Women are affected by the covid-19 lockdown in different ways. Women shoulder greater caring responsibilities and are balancing work with childcare. Some women need immediate access to reproductive and maternity services. They are often financially vulnerable, and financial vulnerability will be exacerbated by the lockdown. Every Government Department is playing its part in considering how the virus and the lockdown are affecting all vulnerable groups of people.
As a mother with three young children aged six, three and seven months, I assure the House that no one is looking forward to nurseries and primary schools opening more than me. Access to childcare is crucial to supporting mothers, particularly single mothers with young children, to return to work when it is possible, and we are working closely with the sector, but schools and other providers will remain closed, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, until the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to reopen.