Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill – Bishop of St Albans calls for temporary increase in universal credit to be made permanent

On 13th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, I add my words of welcome to the noble Lord, Lord Field of Birkenhead, and the noble Baroness, Lady Stuart of Edgbaston, and look forward to their maiden speeches.

I welcome the Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill. Pension credits are vital for the welfare of low-income retirees and it is right that measures are taken to support them in this challenging time. However, there is certainly scope for going further.

Accusations relating to intergenerational fairness are not entirely unfounded. While I am for uprating the basic state pension, providing a guaranteed rise of 2.5% at a time when millions have lost income due to the pandemic, I realise that it will raise questions over whether this Government represent the entire country or just those who are older. Continue reading “Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill – Bishop of St Albans calls for temporary increase in universal credit to be made permanent”

Trade Bill: Bishop of Blackburn supports amendments on sustainable development goals, environmental, health and food standards

On 8th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in committee. The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in support of amendments that would:

  • require parliamentary approval of both negotiating objectives and of free trade agreements before the UK becomes a signatory to any agreements, to safeguard food, environmental, animal welfare and health standards.
  • ensure trade agreements cannot be implemented, signed or ratified unless they are consistent with the provisions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Bishops’ speeches are below and the full text of the amendments beneath.

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, having made my maiden speech a week or so ago at Second Reading of the Bill, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, for proposing Amendment 35, to which I wish to speak, without, I have to say, the expertise of other contributors, but I shall speak in favour of the amendment on two counts, only simply, as I do not wish to repeat what has already has been said. Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of Blackburn supports amendments on sustainable development goals, environmental, health and food standards”

Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans backs amendments on food and environmental standards

On Tuesday 6th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in Committee. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of amendments on securing food and environmental standards in future trade deals:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]:  My Lords, I plan to say a few words on Amendment 20, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. I am also sympathetic to Amendments 23, 25 and 26.​

Food production and environmental standards, as well as the safety that they enshrine, are crucial to a healthy agricultural sector that seeks to mitigate the dangers arising from poor practices and the low-quality products they produce. Ensuring continuity has been a big priority for a number of Members. Issues surrounding the responsible administration of antibiotics to livestock, for example, are not national issues but global public health ones. Despite the Bill covering existing trading arrangements, we should not forget that the raison d’être for leaving the European Union was the assertion of our sovereignty. Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans backs amendments on food and environmental standards”

Votes: Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020

On 5th and 6th October 2020 votes took place on amendments that Members of the House of Lords had tabled to the Government’s  Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill. Eleven bishops took part across eight separate votes, supporting amendments that were passed by majorities of the House, with one exception. A summary is below and the full text of each amendment is beneath. The amendments will now be considered by MPs who will have to decide whether to accept or reject each. Continue reading “Votes: Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020”

Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020: Bishop of Southwark backs changes on child refugees, detention, documentation

On 5th October 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020 during the second day of its Report stage. The Bishop of Southwark spoke in favour of amendments to the Bill on

  • Child refugees and family reunion
  • Providing physical, not just digital, proof of settled and pre-settled status in the UK.
  • Placing an upper limit of 28 days on the time an EEA or Swiss national may be held in immigration detention.

The texts of his speeches are below. He and ten other bishops voted on these and other amendments to the Bill and the details are recorded here.

Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020: Bishop of Southwark backs changes on child refugees, detention, documentation”

Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendments to ensure trade deals meet standards on climate, environment, food and animal welfare

On 1st October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in Committee. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in support of amendments to the Bill to ensure that future trade agreements are fully compliant with international environmental obligations, and meet standards on animal welfare and food safety.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: I plan to speak mainly on Amendment 12, but I also support Amendment 40 and, particularly, Amendment 69 in this group [texts below]. Leaving the European Union should not mean leaving our international obligations. Recognition of those conventions mentioned under Amendment 12 is, one would imagine, already accounted for in the existing trade agreements due to be transposed into UK law as a result of this Bill. However, without this amendment, these remain an expectation not an assurance.

Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendments to ensure trade deals meet standards on climate, environment, food and animal welfare”

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on social care workforce and children in care

On Wednesday 30th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill during its Report Stage. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of two amendments, on:

  • Researching and reporting on the impact on the social care workforce.
  • Ensuring that children of EEA and Swiss nationals, in care and entitled to care leaving support, do not become undocumented by receiving automatic Indefinite Leave to Remain under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Votes on the amendments were deferred until the following week due to technical problems.

Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on social care workforce and children in care”

Vote: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

On 30th September 2020 a vote was held on an amendment to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. The Bishop of Durham took part:
Continue reading “Vote: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill”

Votes: Agriculture Bill

On 22nd September 2020 votes took place in the House of Lords on amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of St Albans, Leeds and Worcester took part.

House of Lords Division Lobby

Continue reading “Votes: Agriculture Bill”

Agriculture Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports successful amendment on food standards

On 22nd September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in favour of an amendment he had co-sponsored, to extend the mandate and lifespan of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, to safeguard food and farming standards. The amendment was put to a vote and was passed by the House.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, I too will speak on Amendment 101, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Curry of Kirkharle, to which I have ​added my name. The previous three speakers have more than adequately spelled out why it makes a great deal of sense, so I can limit my comments.

The Government, through the joint letter from the Environment Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Trade, have assured us that standards will not be compromised as part of trade negotiations. Furthermore, I am reassured by the breadth of experience among the agri-food trade advisory group. However, welcome though these developments are, fundamentally they lack the legally binding requirement that properly guarantees that Parliament will have recourse to ensuring that our standards are not diluted. Continue reading “Agriculture Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports successful amendment on food standards”