The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on the potential appointment of a migrants commissioner, during a debate on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review on 12th January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, many of the recommendations in the Windrush Lessons Learned Review also have implications for how the UK should steer its current refugee and asylum policy: recommendation 9 concerning the creation of a migrants’ commissioner, recommendation 19 regarding direct contact with migrants and recommendation 25 requiring consideration of risks to vulnerable groups or individuals. What assurances can the Minister provide that there will not be a repeat of the mistakes made with the Windrush generation, this time with asylum seekers and refugees, and can he comment on any progress made on recommendation 9 and the appointment of a migrants’ commissioner?
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on mortgage lending on 12th January 2022, during a debate on issues faced by residential leaseholders:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, in light of the commitment made by the big six lenders to accept mortgage applications for flats with building safety issues from Monday 9 January, will the Minister confirm that the Government will monitor their lending decisions to ensure that this time their commitments will be fulfilled, so that this part of the housing market can be unfrozen?
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con): The right reverend Prelate brings up an interesting point. I do not know exactly what the Government will do, as the announcement was made only this week. However, I will find out exactly how we will monitor them and the process, and come back to her.
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question about support for resettlement of Afghan refugees who had worked for the British Council, during a debate on UK Aid to Afghanistan on 11th January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, as we discuss aid to Afghanistan, surely it is also right that we consider those who have worked with us so faithfully on the ground over the years to deliver educational goals. It remains the case that the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme has not resettled any of those who worked for the British Council. Can the Minister please set out what is being done to ensure the promised resettlement of those individuals?
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked about support for prisoners re-entering the community on 10th January 2022, during a debate on prison chaplaincy:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, on Christmas Day, I was pleased to be able to visit my local prison and young offenders’ institute in Chelmsford, where I was taking a service. I had several conversations with both prisoners and members of staff who expressed concern about ensuring continued support for those who are leaving prison and re-entering the community. As the work of multifaith community chaplaincy and indeed the Welcome Directory continues to be developed to support those leaving prison, can the Minister say what discussions there have been, if any, regarding possible funding support from HMG?
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on reform to debt management for universal credit recipients during a debate on food banks and the rise in poverty on 9th January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, given the data published by the Trussell Trust in December which revealed that 57% of people referred to food banks who are in receipt of universal credit face government deductions from their or their partner’s benefits income, could the Minister outline what steps the Government will take to reform the debt management process for universal credit?
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question about government action to ensure affordable housing in light of the current cost of living on 15th December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: To ask His Majesty’s Government, given the increased cost of living, what actions they will take to ensure that housing is affordable in relation to household incomes in (1) the private rented sector, (2) the social housing sector, and (3) for homeowners with mortgages.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con): My Lords, the Government recognise the cost of living pressures that people are facing across this country, particularly this winter. Local housing allowance rates have been maintained at their increased level following a boost in investment of nearly £1 billion in April 2020. The Government have also capped social housing rent increases for 2023-24 at 7% to protect social tenants from higher rent increases, and last week we published a mortgage support statement setting out the support available to mortgage holders.
On 13th December 2022, the House of Lords debated amendments to the Public Order Bill in the third day of Committee. The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in support of two sets of amendments to the bill:
firstly to amendments tabled by Lord Paddick, with the support of the Bishop of St Albans, which would raise the burden of proof required to impose a serious disruption prevention order on protesters.
secondly to amendments tabled by Baroness Chakrabarti and the Bishop of Manchester, which would place a moratorium on extending existing police powers without a parliamentary debate on current recruitment, vetting, and discipline of police officers.
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question about the cost of employing agency staff to cover NHS shifts, as compared to the cost of a pay rise for NHS staff, during a debate on the upcoming NHS industrial action on 13th December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, even prior to the strikes, agency nurses were being brought in to ensure that shifts were safely staffed. I should be grateful if the Minister would set out what assessment the Government have made of the cost to the NHS of employing agency staff, compared with that of a pay rise that would work towards an arguably better and more stable workforce?
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on extending free school meals to all children from families in receipt of universal credit on 13th December 2022, during a debate on free school meals funding and decision making power:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, building on the question the noble Lord has just asked, research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that out of 3.9 million children living in relative poverty in the UK, only 2.3 million receive free school meals. Can the Minister say whether the Government intend to extend free school meals to all children from families receiving universal credit?
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