MP’s are recommending in a new report that the Government should publish a dedicated covid-19 recovery strategy for new parents, bringing together all Government actions to support this group, with a clear delivery plan.
The Petitions Committee are calling on the Government to provide additional funding and resources to allow catch-up mental health support for new parents impacted by covid-19 and accelerate planned capacity-building in perinatal mental health services.
Local authorities should be funded in order to arrange in-person visits to new parents by the appropriate local authority, voluntary organisation, or health visiting staff by the end of the year.
They say that there shold be a review into monitoring and enforcement activity relating to employers’ health and safety obligations to pregnant women and the Government should legislate as soon as possible to introduce the planned extension of redundancy protections for new and expectant mothers.
There should aslo be a review into the funding and affordability of childcare, to consider how to provide greater financial security to the sector following the pandemic and ensure childcare provision meets the needs of new parents seeking to return to work
Catherine McKinnell MP, said:
“It is extremely concerning that over a year after the publication of the committee’s first report on this subject, there has been little or no progress on the overwhelming majority of our recommendations.
The Government has offered no ‘catch-up’ funding to help new parents access support services disrupted during the pandemic, and no targeted funding to provide extra mental health support specifically for new parents.
It has also failed to deliver the extension of redundancy protections for new parents it promised in its response to our report last year.
Although the Government’s plans for long-term capacity-building in areas such as perinatal mental health and children’s development in the first 1001 days are positive, these do not go far enough to address the immediate needs of new parents or their children.
We have continued to receive petitions highlighting the difficulties new parents, and the services they rely on during the vital early months of their child’s life, have continued to face over the last year. It is clear that the impact of the pandemic is still being felt.
The Government must now reconsider its response and urgently take action to put in place support.
It has been incredibly valuable to hear from petitioners and experts on this subject, and the committee will continue to challenge the Government to bring forward the changes we have concluded need to be made.”