Thank you for contacting me about the Coronavirus Act.
The Coronavirus Act is a vital piece of legislation in our national response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Among a range of necessary provisions, the Act continues to support the NHS in retaining emergency staff, ensure Statutory Sick Pay is available to support self-isolation and enables remote participation in court proceedings.
I would like to reassure you that all the measures in the Act are temporary, and proportionate to the threat we face. They have only been used when strictly necessary and are only in place for as long as deemed necessary to respond to the pandemic effectively. The Government formally reviews the Coronavirus Act 2020 every six months, which allows Parliament an opportunity to expire any temporary provisions that are no longer necessary to manage COVID-19. As part of the third six-month review of the Act, it is welcome that the Government has removed provisions that are no longer necessary or proportionate. Parliament had an opportunity to debate and vote on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act on 19th October. I would like to reassure you that a vote was carried out in the form of a voice vote, which is simply a vote without a division.
Provisions that have been expired include powers to temporarily close schools and other education settings, impose restrictions on potentially infectious persons, including detention, and restrict or prohibit gatherings or events and to close or restrict access to premises. The Government has laid regulations before the House to make this happen and I will be scrutinising these closely. I am sure you will agree that it is only the measures vital to our continuing response to the pandemic that remain.
The remaining temporary powers in the Act will expire in March 2022 and I am told that, in Spring, the Government will review the legislation and other remaining measures to decide whether any need to remain.