Newcastle MP to question Minister on support for new mums during Coronavirus

Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, is to lead a parliamentary committee session on Thursday 11th June, questioning the Government about support for new parents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Petitions Committee, which Catherine chairs, is conducting an inquiry after over 220,000 people signed a petition calling for maternity leave to be extended for three months with pay due to Coronavirus.

Last month MPs held two evidence sessions on the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on maternity leave, maternal mental health, childcare and adoption, where the Committee heard from experts and parents who had been directly impacted by the outbreak.

This week Catherine will lead MPs in putting questions to the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully MP.

Speaking ahead of the session, Catherine said:

“Having a new baby is challenging at the best of times and I know this from personal experience as a mum of three. However, when a new mum is isolated at home, unable to receive the expected professional support from health visitors and clinicians, that challenge has undoubtedly become greater, and is causing a lot of understandable anxiety for new mums and calls for something to be done about it.

“Our committee has heard from parents concerned about the impact on their child’s development, about the challenges of returning to work and accessing childcare during lockdown, and from experts on maternal mental health. We’ve been told we’re the first generation that has the science to know conclusively how parental mental health impacts children in their formative years, and that the Government has a clear responsibility to do something about it.

“So far the Government’s response falls short of what is needed and we will be pressing the Minister to go further to address concerns of hundreds of thousands of new parents calling for change.”

The evidence session will start from 14:30 on Thursday 11th June. The session will be broadcast live on Parliament TV and on YouTube.

Catherine also wrote an article for The House magazine about why this issue matters: