Bishop of Durham tells Peers of support on offer for unaccompanied child refugees

Bp Durham June 2015 bOn 25th January 2016, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, responded to a statement in the House of Lords regarding the plight of unaccompanied refugee minors.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I declare an interest as one of the co-chairs of the National Refugee Welcome Board. Is the Minister aware that the organisations Home for Good and Coram have somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 families already offering to take unaccompanied minors? Of course, they have to have all the safeguarding checks and they will not all be suitable, but there is a vast body of people already willing to offer to help to resettle unaccompanied children in this country. The National Refugee Welcome Board is committed to working with the Government to try to help in that, with those organisations.

Lord Bates: That is a very generous welcome and one that we appreciate very much indeed. We are conscious that a lot of the people who are coming in the first wave are those who are most in need; those who have been victims of torture, with acute medical needs, and those most at risk. They may not be appropriate for the type of generous hospitality being suggested. But certainly as the scheme progresses we will very much want to call on that active and typical generosity on behalf of the British people.

(via Parliament.uk)

Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham passes amendment to Bill on measurement of child poverty

On 25th January 2016, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, led a debate on an amendment he had tabled to the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. The amendment, at the Bill’s Report Stage, sought to ensure that Government would continue to use income as part of its measurement for child poverty.The amendment was supported by the Labour and Liberal Democrat frontbench and by a crossbench Peer. The Bishop put the amendment to a vote, which the House passed by 290 to 198. His speech and others from the debate are below.

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5 Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham passes amendment to Bill on measurement of child poverty”

Bishop of Durham highlights the importance of religious literacy at all levels of government

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5On the 18th January 2016 Baroness Butler-Sloss asked the Government, on behalf of Lord Harries of Pentregarth, “what is their response to the report of the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life Living with Difference published on 7 December”. Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a supplementary question.  Continue reading “Bishop of Durham highlights the importance of religious literacy at all levels of government”

Welfare Reform and Work Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on benefit cap and rate freezes

On 21st December 2015 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in favour of six amendments to the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill, during the fourth day of its committee stage.

Durham171115The Bishop spoke to amendments 93 and 94, which would introduce considerations for the safeguarding of children and the welfare of the disabled into any statutory review of the benefit cap; to amendments 95, 100 and 102, which would block the proposed benefits freeze; and to amendment 101 (on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans), which would protect ESA Support Group claimants from the impact of the freeze to the basic ESA rate. Continue reading “Welfare Reform and Work Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on benefit cap and rate freezes”

Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on reporting on apprenticeships

On 14th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its third day of Committee. 

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of amendments that would require the government to provide a more thorough reporting on the take-up of apprenticeships. The amendments were withdrawn after debate.


14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in the north-east I get to see apprentices in the car industry, the subsea industry, traditional industries such as stonemasonry, farming, and all kinds of sectors in schools. It is brilliant to be able to see them face to face, to meet them and talk to them. There are brilliant apprenticeships and we need to grow them. Therefore, the 3 million target is fantastic, but I have to say that where the Bill refers to,

“information about the progress made in the reporting period towards the apprenticeships target”,

which is simply the figure of 3 million, that does not give the information about the types of apprenticeship that there are. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on reporting on apprenticeships”

Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Durham supports amendments about parents of young children

On 9th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its second day of Committee. 

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of a group of amendments to clause 15 of the Bill, concerned with work-related requirements and Universal credit. The amendments, which were withdrawn after the debate, sought to make the work-related requirements in legislation take into account particular circumstances of parents with young children or those with disabilities.


Bp Durham June 2015 b

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I encourage the Minister to at least agree to go away and think very seriously about these amendments. The paramountcy of the welfare of the child, I am sure, we are all entirely agreed about. We know that the first two years of life are absolutely crucial to long-term life chances. The next two years matter as much again. So how we behave towards children in the first four or five years of life, before they go to school, is the most significant factor in their long-term life chances.

Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Durham supports amendments about parents of young children”

Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Durham supports amendments on children’s life chances

On 9th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its second day of Committee. 

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of a group of amendments to clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill, concerned with Government reporting on the life chances of children. The amendments sought to require the Government to lay before Parliament a report setting out the measures it proposes to take to improve children’s life chances, and to rename the proposed Social Mobility Commission the ‘Life Chances Commission’. The amendments were withdrawn after the debate.

Bp Durham June 2015 bThe Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I rise to speak first to Amendment 31. Given the serious enthusiasm that the Government have for introducing “life chances” as a title and theme, it would make complete sense for the Government to want to report on improvement in children’s life chances in the future. So I commend this as being entirely in line with the purpose of the whole Bill—it would make sense to report. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Durham supports amendments on children’s life chances”