Bishop of Durham asks Government about social security benefits for children

On 6th July the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Stedman-Scott on social security benefits for children.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL5845 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Save the Children to increase the child component of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits by £20 a week, following their research showing that 7 in 10 families with children in receipt of Universal Credit are cutting back on essentials as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Votes: Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations

On 15th June 2020 two votes took place on the Government’s Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations. Eight bishops took part across both Divisions of the House. The debate can be read here.

House of Lords Division Lobby

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Bishop of Durham asks Government to lift no recourse to public funds policy to help children in poverty

On 15th June 2020 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent any increase in child poverty”. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a follow up question focusing on those who have ‘no recourse to public fundsattached to their immigration status.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, children in families with no recourse to public funds are at increased risk of facing poverty due to the pandemic. The increases the Government have announced do not offer support to the thousands of children whose parents have “no recourse to public funds” attached to their immigration status, making them extremely vulnerable to the pandemic’s effects. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider lifting the NRPF condition to protect children from poverty?

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Bishop of Durham asks Government unaccompanied refugee children

On 5th June the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to two question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on refugee and asylum children.

800px-Official_portrait_of_The_Lord_Bishop_of_Durham_crop_2The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4110 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have put in place to ensure that children can continue to be transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4111 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications for the UK of successful transfers of separated children from Greece to other countries in Europe under the European Commission’s relocation scheme for transfers of unaccompanied children.

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Bishop of Durham asks the Government for statistics on two-child limit

On 29th May 2020 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to two questions on social security benefits.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4491 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to publish the statistics detailing the number of families and children affected by the two-child limit benefit policy up to April.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4492 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to publish the statistics detailing the number of families affected by the two-child limit benefit policy broken down by (1) parliamentary constituency, and (2) local authority.

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Bishops of Durham and St Albans debate international response to Covid-19

On 18th May 2020 a virtual sitting of the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Sugg, “That the Virtual Proceedings do consider the international response to COVID-19.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, and the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

20.04.30 Durham 2The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, thankfully, the virus appears to be spreading slowly in most African countries, with Lesotho declaring its first case only last week. However, the World Bank forecasts that Covid-19 could push 49 million people into extreme poverty. The economic impact on some poorer nations could be more detrimental than the health threat. The aid Her Majesty’s Government committed at the international pledging event will be vital for the poorest nations, but our international response must be sustainable, which requires trade, not simply aid. What actions have Her Majesty’s Government taken to ensure that good free trade agreements are made with poorer nations?

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Bishop of Durham says disadvantage gap will widen the longer children have to learn from home

On 14th May 2020 a statement was given regarding the reopening and operation of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

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Lord Bishop of Durham: I am grateful to the Minister and the Secretary of State for meeting myself and the Church of England education team earlier in the week. The longer that children are learning from home, the wider the disadvantage gap that may well be developing. Does the Minister agree that the risks of not reopening schools in a managed and phased way are actually greater than the logistical challenges presented by reopening?

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Bishop of Durham asks Government to help rough sleepers leaving Covid-19 temporary accommodation

On 14th May 2020 the virtual House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Bird “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to support people who were previously homeless into permanent housing after the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the short debate:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I applaud the achievement of accommodation having been offered to 90% of rough sleepers. The community collaboration that achieved this reflects the focus of the housing commission set up by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury of building strong communities alongside homes. What plans do Her Majesty’s Government have to create multiagency partnerships to create an integrated homelessness system? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government to help rough sleepers leaving Covid-19 temporary accommodation”

Bishop of Durham asks Government to take regional approach to phasing out Job Retention Scheme

On 13th May 2020 Lord Agnew of Oulton repeated a statement given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the COVID-19 economic support package. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

Durham 1Lord Bishop of Durham: The extension of the JRS is extremely welcome. Here in the north-east, we have a worryingly high infection rate and among the highest average death rates per capita. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider taking a regional approach to phasing out the JRS, ensuring that the economic and social needs of each region are reflected adequately in the Government’s ongoing support?

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Bishop of Durham asks Government about families affected by two-child benefit limit due to Covid-19

On 13th May 2020 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the benefit cap on the incomes of Universal Credit claimants following the increase in the Universal Credit standard allowance announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 March”. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

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Lord Bishop of Durham: I thank the noble Baroness for again highlighting how the benefit cap is trapping families in poverty. In light of the report published last week by the Church of England and CPAG which estimates that around 60,000 more families will be affected by the two-child limit due to Covid-19, what assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of the impact of this limit on families who have made a new universal credit claim since the lockdown?

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