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”

Bishop of Ely asks about school exclusions and education of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

On 16th January 2019 the Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway received three written answers to questions, on school exclusions and the education of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers:

The Lord Bishop of Ely: 

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following their Race Disparity Audits, what steps they are taking to ensure that educational institutions improve the standard of reading among Gypsies, Roma and Travellers aged 6–7.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following their Race Disparity Audits, what steps they are taking to ensure that educational institutions improve attainment at GCSE level for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government how it will regulate gambling advertising online focused on young people

On 15th January 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government in the House of Lords. The answer, his subsequent question and those of other Members are below:

Gambling: Children

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of gambling among children and young people.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Ashton of Hyde) (Con): My Lords, protecting children is a priority for the Government. There are strict controls to prevent underage gambling. In 2011, 23% of 11 to 15 year-olds had gambled in the last week, including with friends. Last year, it was 12%. On the other hand, the Gambling Commission’s Young People & Gambling 2018 report shows an increase to 14%, though not to earlier levels. Sample sizes are small, and we do not know if this is a trend. We are of course monitoring the situation very carefully.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. At a time when the gambling industry is spending about £1.5 billion a year on encouraging gambling, when children are seeing three gambling adverts every day on average and when 55,000 teenagers in this country are now classified as problem gamblers, we need to look at what is happening particularly online, where young people most often see the adverts, which is outside all the previous criteria for regulation. What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to regulate online advertising, which is particularly focused on our young people? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government how it will regulate gambling advertising online focused on young people”

Bishop of Durham Welcomes Universal Credit Announcement

From the Church of England website:

Following comments by the Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd on changes to Universal Credit, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, who speaks for the Church of England on issues relating to children and young people, said:

“As a just and compassionate society, we believe that every child is a blessing and deserves to be treated equally.

“So I very much welcome today’s announcement that the two-child limit policy will not be extended to children born before the policy came into effect in April 2017. I also welcome the Government’s more considered approach to moving people on to Universal Credit from the old benefits system.

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Bishop of Gloucester asks about impact of benefit reforms and two-child limit on families with children

On 10th January 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government on benefit reforms and the impact on children. She specifically raised the issue of the two-child limit. A Government announcement on that was made the following day. The response to the question and to the Bishop’s subsequent question and those of other Members, can be seen in full below:

Benefit Reforms

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of benefit reforms on families with children.

​The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Buscombe) (Con): My Lords, this Government support families. Our welfare system supports those who are vulnerable and helps people into work. These reforms are working, with 3.3 million more people in work and 300,000 fewer children in absolute poverty than in 2010, a record low. Once fully rolled out, universal credit will result in an extra 200,000 people moving into work and will empower people to work an extra 113 million hours a year to support their families.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: I thank the Minister for her Answer and I am grateful for recent engagement with faith and other groups on this issue, but the Government’s own statistics show that child poverty is rising among families with more than two children, even when those families have an adult in work. One of the principal drivers of this increase is the Government’s two-child limit, which makes it harder for parents of more than two children to work their way out of poverty, contrary to the aims of universal credit. In light of this evidence, will the Government reconsider that two-child policy? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about impact of benefit reforms and two-child limit on families with children”