Bishop of Durham speaks on reducing child poverty and improving childcare

On 3rd June 2015, during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke on the need to provide good quality childcare, alleviate child poverty, and fully address the complex needs of families, in order to enable equality of opportunity at the start of life. The text of his speech is below and can be watched here:

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the stated intention of the Education and Adoption Bill is to,

“give all children the best possible start in life”.

Of course we all want this, so we must scrutinise carefully whether the proposals on adoption will produce it for children for whom adoption is the best route. Given that some of the most successful adoption agencies are small, localised ones, care will need to be taken in any move to regional agencies—which certainly has its strengths—so that the smaller agencies’ special skills and experience are not lost, particularly as they are often the most effective at placing and maintaining adoptions of the most hard-to-place children. Durham Family Welfare in my own area is a fine example. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham speaks on reducing child poverty and improving childcare”

Bishop of Durham asks about creation of jobs and apprenticeships through brownfield construction

On 3rd June 2015, Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take to encourage the use of brownfield sites in the North of England for public and private housing developments. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a supplementary question:

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the low levels of value in the north of England—the north-east as much as the north-west—have already been noted. Does the Minister recognise that one incentive is the possible creation of jobs and apprenticeships in things like bricklaying, plumbing and so forth, which we are desperately in need of in our region and in the nation as a whole?

Baroness Williams of Trafford: The right reverend Prelate makes an excellent point. Because of the speed and the size of housing development—indeed of construction in general—we now find ourselves needing to upskill those people who we need to do those jobs through apprenticeships, as he says, and through other initiatives. This is what lies behind the idea of the northern powerhouse—that the north will play its part in economic growth, as well as the south of England.


Bishop of Durham speaks about the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

On 20th January 2015 the Bishop of Durham spoke in support of amendment 2 in the name of Lord Rosser to the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill 2014-15 during the Bills committee stage. The amendment relates to inserting a sunset clause into the Bill which would be reviewed by Parliament after a two-year period. Following Lord Bates’s response from the Government to the amendment Lord Rosser decided to withdraw his amendment.

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 4The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, it is worth reminding ourselves of the speed of change in the world that has led to this legislation. If these proposals had been before us even 18 months ago, I suspect that we would not even have entertained them. Therefore, the speed of change that has brought them about demands that we say that we do not wish to forgo our existing liberties, some of which would be restricted by this Act, without having recourse, in two or three years’ time, to a serious look at whether the measures are working. So I fully support the idea of a sunset clause. I am prepared to accept that two years may be rather too brief, given all the circumstances and the likelihood that we are going to live with this for some time. I would, however, encourage the House to support these amendments in some form, since I believe that the removal of our liberties that is encompassed in these clauses is so serious that we should not put them into permanent place.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham speaks about the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill”

Bishop of Durham speaks during debate on Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

On 13th January 2015, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. In his remarks, the Bishop praised the collaborative working between the Department for Communities and Local Government and local community projects aimed at community cohesion and the prevention of radicalisation. He noted that prevention was most effective when tackled at the long-term grass-roots level. He urged caution over the implementation of parts of the legislation that deal with placing obligations on public institutions, at the risk of creating climates of fear and suspicion within these institutions.

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I share with every other reasonable person a horror of the evil actions and effects of terrorism, grief for the suffering caused by terrorist acts and a heartfelt concern for those whose lives are lost or wounded through it. Events in Paris last week clearly illustrated this to us all. However, those events also highlight the need to ensure that we keep a global awareness and perspective, as the fresh Boko Haram attacks in Baga and its surrounding villages last Friday show us. Here, around 2,000 were killed. As we consider counterterrorism and security here in our land, we must stay aware of the global nature of the issues. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham speaks during debate on Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill”


14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 4The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate on amendment 43 to the serious crime bill, moved by Baroness Walmsley, which places legal obligations on people in positions of power to report allegations of abuse, making failure to do so a serious crime. The Bishop argued in favour of this amendment, highlighting cases over the years where failure to report allegations of abuse had often led to cases of widespread and prolific abuse in institutions of a highly serious nature. Baroness Walmsley the lead sponsor of the amendment decided when concluding her remarks at the end of the debate to withdraw amendment 43 following assurances given by the Government Minister, she said “I am delighted that there will be a public consultation’ … ‘I hope that they will make their voices heard.”

Read the full transcript of his speech here:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I once again support the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley. Indeed, since I last spoke in this place on this matter, the need for an obligation to be placed

on certain individuals to report knowledge or reasonable suspicions of abuse involving the most vulnerable has become more pressing. Continue reading “BISHOP OF DURHAM CO-SPONSORS AMENDMENT TO SERIOUS CRIME BILL ON CHILD PROTECTION”

Bishop of Durham supports amendements to tackle child abuse and neglect

“My Lords, I support the amendment. I begin by pointing out that, had I been in this House two years ago, I would not have supported it. It is my experience of listening to and hearing stories, not just from within the church sector but from many sectors, that has led me to be convinced that this is a move we need to make” – Bishop of Durham, 15.7.14

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 4On 15th July 2014, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, co-sponsored two amendments to the Government’s Serious Crime Bill, during its Committee Stage. The first amendment sought to make three small changes to legislation making child neglect a criminal offense – raising the age of those covered by the provisions to 18, and made clarifications to the ways in which neglect would be classed as a criminal offense. The second amendment sought to create a duty to report abuse in institutions and activities where there are children and vulnerable adults. Both amendments were withdrawn after they had been debated, pending assurances from the Government.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham supports amendements to tackle child abuse and neglect”

Bishop of Durham calls for victim-centred inquiry into child abuse

On 15th July 2014, Lord Storey asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent and tackle child abuse in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a supplementary question:

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in pursuing a review into questions of institutional child abuse, are her Majesty’s Government committed to recognising that listening to the voices of survivors and victims of child abuse is vital at every stage of this inquiry; that their voices, through for example the Stop Church Child Abuse campaign, are clear that ultimately only a full public inquiry will do; and that Sir Keir Starmer would be a trusted member of the inquiry panel?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate again makes a very important point. Let me assure him that the whole intention of this inquiry is to make it open and transparent. While it has been set up on a non-statutory basis at the current time, if the chairman and the panel decide that this requires a statutory underpinning then the Government have already committed to that—indeed, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has done so. The right reverend Prelate also raises the important point about ensuring that any bodies involved in protection of children from child abuse—be that in the church or voluntary sectors or across the board—are also included in providing evidence. In terms of the specific suggestion, I shall certainly take that back.