Skills and Post 16 Education Bill: Bishop of Leeds speaks in debate

On 24th March 2022, the House of Lords debated commons amendments to the Skills and Post 16 Education Bill. The Bishop of Leeds spoke on behalf of the Bishop of Durham regarding provision for universal credit claimants:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, this House carried an amendment in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, who cannot be in his place today, concerning universal credit conditionality—this has been referred to several times—but it was not accepted when the Bill was considered in the other place.

If the Government are to achieve their levelling-up ambitions and enable individuals to secure better-paid employment with improved prospects, then it is essential to achieve greater integration of the support provided for skills development and training by the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham wishes me to say that, on these Benches, we are most grateful to the noble Baronesses, Lady Stedman-Scott and Lady Barran, for their very constructive and helpful meeting with the right reverend Prelate and their subsequent letter setting out how this better integration is being actively pursued, the range of provision open to universal credit claimants seeking to retrain, and how work coaches are able to exercise appropriate discretion when applying universal credit conditionality rules.

I know that the right reverend Prelates the Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Coventry—the latter now in his capacity as lead bishop for FE and HE—welcome the opportunity to contribute to the consultation on equivalent or lower qualifications, which will engage Peers in more detail, along with the outworking of the detail behind the lifelong learning guarantee. In the light of these assurances, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham is content not to press the matter.


Extracts from the speeches that followed:

Baroness Barran (Con): I thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leeds and his colleague the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, and similarly reassure them, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Stedman-Scott, that we would be delighted to continue to work with all noble Lords on these issues, which I know she takes extremely seriously.

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