On 30th April 2020 in a virtual sitting the House of Lords debated a Motion in the name of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of people who will be (1) living in poverty, or (2) unable to meet their basic needs, as a result of COVID-19; and what steps they are taking to support such people.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Covid-19 crisis has amplified child poverty. The welcome measures that raised UC and increased LHA show that radical government action is possible, but they have highlighted two policies as unfair. The first is the two-child limit. Recent events demonstrate life’s unpredictability. It exposes the flawed view of how the two-child limit policy was set up. Children should not be penalised for changing circumstances. Up to 60,000 families may find themselves affected in the coming weeks. Next week, the Church of England and CPAG will publish a report exploring the policy’s impact on these families. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham: Covid-19 crisis has amplified child poverty, we should suspend benefit cap and two-child limit”
On 2nd, 3rd & 4th April 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received answers to three written questions on the benefit cap policy.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the sample size used to inform the design of the benefit cap policy
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On 30th April Baroness Lister of Buttersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the benefit cap on child and family wellbeing since that cap was lowered in 2016-17.'” The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow-up question:
The Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, welfare reform was predicated on the principle that work should pay, but that principle is being undermined, not least by the two-child limit. In future, a family with three or more children seeking to avoid the cap by moving into work will find themselves subject to the two-child limit instead. They could end up losing out by going to work. What assessment have the Government made of the impact of this perverse incentive?
Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about two-child limit and benefit cap”
On the 23rd January 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler received a written answer to a question about the impact of the benefit cap on larger families:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many families with three or more children have been affected by the benefit cap in each month since April 2017; how many children were included in each affected family; how many families were (1) lone parent families or (2) two-parent families; and how many of those families had one or more parents in work. [HL4636]
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On 16th November 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a debate in the House of Lords on the benefit freeze. His opening speech and that of the Minister responding are below. The whole debate can be read here.
“The Lord Bishop of St Albans to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of rising inflation on families affected by the freeze of working age benefits.”
Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we are at risk of failing a substantial number of children and some of the most needy people of this country. If a society is to be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable, then unless we are prepared to put aside party difference and make common purpose in addressing inequalities in our system of social security, we will surely be found wanting. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for end to freeze on working age benefits, to help children and families”
On 22nd February 2017, Lord McKenzie of Luton asked Her Majesty’s Government “what estimate they have made of the extent to which the new lower benefit cap will encourage people into work or to move into smaller homes”. The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, according to the Government’s own impact assessment nearly a quarter of a million children are affected by the reduced benefit cap, more than two and a half times the number of affected adults. This includes many preschool children in lone-parent families at greater risk of poverty. Given that the prime aim here is to encourage more people into work, will the Minister consider exempting single parents with young children, who would not otherwise be expected to work under the current benefit rules and who rely on familiar social networks and services?
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about the impact of benefit cap on children of single parents”