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Points of Order

Volume 659: debated on Wednesday 1 May 2019

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Four Seasons Health Care provides residential care for 17,000 old and vulnerable people in 322 homes across the country and employs 22,000 staff. Some 80% of Four Seasons residents are in nursing or high-dependency beds, with only 20% of its places in residential care. Yesterday, it was announced that the Four Seasons Health Care group was going into administration. The care homes it runs are now up for sale, which leaves residents and their families facing considerable uncertainty, with no guarantees of what the future may hold.

Despite this collapse and the fragility of the care market, there is still no sign of the Government’s long-overdue Green Paper on adult social care funding, which the Secretary of State pledged to bring forward by April—not May, but April. In the last hour we have seen a written statement, but given the numbers of extremely vulnerable people affected by this situation, hon. Members should have the chance to question Ministers. Mr Speaker, have you been notified of an intention by the Government to make an oral statement to reassure hon. Members about the future care of their constituents who are resident in those Four Seasons care homes and nursing homes?

The short answer is that I have not been so notified. However, this is an extremely serious matter, which I myself of course have seen covered in the media in the last 24 hours. My advice to the hon. Lady is that she pursue the issue with her usual indefatigability. The fact that no ministerial oral statement has been proffered does not mean that the possibility of an oral exchange on the matter in the near future does not exist. There is a possibility of such an exchange, and she might wish to reflect on how she might achieve her objective.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will be aware that tomorrow in the local elections voters in Watford, Mid Sussex and North West Leicestershire will be required to take their poll cards to the polling station to cast their vote under the Government’s voter ID trial. You may also be aware that European poll cards have also dropped—before the local elections—in these three authorities. I have had an indication that the European poll cards will not be accepted tomorrow for voters who turn up in these three districts. Have you had any indication that a Minister will attend the House to clarify the situation for voters who perhaps mistakenly take the wrong poll card to the polling station tomorrow and are turned away and denied their right to vote?

I have received no indication that a Minister intends to come to the House to speak about the matter today, but it is very important that there be clarity about the voting arrangements, so I hope that the words uttered by the hon. Lady will have been heard on the Treasury Bench and that they will without delay be conveyed to Cabinet Office Ministers.

Bill Presented

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill

Secretary Michael Gove, supported by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mrs Andrea Leadsom and David Rutley, presented a Bill to make provision to prohibit the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Tuesday 7 May; and to be printed (Bill 385) with explanatory notes (Bill 385-EN).