Bishop of Durham asks about EU Settlement Scheme, vulnerable groups and children

19.04.24 DurhamOn 30th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from Government, in reply to three questions about children and vulnerable EU nationals and the EU Settlement Scheme:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: (i) HL17344 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the guidance issued on 3 April to all local authorities and health and social care trusts in regard to the EU Settlement Scheme and looked-after children and care leavers; and whether it is mandatory for local authorities to follow that guidance.

(ii) HL17345 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence was collected on the children who were non-UK European nationals accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, their family situations and possible vulnerabilities, before drafting the guidance on EU Settlement Scheme and looked-after children and care leavers issued on 3 April.

(iii) HL17346 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to evaluate the impact of the funding of support and its provision to vulnerable groups, including analysis of what future work is needed to ensure that vulnerable groups are able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after funding ends in March 2020. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about EU Settlement Scheme, vulnerable groups and children”

Bishop of Durham challenges Government on Universal Credit pilots and two-child limit

Durham040219On 23rd July 2019 the Government Minister Baroness Buscombe repeated a government statement about Universal Credit. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked some follow-up questions:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for all she said and look back several months to how she involved us and engaged with a group of us in a range of helpful ways. The regulations that have been laid show evidence of the Government having listened. I am deeply grateful for the ongoing engagement with stakeholder groups. However, along with my noble friends who have already spoken, I wish to highlight that this House and the other place, not the stakeholder groups, have to scrutinise the regulations, so to land them on us at this point in a negative form seems quite hard to take, if I am being honest.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government how many children are at risk of poverty and abuse because of their ‘no public funds’ immigration status

St Albans 2On 23rd July 2019 Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab) asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact on children of the no recourse to public funds immigration condition”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research by the Children’s Society shows that this particular group of children is more likely to experience absolute poverty, homelessness and greater levels of domestic violence. Despite the significant evidence about the damage that poverty, destitution and abuse can have on children’s outcomes, the Home Office has not yet made public how many children are subject to these NRPF [no recourse to public funds] conditions on their families’ leave to remain. Will the Minister commit to making these figures publicly available?

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Bishop of Ely asks Government to consult children about problem of bullying

Ely231018On 22nd July 2019 Baroness Bull  asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of weight- and shape-related bullying, criticism and teasing on long-term mental health”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, the Children’s Society has done quite a bit of research into the profile of those involved in bullying. Many have had very unhappy lives. Does the Minister agree that it would be a good idea, in policy formation, if we spent more time talking to the children themselves and getting their case put more fully before us? The Children’s Society advocates that the Government systematically measure children’s well-being and use this to inform policy-making. Does the Minister accept the potential merits of measuring children’s well-being?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government what representations they are making to China about Uyghur children

St Albans 2On 22nd July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon,  about Uyghur children in China:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL17001 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about reports of (1) forcible separations, and (2) re-education, of Uighur children in the eastern province of Xinjiang.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): We have serious concerns about the detention of more than a million Uyghurs, along with widespread surveillance and restrictions targeted at minorities. British diplomats in China visit Xinjiang every few months, in order to see at first-hand the situation there. They most recently visited in May 2019, and their observations have supported much of the recent open source reporting about the restrictions targeted at specific ethnic groups.

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Bishop of Durham asks Government for response to report on children’s experiences of the hostile environment’

Durham161117On 9th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question to Government,  “what assessment they have made of Project 17’s report Not Seen, Not Heard: Children’s experiences of the hostile environment”:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I am delighted to introduce this debate on Project 17’s report, Not seen, Not heard. In doing so, I draw attention to my interests as listed on the register and, in particular, to the research support I receive from the Good Faith Partnership’s RAMP project on immigration policy.

In this report, Project 17 highlights the way that vulnerable families and children are trapped between overstretched local authorities and punitive immigration controls. As with the ongoing harm caused by the two-child limit, it seems that cost-cutting and punitive notions of control are prioritised over the flourishing and protection of families. We need a radical change of direction away from seeing vulnerable children as a burden. Like many in this Chamber, I believe that a policy built on the gift and voices of children is not a naive aspiration but the very definition of good policy.

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Bishop of Chelmsford calls for legal definition of child criminal exploitation

chelmsford170119bOn 9th July 2019 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what is their response to the report by The Children’s Society, Counting Lives: responding to children who are criminally exploited, published on 5 July”. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, following up on that last question, the grooming patterns of children and young people, whether for sexual exploitation or criminal exploitation, are almost exactly the same. It took us ages to achieve a proper definition of exploitation of children in the sex industry. We should not make the same mistake again. It seems that what we need to do, and I ask the Government to consider this, is create a legally binding definition of child criminal exploitation that makes it absolutely clear that the vast majority of these children, some as young as 10 years old, are victims.

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