The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on reform to debt management for universal credit recipients during a debate on food banks and the rise in poverty on 9th January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, given the data published by the Trussell Trust in December which revealed that 57% of people referred to food banks who are in receipt of universal credit face government deductions from their or their partner’s benefits income, could the Minister outline what steps the Government will take to reform the debt management process for universal credit?
The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 22nd November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask His Majesty’s Government, further to the recent loan provided by the International Monetary Fund to the country of Zambia, what discussions, if any, they have had with (1) the government of China, and (2) private western lenders, about cancelling debt owed by the government of Zambia.
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 5th September 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of government debt deductions on Universal Credit recipients’ ability to afford essential items; and what steps they are taking to prevent debt deductions contributing to destitution as the cost of living increases.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about debt recovery on 23rd March 2022, during a debate on the government’s spring statement:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, in the light of the huge inflationary pressures that are on people across the board and with the Government’s plan to use universal credit as a way of recovering £6 billion-worth of historic tax credit debt, what assessment has been made of whether there is the slightest chance of recovering those debts? What assessment has been made of that level of debt?
The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about debt and support for those on low incomes on 22nd March 2022, during a debate on social security:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the Minister agree with me that we need a wide range of supportive schemes when we are trying to work with those who are coping with the issues caused by low incomes? Have Her Majesty’s Government assessed the Financial Shield pilot scheme which is running at the moment? It brings together health professionals and community organisations, as well as creditors, who are trying to take a long-term supportive approach to working with those who find themselves in debt?
Debts: Advisory Services – written question Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans. Answer received 20th May 2021.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the findings in the Christian’s Against Poverty’s Our Story, Client Report 2021, published in April, that 45 per cent of clients did not initially know where to access help to manage their debts, what plans they have to better (1) signpost, and (2) raise awareness of, debt advice services as part of the recovery from COVID-19. [HL93]
On 6th October 2020 the House of Lords approved the Government’s Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. The Bishop of Rochester spoke in the debate, in support of the aim of the Regulations:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate, and I broadly and warmly welcome the provisions in these regulations. While the effects of the pandemic certainly give increased importance to these provisions, the issues are, of course, of very much longer standing. I pay tribute to organisations, including the Children’s Society, which have long campaigned on these matters, as well as to the honourable Member for Rochester and Strood, Kelly Tolhurst, my own Member of Parliament, who, before she was made a Minister, proposed a Private Member’s Bill in the other place to address some of these issues. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester welcomes Government plans for breathing space for those with problem debt”
On 11th June the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to ensure that G20 countries cancel any debt owed to them by the poorest countries”.
Baroness Penn responded to his question: My Lords, the Government are concerned by debt vulnerabilities in developing countries, which Covid-19 has amplified. The Chancellor and his G20 counterparts agreed a historic suspension of debt repayments from the world’s poorest countries. This will see official creditors provide up to $12 billion of cash-flow relief to help countries respond to the health and economic impacts of Covid-19. It also provides time to assess what further assistance these countries may need as the full economic impact becomes clearer.