Vote: EU Withdrawal Agreement

On 14th January 2019 the House of Lords voted to pass a motion tabled by Baroness Smith of Basildon to reject a no-deal Brexit and regret the impact of the Withdrawal Agreement. The vote was advisory, ahead of the ‘meaningful vote’ in the House of Commons. Five Bishops voted, whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury attended and spoke in the debate but abstained in the vote.  Continue reading “Vote: EU Withdrawal Agreement”

Bishop of Lincoln urges tolerance and respect for diversity in Brexit debate

Lincoln 150318 bOn 14th January 2019 the House of Lords debated the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. The Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, spoke in the debate. His full speech, and extracts of the remarks of those who followed and made reference to his speech, are below:

Continue reading “Bishop of Lincoln urges tolerance and respect for diversity in Brexit debate”

Archbishop of York advises Government to remember lessons learnt from Stephen Lawrence inquiry when defining Islamophobia

york-170117On 14th January 2019 Baroness Finn tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the potential consequences of adopting an official definition of Islamophobia.’ The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, asked a supplementary question:

Continue reading “Archbishop of York advises Government to remember lessons learnt from Stephen Lawrence inquiry when defining Islamophobia”

Bishop of St Albans raises cholera epidemic in Yemen

Bishop St Albans June 2015On 14th January 2019, Lord Ahmed tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.’ The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises cholera epidemic in Yemen”

Week in Westminster 7th-11th January 2019

This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke in debates on the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, and the welfare of girls in conflict-afflicted countries. 

They asked questions on benefit reforms and the impact on children, Iranians seeking asylum in the UK, child refugees, and Universal Credit. The Bishop of Durham welcomed the Government’s announcement on the two-child limit on welfare benefits.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions on cathedral choirs and disability discrimination legislation. Continue reading “Week in Westminster 7th-11th January 2019”

Bishop of Durham Welcomes Universal Credit Announcement

From the Church of England website:

Following comments by the Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd on changes to Universal Credit, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, who speaks for the Church of England on issues relating to children and young people, said:

“As a just and compassionate society, we believe that every child is a blessing and deserves to be treated equally.

“So I very much welcome today’s announcement that the two-child limit policy will not be extended to children born before the policy came into effect in April 2017. I also welcome the Government’s more considered approach to moving people on to Universal Credit from the old benefits system.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham Welcomes Universal Credit Announcement”

Bishop of Gloucester asks about impact of benefit reforms and two-child limit on families with children

On 10th January 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government on benefit reforms and the impact on children. She specifically raised the issue of the two-child limit. A Government announcement on that was made the following day. The response to the question and to the Bishop’s subsequent question and those of other Members, can be seen in full below:

Benefit Reforms

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of benefit reforms on families with children.

​The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Buscombe) (Con): My Lords, this Government support families. Our welfare system supports those who are vulnerable and helps people into work. These reforms are working, with 3.3 million more people in work and 300,000 fewer children in absolute poverty than in 2010, a record low. Once fully rolled out, universal credit will result in an extra 200,000 people moving into work and will empower people to work an extra 113 million hours a year to support their families.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: I thank the Minister for her Answer and I am grateful for recent engagement with faith and other groups on this issue, but the Government’s own statistics show that child poverty is rising among families with more than two children, even when those families have an adult in work. One of the principal drivers of this increase is the Government’s two-child limit, which makes it harder for parents of more than two children to work their way out of poverty, contrary to the aims of universal credit. In light of this evidence, will the Government reconsider that two-child policy? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about impact of benefit reforms and two-child limit on families with children”