes to the planning system in England. It introduced secondary legislation creating new permitted development rights and making changes to use classes. Five of these statutory instruments are being debated in the House of Lords on 27 October 2020. This article provides a summary of these instruments and the scrutiny they have received so far in Parliament.

View all briefings on housing

Welfare and pensions

View all briefings on welfare and pensions