On 17th December 2018 Lord Balfe led a debate in the House of Lords on the question, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps, if any, they will take to prevent workers being dismissed from their jobs following diagnosis of a terminal illness.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate that followed:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I greatly welcome this debate, and thank the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, for bring this important matter to our attention. I also welcome the TUC’s support of the courageous work of Jacci Woodcock in highlighting the issue, on the basis of her own experience.
As a trustee of the diocese of Chichester, I share responsibility for employing nearly 100 staff but also for the care of some 400 clergy. These clergy are office-holders, not employees, and many live in accommodation they occupy by virtue of their office. A terminal illness for one of those clergy, as for anybody else, carries the prospect of multiple concerns, but especially for those dependent on them. The loss of income and a home are primary concerns, alongside the personal challenges of failing health and dependence on others—often difficult for those more familiar with caring for others. The potential loss of their home goes right to the heart of the fear of death and the implications for a family—particularly if there are issues such as schooling and the future of children—that a terminal illness brings. When a family is most challenged, networks of social relationships are immensely sensitive. Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester on care and support for those in the workplace with a terminal illness”
On 26th April 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government about bereavement support payments:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government why, when determining the length of time for which Bereavement Support Payments would be paid, they considered 18 months a suitable timeframe for bereavement support. [HL6803] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about bereavement support payments”
On 6th April 2017 Baroness Altmann asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they will reconsider changes to bereavement benefits for parents with dependent children.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question. The Bishop had been amongst the signatories of a letter from all sides of the House calling on the Government to reconsider its proposals.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I too signed the letter to the Secretary of State. I fully accept that the system needed reform, but those of us who spend a lot of time looking after people in bereavement know that a widowed parent may sometimes have to spend several years giving considerable extra time, attention and care to the children. In practice, that may necessitate working only part-time for a number of years while children are still at home. Previously in this House there was an assurance that income-related benefits would be there to support such parents, but under universal credit that is not so simple. Can the Minister reassure us that bereaved parents will not be subject to the in-work conditionality requirements that apply under universal credit? Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough raises concerns about changes to bereavement benefits for parents of children”
on 21st February 2017, the House of Lords considered the Government’s ‘Bereavement Support Payment Regulations 2017’ in Grand Committee. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, contributed to the debate. Lord Henley responded on behalf of the Government.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans I thank the Minister for his succinct and helpful introduction. I realise that we have already had extensive debates during the passage of the Pensions Bill and I do not wish to impede the progress that we are making with these regulations. Therefore I hope the Minister will not mind if I briefly raise a number of concerns, which I know are shared by my colleagues on the Bench of Bishops, in the hope that Her Majesty’s Government might keep these under review. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans voices concerns over bereavement support payments”
On 7th December 2016 two votes took place on Opposition amendments to the Government’s Policing and Crime Bill, in which two bishops took part. Continue reading “Votes: Policing and Crime Bill”
On Monday 7th December, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill during its first day of Committee. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke to amendments he had tabled to exempt bereaved parents and victims of domestic abuse from the proposed two-child limit for new claimants. His speech on his amendment is included below, along with an extract of the Minister’s reply. The full debate, including speeches by other Members, can be seen at: Parliament.uk
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I highlight two particularly vulnerable groups in my Amendments 5, 6, 13 and 14, groups that I believe should be exempted from this measure. These are bereaved parents and victims of domestic abuse. In focusing so heavily on promoting personal responsibility, there is always a danger with welfare reforms that we neglect our collective responsibility to look after those who fall on difficult times, people we will probably never meet but whom we support through our taxes in their time of need so that we, too, will be supported when we need help.
Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Portsmouth tables amendment on victims of domestic abuse and bereaved parents”