Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children

On 14th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its third day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler,  supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  •  Limiting the time a specified person can be detained for immigration purposes, and defining those purposes.
  • Family reunion for those seeking refugee status, and unaccompanied children

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of the Minister responding. The text of amendments 39, 40 and 48 supported by the Bishop are reproduced at the bottom. Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children”

Immigration and Social Security Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on right to work, cost of citizenship, impact on religious people

On 9th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its second day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, proposed and supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  • the right to work after six months for asylum claimants
  • ‘displaced talent visas’ for for skilled forcibly displaced people
  • reducing the cost of citizenship administration fees
  • assessing the impact of the Bill on religious people

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of others in support and the Minister responding: Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on right to work, cost of citizenship, impact on religious people”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about training and apprenticeship funding for disadvantaged students

On 21st July Lord Aberdare asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to ensure that the young people due to leave school in the current academic year are prepared for work in a post-COVID-19 environment; and what changes they have made to careers support and guidance provision to achieve this”. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a follow up question focusing on funding for training and apprenticeships.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Social Mobility Commission recently published an apprenticeships report, which highlighted a 36% reduction in the number of apprenticeship starters who were from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As we prioritise developing the skills of young people, can the Minister confirm how the new £1.6 billion funding for scaling up training and apprenticeships will be distributed across the country to ensure that areas such as the north-east with a high proportion of disadvantaged students have access to quality training?

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about training and apprenticeship funding for disadvantaged students”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on poverty in working families

On 15th July 2020 Lord McNicol of West Kilbride asked the Government “what steps they are taking to reduce the number of children living in poverty in working households.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, in the light of the Minister’s last answer about continual review, in April 2019 59% of families affected by the two-child limit were working, with many struggling to afford essentials. When the new statistics on the policy are released tomorrow, will Her Majesty’s Government finally agree to review and assess the evidence that the two-child limit negatively impacts children in working families and that lifting it is the most effective way to reduce the number of children living in poverty? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on poverty in working families”

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.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about social security benefits for children”

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?

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

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.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government unaccompanied refugee children”

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?

Continue reading “Bishops of Durham and St Albans debate international response to Covid-19”