The Lord Bishop of Durham: Will the Minister recognise that across the country, churches and other organisations reckon that they will be providing more help for holiday hunger this summer than ever before because of children going hungry during school holidays? Will she also recognise that there is a serious problem regionally and that we need to tackle this in the north more significantly than in the south? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham tells Peers churches will be dealing with more children going hungry during school holidays”
“On behalf of the well-being of the children themselves, if we are going to make this increase in provision, which I am sure we will and indeed should, let us try to ensure that all the regulations that follow place the child at the centre, not the adults, whether those adults be the parents, the providers or the politicians.” – Bishop of Durham, 16/6/15
On Tuesday 16th June 2015 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Childcare Bill. Details about the Bill can be seen here. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate, raising concerns related to funding, capacity, pay and putting the needs of children first. The full text of his speech is below, with extracts from the Minister’s reply, and can also be watched on the Parliament website here.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in welcoming the general intent of this Bill, I wish to raise a number of concerns. It seems to me that there are already several common threads in what is being said. It may well be that they will be addressed—they will need to be—in the secondary legislation, but to be able fully to support the Bill I believe this House needs some assurances regarding these concerns. In raising them, I wish to point out that I have consulted some who are engaged in this work already, and also those for whom it is intended to be a benefit—parents and, indeed, grandparents. Continue reading “Childcare Bill – Speech by Bishop of Durham”
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:
“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”
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:
The 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
The 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”
The 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”