Bishop of Derby asks about treatment of children in the criminal justice system

The Bishop of Derby asked a question on the treatment of children in the criminal justice system on 27th March 2023, following a Children’s Commissioners report on the strip searching of children, many from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, by police:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I declare an interest as vice-chair of the Children’s Society. I join other noble Lords in expressing horror at the findings of the Children’s Commissioner’s report. It is vital that children are treated as children at all times. Can the Minister reassure the House that children are treated and recognised as children within every aspect of the criminal justice system?

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Bishop of Durham asks about universal credit and free school meals

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 23rd March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trussell Trust report An Essentials Guarantee: Reforming Universal Credit to ensure we can all afford the essentials in hard times, published on 27 February, what assessment they made of the recommendation contained in that report to “introduce an Essentials Guarantee” to ensure those on Universal Credit are not going without essential items.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about delivery of special educational needs policy

The Bishop of St Albans asked about government support for health, social care, and CAMHS services in response to the announcement of a new special educational needs plan on 9th March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank His Majesty’s Government for the improvement plan. I commend what they are doing to try to get a much more integrated approach and some of the resources mentioned in the plan. However, I share the concern raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Twycross, about implementation. The stories I pick up from grass-roots situations in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, where I serve, show that there are still some very serious problems, and some children are now being failed immediately.

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Church Commissioner Questions: families, marriage, Lichfield, Nigeria

On 9th March 2023 MPs put questions to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, during his monthly question time in the House of Commons.

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Bishop of Durham asks about protection for children arriving in the UK

The Bishop of Durham asked a question about protection for children and unaccompanied minors arriving in the UK on 8th March 2023, following the government’s announcement of the planned Illegal Migration Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I return to the Statement, rather than the Bill, which we will spend hours debating in due course. There was a lot in this Statement that worried me, but what worried me even more was that there was no reference whatever to children, unaccompanied children and their protection in this whole process. Can the Minister comment on why nothing was said about that in the Statement?

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Bishop of Durham speaks on the effects of child poverty

The Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate on vulnerable teenagers on 26th January 2023, emphasising the negative effects of child poverty on later life:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, it is a real pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord McConnell; I associate myself with everything he said, particularly about adopting the recommendations. He also reminded us that this is no new problem. He talked about his experience in the 1980s; I could do the same from when I was doing youth work. You can also quote Greek writers and philosophers about the problems of young people in the era of the Greeks, so this is something we have always lived with.

I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Armstrong, for securing this debate. It is always lovely to share something with someone else from this part of the north-east of England. I congratulate Anne Longfield on the report, Hidden in Plain Sight. As the Commission on Young Lives’ report demonstrates, young people falling vulnerable to violence and exploitation and entering the criminal justice system is not an issue that is shrinking, nor one that could possibly be ignored. 

The effects of this problem are widespread, impacting not only the lives and futures of the young people themselves but the prosperity and security of our whole country. Such an issue cannot be resolved through sticking plasters or short-term solutions; it is instead vital that we examine and address the root causes and respond with long-term solutions.

As the report states,

“it is impossible to overestimate how important poverty is as a driver for so many of the social problems ruining and holding back lives.”

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Bishop of Durham asks about advocates for unaccompanied asylum seeking children

The Bishop of Durham asked a question on appointing advocates for unaccompanied asylum seeking children on 23rd January 2023, following a debate on safeguarding these children in hotels and other government-provided accommodation:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for the care with which he is responding today; it is appreciated. Can he say how well qualified the social workers and others are to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, because there are particular issues around them? Would it not be better if we had a system of placing an advocate for each child, who could help them through the system, as soon as they arrive?

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Bishop of St Albans asks about lunch costs for pupils ineligible for free schools meals

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 23rd January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of an increase in the number of pupils who are ineligible for free school meals being unable to afford lunch.

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Bishop of Durham asks about funded early years childcare for families with no recourse to public funds

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 9th January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask His Majesty’s Government how many children subject to no recourse to public funds (NRPF) conditions in receipt of 15 hours a week of free early education are British citizens.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about school milk programmes

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 9th January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of children under five years old who benefit from the provision of free school milk; and what plans they have to expand that provision.

Lord Markham (Con): Approximately 810,587 children received a portion of milk through the Nursery Milk Scheme every school day during 2021/22. There are no plans to expand the provision.

Hansard

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