The Bishop of London asked a question on access to PIP and other financial support for those suffering from long Covid and unable to work on 25th April 2023:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, the advice of the DWP and DHSC is that, if those impacted by long Covid are unable to work, they will be able to access financial assistance through schemes such as PIP. However, in practice, as the noble Baroness said, there is a lack of recognition of long Covid among GPs and PIP assessors. What steps are the Government taking to make sure that more long Covid sufferers are identified and able to access financial support?
The Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the purpose of the two child benefit cap on 18th April 2023, during a debate on universal credit reform:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, could the Minister remind the House what the point of the two-child limit is and what its impact is on the provision of essentials?
Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con): The House will be very aware of this subject, which does keep cropping up. The House will be aware that, since 6 April 2017, families have been able to claim support for up to two children and there may be further entitlement for other children if they were born before 6 April 2017 or if an exception applies. As the right reverend Prelate will know, there are a number of exceptions, including any child in a household who is adopted, any child living long-term with friends or family or who would otherwise be at risk of entering the care system.
The Archbishop of York asked a question on the effects of the benefit cap and two child limit on vulnerable families on 24th January 2023:
The Lord Archbishop of York: My Lords, it is encouraging to see that the Government are keeping a check on the numbers of people being affected by these policies, but I was not quite sure whether I heard that work is being done to measure the impact of the policies on families. I can say, and it gives me no joy to say it, that from where I serve in the north of England—I am thinking particularly of Middlesbrough and Hull—I see the disturbing impact of an increase in poverty, child poverty and families in very difficult situations, not least with the cost of living crisis on top of all this. My simple, genuine and heartfelt question is: how would you explain this to a mum expecting her third child, or a family with three or four children who have been pushed into benefits over the past couple of years? They do not understand why this is happening but they are suffering as a consequence of it. How do we explain to them the rightness of this policy?
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 21st December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the current levels of benefits given the increased cost of living.
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): The government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and has taken further decisive action to support people with their energy bills. The government’s Energy Price Guarantee, running from October 2022- March 2023, will save a typical British household around £900 this winter, based on what energy price would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. This is in addition to the over £37bn of cost-of-living support announced earlier this year which includes the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 31st January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government how many cases have been reported to the Department for Work and Pensions via the coroners focal point since February 2020.
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): From February 2020 to January 2022, 46 cases have been raised via this channel. This figure includes enquires made by the police and other bodies, and erroneous referrals where we signposted the enquirer elsewhere as appropriate.
The Bishop of Durham asked a question on adequacy of support offered to larger families by the Department for Work and Pensions on 11th January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of support offered by the Department for Work and Pensions to larger families.
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con, DWP): No assessment has been made as every household has different requirements. While there is no objective way of deciding what an adequate level of support should be, the department will spend more than £110 billion this year—4.8% of GDP—on working-age benefits. Additionally, the Government offer a wide range of support to families with children depending on their circumstances, including free school meals, childcare, Healthy Start vouchers and the household support fund.
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