On 11th December 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer from the Department for Work and Pensions to two written questions on child poverty.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have carried out any forecasts of the level of child poverty between now and 2020; and if so, whether they will be made public.[HL3230]
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have calculated the impact on child poverty of the combined tax and benefit policy changes announced to date since May 2010.[HL3231] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans presses Government on child poverty strategy (Written Answer)”
On 8th December 2014, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of child poverty on children’s early years educational development. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Derby:
My Lords, has the Minister heard of the report At What Cost?
produced by the Children’s Commission on Poverty, which is a group of young people supported by the Children’s Society? If the Minister has come across the report, what will the Government do about the recommendations in it?
Lord Nash: Again, I am afraid that I will have to write to the right reverend Prelate on that matter.
On 1st December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the first day of Committee Stage for the Modern Slavery Bill. A former member of the Joint Select Committee that undertook the pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill, the Bishop spoke in favour of three amendments to the bill – one relating to ensuring that the legislation is ‘victim focused’, the second – recommended by the Joint Select Committee and co-sponsored by the Bishop – to create a specific offence for child exploitation, where a child has been exploited but not moved or trafficked, and the third to make criminalise all paying for sexual services. Following assurances from the Government of further discussions, the first two amendments were withdrawn. The third amendment was withdrawn following the recognition the the Bill was not an appropriate place for changes to be made to the law on prostitution.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks during Modern Slavery Bill debate”
“The Church of England schools’ commitment to this aim is seen in the breadth of our holistic educational vision. We seek to conceive of education as developing children’s creativity and awareness of the world around them—of course, we are not alone in that. To fit students for a life of active civic engagement, and not just to learn facts, is what education should be about.”
On 20th November 2014, Baroness Kidron led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on children’s and young people’s online and digital interactions. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, took part in the debate, which was timed to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention. The Bishop spoke about the ability of online education resources to release the talents of all children, noting the Church of England’s commitment to a holistic educational vision in its schools. He also highlighted some of the risks associtated with young people using the internet and supported calls for the government to review how the UNCRC can be applied to the context of these online and digital interactions.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I begin by echoing the congratulations offered to the noble Baroness, Lady Shields, on an excellent maiden speech. I join her in applauding the wonderful work in this area of the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, to whom I am also grateful for providing the House with an opportunity to take stock of the changes wrought over the past couple of decades by the growth of the internet and evolution of digital technologies—on this auspicious day, 25 years since the establishment of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which coincides, as she pointed out, with the beginning of the development of the internet. What a different world we live in now that the convention has come of age. It behoves us to consider the new cultural landscape in which we find ourselves, in which 81% of 12 to 15 year-olds use the internet every day. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester takes part in debate on relationship between children’s rights and internet use”
“These loans are not being taken seriously by young people, serious though they are. We have allowed them to take over our televisions and radios, normalising them to the point where their use is seen as casual. Just this morning I was told the story of a young woman who took out a payday loan to pay for a Domino’s pizza. That could prove to be a very expensive pizza indeed.”- Bishop of Norwich, 3/11/14
On 3rd November 2014, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, took part in the Committee Stage of the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill, speaking in favour of an amendment to regulate the advertising of payday loans to children. The Bishop highlighted the pervasiveness of pre-wateshed advertising of payday loans, and the fact that young parents were far more likely to take out a loan than older parents. He also called for greater investment in financial education.
The amendment, which was co-sponsored by the Bishop of Truro, was withdrawn at the end of the debate, with its supporters calling for the Government to take further action before the Bill returned for its Report Stage.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I rise to support the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and to speak to Amendment 105B, in the name of my colleague the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Truro, on the advertising of payday loans. He cannot be here today but has been working very closely with the Children’s Society on this issue. Amendment 105B seeks to make provisions to restrict the times at which payday loan advertisements are shown, most specifically in relation to the watershed.
It surprised me to discover that, according to Ofcom, no less than 80% of all payday loan advertisements are shown before the watershed. It is therefore no surprise—to pick up on some of the statistics that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, mentioned—that the Children’s Society found in its survey that over half of all children aged 10 to 17 reckon that they see payday loan advertisements either “often” or “all the time”. It is the sheer quantity of these advertisements that normalises payday loans for children and young people. The research shows that one-third of all teenagers think that the payday loan adverts themselves are tempting and exciting—they are very well designed. Those teenagers are much more likely than their counterparts to say that they would consider taking out a payday loan in the future. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich supports ban on pre-watershed payday loan advertising”
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate on amendment 43 to the serious crime bill, moved by Baroness Walmsley, which places legal obligations on people in positions of power to report allegations of abuse, making failure to do so a serious crime. The Bishop argued in favour of this amendment, highlighting cases over the years where failure to report allegations of abuse had often led to cases of widespread and prolific abuse in institutions of a highly serious nature. Baroness Walmsley the lead sponsor of the amendment decided when concluding her remarks at the end of the debate to withdraw amendment 43 following assurances given by the Government Minister, she said “I am delighted that there will be a public consultation’ … ‘I hope that they will make their voices heard.”
Read the full transcript of his speech here:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I once again support the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley. Indeed, since I last spoke in this place on this matter, the need for an obligation to be placed
on certain individuals to report knowledge or reasonable suspicions of abuse involving the most vulnerable has become more pressing. Continue reading “BISHOP OF DURHAM CO-SPONSORS AMENDMENT TO SERIOUS CRIME BILL ON CHILD PROTECTION”
“I worry enormously that in our society we fall too easily into a tendency to demonise and victimise and fall between us and them… I suggest that there is clear evidence that our society is struggling to understand itself as a society today, and not enough evidence on the value of justice for all members of our society” – Bishop of Truro, 16/10/14
On 16th October 2014, the House of Lords debated a motion in the name of Baroness Tyler of Enfield, “that this House takes note of Her Majesty’s Government’s Social Justice strategy.” The Bishop of Truro gave the following speech:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, for initiating this debate and congratulate her on her very clear and comprehensive introduction to this very important topic. I am also very grateful to be speaking in a debate when my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Ely is going to make his maiden speech. If it were not presumably against the protocols of this House, I would like to congratulate him on doing so before he has done it. However, knowing him as I do, I think that that is probably very dangerous. Continue reading “Lords debates social justice – speech by Bishop of Truro”