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The Commons will consider whether to implement new restrictions to enable the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, renew parts of the Coronavirus Act, continue using virtual proceedings and other ways of working due to the pandemic, and debate the Coronavirus Act one-year status report. 

A motion on regulations relating to public health

This motion is to approve new regulations implementing coronavirus restrictions in England: the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021. These implement coronavirus restrictions in different ‘steps’, the Government has referred to these as the “Roadmap Regulations”.

The regulations would provide legislation for the measures in Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, published on 22 February 2021. There is no requirement to stay at home in the regulations but there are now explicit restrictions on international travel leaving the UK, from England. This means that, in the absence of the previous order to stay at home, restrictions on leaving the UK will remain.

A motion on the renewal of temporary provisions under the Coronavirus Act 2020

Under Section 98 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, a six-monthly parliamentary review of parts of the Act must take place. The motion is: “That the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 should not yet expire.”

The review is only of provisions which are both (a) temporary and (b) non-devolved.   An example of a provision that is subject to the review is section 77 of the Act, which makes arrangements for the “up-rating” of certain social security benefits. However, section 76 used to establish the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furlough’) is not temporary and will not form part of the review. 

In its statutory one-year report, the Government indicated that it will bring forward regulations after the Easter recess to end some of the temporary provisions of the Act.

A motion on the one-year status report on the Coronavirus Act

This motion is: “That this House has considered the one-year report on the status on the non-devolved provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020.”

Under section 97 of the 2020 Act, the UK Government must publish, every two months following Royal Assent, a report stating how the non-devolved provisions of the Act are being used. The sixth of these reports is the “one-year status report”. The report was published on 22 March 2021.

Section 99 of the Act provides that there must be parliamentary debates of this report, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

A motion on an extension to the parliamentary proceedings during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, several changes have been introduced to parliamentary proceedings, such as virtual participation in debates, an extension of proxy voting and a suspension of debates in Westminster Hall.  

The temporary arrangements on parliamentary proceedings during the pandemic lapse on 30 March. A motion to extend these arrangements until 21 June will be considered during the debate on Thursday afternoon.

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