On 9th December 2014, the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Childcare Payments Bill. The Bishop welcomed the provisions in the Bill to support low and middle-income families, but pressed the Government to ensure the Bill provided equity of delivery for families in receipt of Universal Credit, and also called on the Government to provide greater support for families with disabled children.
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, from these Benches I warmly welcome the Bill, which will provide much needed assistance towards childcare costs for many middle-income and low-income families. I also welcome the careful expansion of the availability of childcare. However, there are two areas which I shall mention briefly where further attention may be needed. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield welcomes support for families in Childcare Payments Bill”
On 9th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in Baroness Massey of Darwen’s debate on affordable childcare.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed to the noble Baroness, Lady Massey of Darwen, for initiating this debate and for expressing so clearly the issues involved and, indeed still more, for her determined advocacy in this House and elsewhere of the rights and needs of children, especially those children who are most at risk within our society.
Childcare provision in this country has grown like Topsy. As we have heard from a number of examples comparing our own experiences when we were young parents with those of our children as parents now, the need for childcare has become more and more crucial to both parents and children, and as a mainstay of our culture as well of our economy. However, there is such a complex system, which is part universal and part not, with childcare vouchers in their varied forms as an additional complication. Rather strangely, there is also the danger that universal credit will actually make the situation more, rather than less, complex.
Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds takes part in affordable childcare debate”
On 21st November 2013, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to record whether or not an individual remanded in custody, or sentenced to prison, has any children. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, perhaps I may press the Minister a little further. When a court is aware of a child whose parent is imprisoned and that child is in a vulnerable state, will he ensure that the court refers the child to the proper care of the local authority or a charity in the region where that child is living?
Lord McNally: I go back to what I would expect to be common sense in these areas. Courts already have a duty, in every case, to take account of any mitigating factors, including that the offender has primary care responsibilities for children or other dependants. However, it is important that the presence of such dependants is brought to the attention of the court. Again, I can only emphasise that the direction of travel we are going in is to try to make sure that the prison and court authorities are aware of their responsibilities and that they link up with the supporting organisations needed in these cases.