On 21st February 2019 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked the Government “whether they intend to reconsider recent changes to access to free school meals following their decision to delay the roll out of Universal Credit.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question on the two-child limit:
On 14th February 2019 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Lord Roberts of Llandudno, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to improve immigration procedures in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, took part:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord for securing this debate, and need to declare my own interest, as laid out in the register, as a trustee of Reset.
Given the velocity with which the incredibly narrow immigration Bill will likely be sped through this House, any and all opportunities for Parliament to provide scrutiny of immigration is to be welcomed. Without more scrutiny we seem to risk squandering the potential for a reset moment in the way that the UK thinks, debates and legislates about migration.
On 6th February 2019 Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to a question about Police widows pension entitlements.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service on 24 January 2018 (123402), what plans they have, if any, to amend the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 to equalise the support given to the widows of police officers. [HL13065]
On 4th February 2019 Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town asked the Government “what progress it has made on the design and implementation of the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the light of reports that the Prime Minister is considering providing additional funds to former steel and mining communities and industrial towns.” Responding to the news that the Government would launch the consultation on the single prosperity fund shortly, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
On 14th January 2019 the House of Lords voted to pass a ‘Motion to Regret’ the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, tabled by the Leader of the Opposition Baroness Smith of Basildon. Five bishops voted, and whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury attended and spoke in the debate, he abstained in the vote.
Baroness Smith of Basildon moved ‘That this House, while noting that it is for the House of Commons to determine the matter, considers that a no deal outcome to negotiations under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union must be emphatically rejected, and regrets that withdrawal from the European Union on the terms set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration laid before Parliament would damage the future economic prosperity, internal security and global influence of the United Kingdom.
Following comments by the Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd on changes to Universal Credit, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, who speaks for the Church of England on issues relating to children and young people, said:
“As a just and compassionate society, we believe that every child is a blessing and deserves to be treated equally.
“So I very much welcome today’s announcement that the two-child limit policy will not be extended to children born before the policy came into effect in April 2017. I also welcome the Government’s more considered approach to moving people on to Universal Credit from the old benefits system.