Vaccines for developing world, poverty in the pandemic, devolution and Ethiopia  

In the House of Lords on 14th January 2021 the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on vaccines for developing countries and the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia while the Bishop of Durham received answers to questions on the recent updated report by the Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England on Poverty in the pandemic.
Meanwhile in the Chamber, the Bishop of Birmingham raised the issue of devolution in England with the Government during Lord Young’s Oral question about the formation of a Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights Commission. Text below:

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Bishop of Durham asks Government to fight child poverty and lower life expectancy in north-east

On 17th December the Bishop of Durham asked a question in the |Lords during exchanges on the Office for National Statistics latest findings on life expectancy:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: Given the ONS recent findings that the lowest regional life expectancy for both male and female children at birth in 2017-19 was observed in my area of the north-east of England, when will Her Majesty’s Government commit to a full-blown strategy to eliminate the obstacles disproportionately facing children in poverty here in the north-east?

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Bishop of Worcester calls for national child poverty strategy

On 7th December 2020 the Bishop of Worcester asked a question of Government on social mobility and the need for a national child poverty strategy:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester [V]: My Lords, I speak today on behalf of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle, who has been delayed travelling to London. Like her, I am very aware of the relationship between child poverty and a lack of social mobility, but she has a special interest as independent chair of the North of Tyne Inclusive Economy Board. Child poverty is central to the Government’s levelling-up agenda. Since 35% of children in the north-east of England live in relative poverty, would the Minister tell us if Her Majesty’s Government will work with the Social Mobility Commission to develop a national child poverty strategy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Bishop of Durham calls for a child poverty commission

On 12th November 2020 a Government statement on supporting disadvantaged families, including measures to address school holiday hunger, was given in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Durham asked a question in response:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: I warmly welcome so much in the Statement and in the decisions made; I also associate myself with those who ask why it did not all happen a bit more quickly. None the less, this has exposed the underlying fundamental structural issues which mean that we are not tackling child poverty in the round and as a whole. What consideration have Her Majesty’s Government given to creating really long-term solutions by forming a child poverty commission, as proposed by faith leaders in their recent letter to the Prime Minister? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for a child poverty commission”

Bishop of Bristol asks Government to tackle school holiday hunger and long term child poverty

On 27th October 2020 Lord Woolley of Woodford asked the Government “following the announcements of the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as local councils, whether they will end the free school meals postcode lottery and provide free school meals for eligible children in England during the school holidays until Easter 2021.” The Bishop of Bristol asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Bristol [V]: My Lords, although I agree with the Government that free school meals are not the long-term solution for holiday hunger, the reality is that it is now half-term and children are going hungry. Does the Minister agree that although ​the current crisis demands short-term solutions, there is also a much bigger question at stake? Will she tell us what sustained support the Government will be offering to address the concerns up to Easter 2021, and their plans to tackle the underlying and increasing issues of child poverty in the longer term? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government to tackle school holiday hunger and long term child poverty”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on poverty in working families

On 15th July 2020 Lord McNicol of West Kilbride asked the Government “what steps they are taking to reduce the number of children living in poverty in working households.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, in the light of the Minister’s last answer about continual review, in April 2019 59% of families affected by the two-child limit were working, with many struggling to afford essentials. When the new statistics on the policy are released tomorrow, will Her Majesty’s Government finally agree to review and assess the evidence that the two-child limit negatively impacts children in working families and that lifting it is the most effective way to reduce the number of children living in poverty? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on poverty in working families”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about social security benefits for children

On 6th July the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Stedman-Scott on social security benefits for children.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL5845 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Save the Children to increase the child component of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits by £20 a week, following their research showing that 7 in 10 families with children in receipt of Universal Credit are cutting back on essentials as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bishop of Durham asks Government to lift no recourse to public funds policy to help children in poverty

On 15th June 2020 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent any increase in child poverty”. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a follow up question focusing on those who have ‘no recourse to public fundsattached to their immigration status.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, children in families with no recourse to public funds are at increased risk of facing poverty due to the pandemic. The increases the Government have announced do not offer support to the thousands of children whose parents have “no recourse to public funds” attached to their immigration status, making them extremely vulnerable to the pandemic’s effects. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider lifting the NRPF condition to protect children from poverty?

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Bishop of Derby says Covid-19 recovery strategy must consider needs of children and families

On 11th June 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Hayman, “that this House takes note of the case for post-COVID-19 recovery strategies that will contribute to a fairer, cleaner, and more sustainable economy.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Libby Lane, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, for securing this vital debate. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the life of every child in this country. Many of their households face reduced income, irregular working hours, increasing debt, greater risk of online harm, growing concern over mental health and well-being, and increased prevalence of domestic violence. Already vulnerable children have been made all the more at risk. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby says Covid-19 recovery strategy must consider needs of children and families”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about child poverty in Luton

On 10th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Stedman-Scott on child poverty in Luton.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL4300 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the rate of child poverty in Luton; and what plans they have to provide additional financial support to the Luton Borough Council to help it address that rate. 

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