The following letter, expressing concern about the consequences of the two-child limit policy for children and families was signed by sixty bishops (including nineteen Lords Spiritual) and representatives from other denominations and faiths. It appeared in The Times newspaper on 6th April 2018.
The publication of the letter coincided with the release of a report from the End Child Poverty Coalition assessing the impact of the policy, which was introduced in April 2017. The accompanying press release from the Coalition can be accessed here, and the Church of England’s media notice is available here.
The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, published a blog on the Church of England’s website on the same day, the full text of which is also reproduced below.
Two-child limit on Universal Credit
Sir, Today the “two-child limit” policy, which restricts tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in a family, has been in place for a year. The policy is making it harder for parents to achieve a stable and resilient family life. By 2021, 640,000 families will have been affected. Most are low-earning working families, most have three children and some will have made decisions about family size when they were able to support children through earnings alone, but later claimed tax credits or universal credit after bereavement, redundancy, separation, disability, illness or simply low pay. Continue reading “Bishops highlight consequences of the two-child limit in letter to The Times and blog post”
On 26th March 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question he had tabled to Government on the two-child limit policy for tax credit and universal credit. His follow-up question and those of other members is reproduced below:
The Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what specific measures they are taking to monitor the impact of the two-child limit policy in the child element of Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit on the well-being of children.
The Minister for State, Department for International Development, Lord Bates: My Lords, the Government are committed to supporting child well-being, and keep all our child welfare policies under review. We provide a range of support for children, including child benefit, that continues to be paid for each child in a household. Since 2010 there are 1 million fewer people in absolute poverty, including 300,000 fewer children.
The Bishop of Durham: I thank the Minister for that reply. Given that the Government’s impact assessment argues that the two-child limit would have a positive impact on overall family stability, and that the policy would increase financial resilience and support improved life chances for children, what current evidence does the Minister have to support the claims that the policy will have a positive impact on overall family stability and improve life chances for children?
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about impact of two-child limit on family stability”
This article was written by the Bishop of Durham for The House Magazine and was published on 26th March 2018. It can also be seen on the PoliticsHome website, here.
Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit
Almost one year on from its introduction, the consequences of the government’s two-child limit policy are deeply concerning, writes the Bishop of Durham
The two-child limit came into effect on April 6th 2017, restricting the amount of support to families with three or more children through tax credits and Universal Credit. As the policy’s first anniversary approaches, is it timely to review its impact and purpose.
When this measure was considered in the House of Lords, as part of the Welfare Reform & Work Act, I worked closely with other peers and faith groups to outline concerns. A core foundation of a just and compassionate benefits system is that the level of support is linked to need; a foundation which risked being seriously undermined by these changes. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit”
On 19th March 2018, Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘over the last 10 years, how many children trafficked into the United Kingdom who have subsequently applied for asylum have had their applications approved.’ The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, asked a follow up question:
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks Government about modern slavery and child trafficking”
On 15th March 2018 the Bishop of Gloucester asked a question she had tabled to Government on online hate speech. The exchanges are below, including the follow-up questions asked by other Members.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to combat hate speech online.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con): My Lords, this Government abhor all forms of hate speech. It is clear that what is illegal offline is also illegal online. That is why we are taking a cross-government approach through the hate crime action plan, which will be refreshed this year. We are funding an online hate crime hub, building digital resilience and have successfully worked with industry and partners internationally to agree the removal of illegal content within 24 hours.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, we know that websites and apps have brought many benefits, but at a cost. From my own visits to schools, I am particularly concerned about the hate speech that young people are exposed to online, including through anonymous apps like Sarahah. What are the Government doing to ensure that the age verification checks on apps are effective? How are the Government working with smaller developers to ensure that their platforms are not used to propagate threats and hate speech? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what they are doing to combat hate speech online”
On 14th March 2018, Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the effect on Universal Credit work incentives of the recently announced proposals for passporting family entitlement to free school meals.” The Lord Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, we have years of clear evidence that tackling child hunger improves outcomes at school and improves achievement and social mobility. What assessment have the Government made of the impact of these proposals on child hunger and on our investment in our children’s futures?
Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about proposals to tackle child hunger”
On 14th March 2018, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a response to a written question on school meals for children in poverty:
Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answers by Lord O’Shaughnessy on 26 February (HL Deb, cols 425–28), what measures they plan to take to ensure that all children living in poverty over the age of seven can receive a healthy meal at lunch time, as part of combatting child obesity and poor levels of nutrition.
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham receives response to written question on school meals for children in poverty”