Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on access to free school meals

On 21st February 2019 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked the Government “whether they intend to reconsider recent changes to access to free school meals following their decision to delay the roll out of Universal Credit.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question on the two-child limit:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the two-child limit means that welfare reforms weigh particularly heavily on families with three or more children. What assessment have the Government made of the consequence of changes to free school meals that are set to impact on children with more than one sibling? Does the Minister agree that this policy will effectively harm children from large families through no fault of their own? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on access to free school meals”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about vulnerable child refugees

On 11th February 2019 Lord Dubs asked the Government “how many refugee children have arrived in the United Kingdom from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey under the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme, since its launch in April 2016.”  The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: The youngsters who have made the journey across Europe are among the most courageous young people in the world. You do not leave home unless you live in the mouth of a shark. What are the Government doing with those who arrive and, as the Minister said, are vulnerable? The Children’s Society recently published evidence of a high level of self-harm and suicide among these people. What is happening with the introduction of independent guardians, as is the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland? What other provisions can be made? What can be done for these young people to have permanent leave to remain when they reach adult age? Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about vulnerable child refugees”

Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders

On 6th February 2019 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Offensive Weapons Bill in its third day of Committee. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Chrisine Hardman spoke against Government amendments to create new Knife Crime Prevention Orders. The amendments were withdrawn following the debate, but the Minister indicated they were likely to be returned to again at a later stage:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: Before becoming Bishop of Newcastle, I was an archdeacon in south-east London. In my archdeaconry, sadly, was Eltham, where Stephen Lawrence died. I do not, therefore, underestimate the sheer heartbreak and devastation of knife crime, particularly when young people are involved. This crime is growing and growing. I have sat with families whose children have been victims of knife crime. I have officiated at a funeral where that has been the case. The circles of devastation and heartbreak just go on and on. I do not underestimate the seriousness of this problem; nevertheless, I object to this amendment and hope that it will be withdrawn, so that there is more time to reflect on it. Continue reading “Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for young gambling addicts

StAlbans051218On 5th February 2019 Lord Clark of Windermere asked the Government “when they intend to publish the NHS Workforce Implementation Plan which was announced in the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January”. Rt Revd Alan Smith,  Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question about the support services made available to young people with gambling addictions.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is encouraging to hear that the long-term plan will include funding for services for those with gambling addictions. With 430,000 gambling addicts in this country, of which 55,000 are teenagers, this is a really urgent matter. Can we press Her Majesty’s Government please to move on this quickly?

There is only one NHS clinic available at the moment. If funding is an issue, will the Government explore the possibility of introducing a mandatory levy on the gambling industry to pay for the cost to the NHS, which Simon Stevens suggests is £1.2 billion?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for young gambling addicts”

Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for community mental health treatment for young people with learning difficulties

On 30th January 2019 the House of Lords debated a question from Baroness Tyler of Enfield, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent concerns expressed by general practitioners that children and young people with mental health problems are unable to access National Health Service treatments; and what steps they will take to address them.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, this is a very timely debate, and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, and congratulate her on securing it. We have heard some of the alarming statistics on children and young people with mental health needs, and we know that current NHS services are unable to meet this disturbing increase. In an ideal world, we would be asking ourselves why there should be such an increase—some of the reasons were mentioned by the noble Baronesses, Lady Chisholm and Lady Massey—and doing our best to tackle the causes rather than just attend to the consequences. But that is another debate.

Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for community mental health treatment for young people with learning difficulties”

Bishop of Chelmsford – why the Internet needs regulation

On 17th January 2019 Baroness Kidron led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion “that this House takes note of the relationship between the use of digital technology and the health and well-being of children and young people.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, an unregulated digital environment is causing moral decay. There is no time to reiterate the various harms that are being caused, but they are deep-seated, corrosive and pervasive. Just last week I was at a school in Essex talking to 7 to 11 year-olds about their use of a game called TikTok. All of them were using it. The lower age limit for using it is 13. As the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, pointed out, the digital world assumes that all users are equal and all users are adults, whereas in fact one-third of users worldwide are children. Therefore, their health, well-being and development require us to ensure that the internet, and the many ways that children access it, are as safe as they can be. This has usually meant creating special safe places for children or safety options that can be activated. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford – why the Internet needs regulation”

Bishop of St Albans – ban online gambling adverts and monitor games to reduce harm to young people

On 17th January 2019 Baroness Kidron led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion “that this House takes note of the relationship between the use of digital technology and the health and well-being of children and young people.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, for raising this subject and for her outstanding introduction to this debate.

Fifty-five thousand children in this country are classified as problem gamblers. The Gambling Commission’s report, Young People and Gambling, published in November, shows that gambling participation has risen, with 14% of 11 to 16 year-olds having spent their own money on gambling. That is a greater proportion of young people than have drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes or taken illegal drugs. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – ban online gambling adverts and monitor games to reduce harm to young people”