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Health and Social Care

Volume 689: debated on Monday 22 February 2021

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021

The following is an extract from the debate in the Second Delegated Legislation Committee on Monday 8 February 2021.

Fixed penalty notices for those caught attending illegal gatherings, such as house parties, of more than 15 people will double for each successive offence, up to a maximum of £6,400. There is one point on which I will not have to write to the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston. He asked, “Why 15? Why is that the number?” This will just take the number of questions to be answered down by one. This is the new fine for attending larger gatherings, where there is a higher risk of spreading the virus, which goes back to my point that we know how and where the virus travels and where it is most transmissible. It was the scientists who decided this: it was seen as the right level, balancing public health risk versus social impact—for example, the impact on larger households. There continues to be a fine for breaching covid regulations, including by attending a gathering of 15 or fewer.

[Official Report, Second Delegated Legislation Committee, 8 February 2021, c. 21.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health:

An error has been identified in my response to the debate.

The correct response should have been:

Fixed penalty notices for those caught attending illegal gatherings, such as house parties, of more than 15 people will double for each successive offence, up to a maximum of £6,400. There is one point on which I will not have to write to the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston. He asked, “Why 15? Why is that the number?” This will just take the number of questions to be answered down by one. This is the new fine for attending larger gatherings, where there is a higher risk of spreading the virus, which goes back to my point that we know how and where the virus travels and where it is most transmissible: it was scientists who advised this. Fifteen was seen as the right level, balancing public health risk versus social impact—for example, the impact on larger households. There continues to be a fine for breaching covid regulations, including by attending a gathering of 15 or fewer.