Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children

On 14th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its third day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler,  supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  •  Limiting the time a specified person can be detained for immigration purposes, and defining those purposes.
  • Family reunion for those seeking refugee status, and unaccompanied children

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of the Minister responding. The text of amendments 39, 40 and 48 supported by the Bishop are reproduced at the bottom. Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children”

Church Commissioner Questions: covid-19, mental health, debt advice, youth work, online worship, overseas aid, racism

On 10th September 2020 MPs asked questions of the Church Commissioners, represented by Andrew Selous MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner. A full transcript is below:

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

Covid-19: Mental Health

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con): What steps the Church of England is taking to support mental health during the covid-19 outbreak. [905855]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): This is a timely question from my hon. Friend, on World Suicide Prevention Day. The Church’s healthcare chaplains work in both acute and community mental health services. The diocese of Manchester provides mental health wellbeing youth workers, to provide mental health first aid, and the parish of Goudhurst in Kilndown in Kent provides subsidised mental health counselling in 13 schools. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: covid-19, mental health, debt advice, youth work, online worship, overseas aid, racism”

Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill

On 22nd July the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill was debated at Sec0nd Reading in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, and the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, spoke in the debate, highlighting modern slavery, work eligibility, EU citizens, visas for ministers of religion, tariffs, and children’s welfare.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the introduction of this Bill in another place is a signal opportunity for Her Majesty’s Government comprehensively to reset the legislative basis for immigration control in this country, to set out a vision for doing so, and to rationalise and streamline the more than 1,000 pages of immigration legislation under which we labour. It is surprising, therefore, that, as other speakers have pointed out, this Bill is so narrow in scope. Continue reading “Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill”

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 St Albans asks Government about child refugees in Greece

On 25th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question on child refugees in Greece.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5618 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conditions for child refugees in Greece; what humanitarian and medical aid they have provided to those refugees; and what plans they have, if any, to allow them to come to the UK.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about child refugees in Greece”

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?

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

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 Derby calls for age verification for pornography online

On 11th June 2020 Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the research by the British Board of Film Classification on the extent of exposure of children and teens to harmful or upsetting content while in lockdown, published on 4 May.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Libby Lane, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I echo the concern about the Government’s lack of progress in introducing the measures outlined in their online harms White Paper. The BBFC report found that children are increasingly using pornography as an educational tool, which appears to be normalising such access in childhood. That means that, particularly during the lockdown, there is an increased risk of children being exposed to harmful content. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for age verification for pornography online”

Church Commissioner Questions – Coronavirus, Access to Worship, Family Life, Education, Clergy Discipline Process and Hospital Chaplains

On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons on coronavirus, access to worship, family life, education, the clergy discipline process and hospital chaplaincy. A transcript is below:

Church Commissioners

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

Capture 1


Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – Coronavirus, Access to Worship, Family Life, Education, Clergy Discipline Process and Hospital Chaplains”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about families affected by two-child benefit limit due to Covid-19

On 13th May 2020 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the benefit cap on the incomes of Universal Credit claimants following the increase in the Universal Credit standard allowance announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 March”. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

20.04.30 Durham 2

Lord Bishop of Durham: I thank the noble Baroness for again highlighting how the benefit cap is trapping families in poverty. In light of the report published last week by the Church of England and CPAG which estimates that around 60,000 more families will be affected by the two-child limit due to Covid-19, what assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of the impact of this limit on families who have made a new universal credit claim since the lockdown?

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about families affected by two-child benefit limit due to Covid-19”