The Prime Minister published a COVID-19 Recovery Strategy detailing how the Government plans to rebuild the UK, protect the health and safety of the British public and save lives.
The success of containing the virus so far has been hard fought and hard won. It is for that reason that the we must proceed with the utmost care in the next phase, and avoid undoing what we have achieved.
The plan which was debated in the House of Commons seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
The strategy contains three stages:
Step 1: You should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must. Anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.
Step 2: At the earliest, by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Step 3: At the earliest by July - subject to further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, if they are safe and enforce social distancing.
During the House of Commons debate, Warrington South MP Andy Carter raised the issue of childcare during this next phase and wanted clarity on whether parents would be forced to work if they couldn’t find provision for their children.
Mr Carter said:
Can I welcome the Prime Ministers statement and the maximum precaution he is taking to gradually lift these restrictions.
I’ve heard today from many constituents in Warrington who are parents of school aged children, they are keen to return to work this week in a safe way but will need some help looking after their families whilst schools remain closed.
Can the Prime Minister outline what guidance the Government is giving to parents to help them with childcare.
Responding to the question in the House of Commons the Prime Minister said he appreciates it will be difficult for some parents to go back to work if their children are not back in school.
The education secretary will be setting out in further detail how we propose to help those with childcare needs," he says.
I want to stress that if you can't get the childcare you need to get to work that is plainly an impediment to work and your employer should recognise that.
For critical workers arrangements have been made in Warrington and across the country to ensure that children can still attend an educational setting. If you are a critical worker and your setting has not already informed you about those arrangements, please contact your local authority. It is also important to note that parents will not be penalised if their child does not attend school.
For further guidance on educational settings and childcare please visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare.