Emergency measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak could weaken legal protections for disabled and older people, charities and human rights groups have warned.
Campaigners say the Coronavirus Bill, which is likely to become law this week, represents a “real and present danger” to the lives of disabled and elderly people as it undermines obligations in the existing care act.
Disability Rights UK said it had “serious concerns” about the implications of the Bill on Human Rights, especially the rights of vulnerable groups, including disabled people.
It fears it will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care to society’s most vulnerable.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, opening a Commons debate on the Bill, told MPs that legislation was necessary and would allow ministers “to fight the virus with everything we’ve got”.
“Coronavirus is the most serious public health emergency that has faced the world in this century.
“We are all targets but the disease reserves its full cruelty for the weakest and the most vulnerable.”