Bishop of Durham asks about plans for restarting refugee resettlement scheme

On 25th November the Bishop of Durham received written answers to questions on the resumption of the refugee resettlement scheme:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 28 October (HL9221), what plans they have to ensure that once the refugee resettlement schemes are resumed, the commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable refugees through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme will be fulfilled, in addition to the new Global Resettlement Scheme commitment of 5,000 per year. [HL10217] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about plans for restarting refugee resettlement scheme”

Bishop of Durham asks about children’s views of education during the pandemic

On 16th November 2020 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government ” what plans they have to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into legislation.” The Bishop of Durham asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]:  Regarding the voice of children and young people, if Article 12 had been in law, what might their input have been on their own situation in schools, universities and the like through the pandemic? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about children’s views of education during the pandemic”

Bishop of Durham calls for a child poverty commission

On 12th November 2020 a Government statement on supporting disadvantaged families, including measures to address school holiday hunger, was given in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Durham asked a question in response:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: I warmly welcome so much in the Statement and in the decisions made; I also associate myself with those who ask why it did not all happen a bit more quickly. None the less, this has exposed the underlying fundamental structural issues which mean that we are not tackling child poverty in the round and as a whole. What consideration have Her Majesty’s Government given to creating really long-term solutions by forming a child poverty commission, as proposed by faith leaders in their recent letter to the Prime Minister? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for a child poverty commission”

Bishop of Durham asks about innovative solutions to homelessness

On 12th November 2020 the House of Lords asked questions of Government on the Covid-19 lockdown and its impact on homelessness and rough sleepers. The Bishop of Durham asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: The Salvation Army has an innovative project for short-term housing solutions by using “meanwhile use” land to provide high-quality modular homes rooted in church communities and supported by wider community groups. This gives the residents the provision of a flat and the relational support of the community. What consideration have Her Majesty’s Government given to the Salvation Army’s innovative approach to homelessness and similar projects? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about innovative solutions to homelessness”

Bishop of Durham asks about benefit increases to match coronavirus uplift in universal credit payments

On 12th November 2020 Lord Woolley of Woodford asked the Government “what plans they have to maintain the £20 a week increase in Universal Credit (1) for the duration of, and (2) after, the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bishop of Durham asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: Families in receipt of legacy benefits, such as employment and support allowance, did not benefit from the very welcome £20 a week uplift in benefits. These people are just as likely to be affected by the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and include many disabled people. Will the Government extend the increase in benefits to include those in receipt of legacy benefits, as recommended by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Keep the Lifeline campaign? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about benefit increases to match coronavirus uplift in universal credit payments”

Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill – Bishop of Durham raises child safety fears

On 11th November the House of Lords debated the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Durham spoke in the debate, raising concerns about the risks to the safety of children:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, I too would like to welcome the noble and learned Minister to the House and to his new role. Not many find their maiden speech to be that of introducing a Bill to the House, and I congratulate him on the necessarily blended speech.

I welcome the Government’s move to provide a statutory basis for covert human intelligence sources to participate in criminal conduct, where it is necessary and proportionate to do so for a limited set of specified purposes. We recognise the heavy duty placed on ​government to protect its citizens, and this Bill is a necessary step so that those undertaking these activities with a view to protecting the public can be clear in their status and duties.

However, while welcoming the intent behind this Bill, I am concerned that safeguards should be properly scrutinised, in particular when they concern the treatment of children. Continue reading “Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill – Bishop of Durham raises child safety fears”

Bishop of Durham asks about guidance and support on safety for places of worship

On 10th November a Government statement on the UK terror  threat level was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Durham asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: Places of worship have been included as targets of recent European attacks and there is a history of lone individuals targeting locations such as synagogues, mosques and churches. Considering that, what guidance and support is being given by the Government to faith communities and places of worship as they seek to balance being places of welcome and safety, open to all, without fortifying themselves unhelpfully? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about guidance and support on safety for places of worship”

Bishop of Durham asks about safe asylum routes and the outsourcing of asylum interviews

On 10th November the Bishop of Durham received four written answers to questions on safe asylum routes and the outsourcing of asylum interviews:

 The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 21 October (HL Deb, col 1598), when the review into “safe and legal routes to the UK for asylum seekers, refugees and their families” will be completed; and whether that review will be published. [HL9631] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about safe asylum routes and the outsourcing of asylum interviews”

Votes: UK Internal Market Bill

On 9th November 2020 the House of Lords debated and voted on the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill during its Committee stage. A cross-party group of Peers, including the Bishop of Leeds, had tabled motions that all the clauses of Part 5 of the Bill, which covered Northern Ireland, international law, and executive powers,  should not remain in the Bill. These successfully passed by large majorities across two votes. Nine bishops took part in the votes. Continue reading “Votes: UK Internal Market Bill”

Bishop of Durham asks if criminal justice Royal Commission will examine short sentences

On 10th November Lord Ramsbotham asked the Government “when they plan to announce (1) the chair, (2) the timeframe, and (3) the terms of reference, for the Royal Commission on criminal justice.” The Bishop of Durham asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, prisoners serving short sentences for non-violent crimes often get stuck in a so-called revolving door, with serious consequences to their family relationships, housing and rehabilitation. Will the commission be considering reports into the issues around short sentences and consider alternatives to custodial sentences, to enable rehabilitation in the community? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks if criminal justice Royal Commission will examine short sentences”