Bishop of Durham asks Government about low earners, in work poverty and universal basic income

On 6th May 2020 the Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion that the Lords “do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, also spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I congratulate the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby on her moving maiden speech. I am grateful for all she does to champion the voices of children.

I want to thank Archbishop Sentamu for his leadership in consistently speaking up for racial and social justice. He champions work among young people, notably through the Archbishop of York Youth Trust. He inspires others to do the same.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a dividing experience through its unequal financial impact. The lowest-earning 10% are seven times more likely than high earners to work in a sector which has shut down. Archbishop Sentamu ​champions the real living wage. In-work poverty is compounded by irregular working hours. Such unpredictability means that families cannot easily save to safeguard themselves from unexpected life events. Eighteen per cent of the north-east’s working population experience insecure work. Turn2us found that people on zero-hours contracts expect a £193 drop in monthly income. These workers often provide essential services such as cleaning and delivery, yet face great financial instability. Will Her Majesty’s Government promote Living Hours accreditation? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about low earners, in work poverty and universal basic income”

Bishop of Durham asks Government to revisit two-child limit benefit policy in light of new report

On 5th May 2020 the virtual House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on welfare benefit claims during the pandemic. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement. I add my thanks to all those in DWP for the incredible amount of work that they are doing.

I want to return to the two-child limit. I am sorry but it simply will not do to keep parroting back the same answer every time we raise this issue. Today, the Church of England and the Child Poverty Action Group published our latest information and a report on the impact of the limit. It includes evidence from the early days of the Covid crisis. Sixty thousand more families will be impacted. The policy is utterly flawed. I have been assured by Minister after Minister that if we give them the evidence, they will re-examine the limit. It is time that it be re-examined. Please agree at least to look at our report and re-explore the arguments around this issue. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government to revisit two-child limit benefit policy in light of new report”

Bishop of Durham: Covid-19 crisis has amplified child poverty, we should suspend benefit cap and two-child limit

On 30th April 2020 in a virtual sitting the House of Lords debated a Motion in the name of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of people who will be (1) living in poverty, or (2) unable to meet their basic needs, as a result of COVID-19; and what steps they are taking to support such people.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:

 

The Lord Bishop of Durham:  My Lords, the Covid-19 crisis has amplified child poverty. The welcome measures that raised UC and increased LHA show that radical government action is possible, but they have highlighted two policies as unfair. The first is the two-child limit. Recent events demonstrate life’s unpredictability. It exposes the flawed view of how the two-child limit policy was set up. Children should not be penalised for changing circumstances. Up to 60,000 families may find themselves affected in the coming weeks. Next week, the Church of England and CPAG will publish a report exploring the policy’s impact on these families. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham: Covid-19 crisis has amplified child poverty, we should suspend benefit cap and two-child limit”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of coronavirus on early years childcare providers

On 28th April 2020 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on early years childcare and coronavirus:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL3310 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the (1) short-, and (2) long-term, financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early years childcare providers in receipt of local authority funding who have restricted access to the Job Retention Scheme. [T]

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of coronavirus on early years childcare providers”

Bishop of Durham asks about immigration health surcharge, impact on children and NHS workers

On 1st & 20th April 2020 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received answers to written questions on the immigration health surcharge:


The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL2736 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence was used to inform the increase in the immigration health surcharge, announced in the 2020 Budget. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about immigration health surcharge, impact on children and NHS workers”

Bishop of Durham asks about visa requirements for religious workers under the new points-based immigration system:

On 30th March 2020 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on visa requirements for religious workers under the new points-based immigration system:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL2680 To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there will be any change to the existing requirements for a Temporary Worker-Religious Worker visa (Tier 5) under the new points-based immigration system. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about visa requirements for religious workers under the new points-based immigration system:”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about measurement of poverty

On 4th March 2020 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on measurement of poverty:

The Lord Bishop of Durham:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are planning to adopt the Social Metrics Commission’s measurement of poverty across all departments following the Department for Work and Pensions’ commitment in May 2019 to develop experimental statistics using that Commission’s measurement; and whether they have any further information on this issue. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about measurement of poverty”