Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley: My Lords, although it is strange to describe people who are, not surprisingly, worried about the current situation as suffering mental health problems, we should be concerned that so many young people are worried and stressed at present. Will my noble friend reassure any young people who have exaggerated fears of Covid-19 that they are more likely to be killed by lightning? I expect that many more young people have justified worries about the threat to their education and future job prospects. Will he abandon the physical distancing rule in schools and colleges, where it is unnecessary, and cut it to one metre elsewhere to enable the economy to recover?

    Lord Bethell: My noble friend is entirely right that the fears described as mental health issues are about not only Covid itself but the economic and social consequences. The impact on mental health of the financial crisis 10 years ago was profound, and largely driven by fears of economic hardship. That is paramount. Reducing the distancing is not currently government policy, but we have that under review and news is expected.