Bishop of Durham asks Government about resources for unaccompanied child refugees

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On 6th and 7th March 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received written answers to questions he had asked of Government about resources and capacity available to help unaccompanied child refugees.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that local authorities have sufficient resources to accept unaccompanied child refugees in the financial year 2017–18. Continue reading

Bishop of Durham asks Government if it will accept unaccompanied child refugees in next financial year

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durham-230117On 27th February 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question about unaccompanied child refugees.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will accept unaccompanied child refugees under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 in the financial year 2017–18. Continue reading

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support to address self-harm by young people

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stalbans190117-bOn 9th February 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Massey of Darwen “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they plan to take in the light of the Association for Young People’s Health briefing There for you which discusses the role of parents in supporting young people with mental health problems.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, there are few more urgent issues in modern Britain than the state of mental health among our young people, and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, for tabling this important debate. Referrals to specialist mental health services have risen dramatically in recent years as increasing social pressures on our young people threaten the mental health of a generation. Issues around body image are one area of particular concern, fuelled in part by the rise of social media. I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Gloucester for her important work around body image and self-worth. Continue reading

Bishop of Durham calls for more joined-up approach to tackling child poverty

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durham-230117On 24th January 2017 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the Government “why they have abolished the Child Poverty Unit which was sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education and HM Treasury.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I know the Minister will agree that no child chooses to live in poverty, so when a child is hungry or lives in poor housing, will the Minister and the Government recognise that these are our children, as a society, and that that means we must have good joined-up structures which tackle these issues? Does he also recognise that the abolition of the CPU does not hint at good joined-up structures? Continue reading

Bishop of St Albans raises concerns about self-harm by young people

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stalbans190117On 19th January 2017 Labour Peer Lord Hunt of King’s Heath asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of Young Minds’ analysis published on 21 December 2016 that 64 per cent of Clinical Commissioning Groups are diverting new funding for children’s mental health services to other areas”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, this is a very serious and growing problem. Recent research has shown over the last five years that the number of hospital admissions associated with children’s self-harm has grown by 93% among girls and 45% among boys. It seems extraordinary that when money is announced for mental health services it is then not spent. First, how many years will we wait until we need to ring-fence that money, because this is a really important issue? Secondly, to pick up on the previous but one question, will the Government commit to producing guidelines for schools and colleges about preventing and responding to self-harm, so that we have some practical things put in place? Continue reading

Bishop of St Albans questions Government about underage online gambling

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St Albans 2On the 12th January 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith asked a question in the Lords about underage gambling online. Lord Ashton of Hyde responded for the Government. Those exchanges and the follow-up questions of Peers are reproduced below:

 The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to tackle the prevalence of underage gambling online, in the light of the Gambling Commission’s report Young People and Gambling 2016.

Bishop of St Albans raises serious need to address self harm amongst children and young people

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On 6th December 2016, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke to a question he had tabled to ask the Government “what assessment they have made of the rise in the number of children and young people being treated for self-harm.” Lord Prior of Brampton responded for the Government. The Bishops’ follow-up question and those of Peers are reproduced below. 

StAlbans171115The Lord Bishop of St Albans To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the rise in the number of children and young people being treated for self-harm.

Lord Prior of Brampton My Lords, the Government are aware of the appalling rise in self-harm in children and young people and the misery this reflects. The Government are also acutely aware that self-harm is a leading indicator of risk of suicide and recognise that much more needs to be done to address this issue.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans I thank the Minister for his reply. The research from the World Health Organization shows that around 20% of British 15 year-olds report some sort of self-harm. In the past five years, research shows that hospital admissions associated with self-harm have gone up by nearly 93% among girls and 45% among boys. Having recently visited the outstanding charity selfharmUK, in Luton in my diocese, I have seen what a concerted and systematic approach to this problem can have on a very difficult issue, and we need something similar at a national level. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit to publishing guidelines for schools and colleges about preventing and responding to self-harm?