On 18th April 2018 the House of Lords considered amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill at its Report Stage. Two votes took place on amendments to the Bill, both of which saw bishops take part: Continue reading “Votes: EU (Withdrawal) Bill”
On 26th March 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question he had tabled to Government on the two-child limit policy for tax credit and universal credit. His follow-up question and those of other members is reproduced below:
The Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what specific measures they are taking to monitor the impact of the two-child limit policy in the child element of Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit on the well-being of children.
The Minister for State, Department for International Development, Lord Bates: My Lords, the Government are committed to supporting child well-being, and keep all our child welfare policies under review. We provide a range of support for children, including child benefit, that continues to be paid for each child in a household. Since 2010 there are 1 million fewer people in absolute poverty, including 300,000 fewer children.
The Bishop of Durham: I thank the Minister for that reply. Given that the Government’s impact assessment argues that the two-child limit would have a positive impact on overall family stability, and that the policy would increase financial resilience and support improved life chances for children, what current evidence does the Minister have to support the claims that the policy will have a positive impact on overall family stability and improve life chances for children?
This article was written by the Bishop of Durham for The House Magazine and was published on 26th March 2018. It can also be seen on the PoliticsHome website, here.
Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit
Almost one year on from its introduction, the consequences of the government’s two-child limit policy are deeply concerning, writes the Bishop of Durham
The two-child limit came into effect on April 6th 2017, restricting the amount of support to families with three or more children through tax credits and Universal Credit. As the policy’s first anniversary approaches, is it timely to review its impact and purpose.
When this measure was considered in the House of Lords, as part of the Welfare Reform & Work Act, I worked closely with other peers and faith groups to outline concerns. A core foundation of a just and compassionate benefits system is that the level of support is linked to need; a foundation which risked being seriously undermined by these changes. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit”
On 14th March 2018, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a response to a written question on school meals for children in poverty:
Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answers by Lord O’Shaughnessy on 26 February (HL Deb, cols 425–28), what measures they plan to take to ensure that all children living in poverty over the age of seven can receive a healthy meal at lunch time, as part of combatting child obesity and poor levels of nutrition.
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham receives response to written question on school meals for children in poverty”
On 12th March 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received responses to two written questions on accommodation for asylum seekers in the UK:
(i) Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many bedrooms in accommodation allocated to asylum seekers in (1) the North East of England, and (2) Yorkshire, under Home Office COMPASS contracts, are shared by two or more unrelated individuals; and what proportion of the total number of bedrooms available in those areas that figure represents.
On 26nd February 2018, Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what plans they have for publicising a detailed evaluation of stage one of the National Child Obesity Strategy; and when a publication timetable for stage two will be produced’. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question about free school meals.
The Lord Bishop of Durham:
My Lords, the relationship between childhood obesity and poverty is well evidenced. In the light of warnings by the Children’s Society and others that 1 million children in poverty will miss out on a free school meal under the current proposals for changes to entitlement under universal credit, does the Minister agree that all children in poverty should receive a free school meal to combat child malnutrition by ensuring that they receive a healthy meal at lunchtime? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham – all children in poverty should have free school meals”