Bishop of Peterborough presses Government to rectify problem with war widows’ pension payments

On 10th December 2020 the Bishop of Peterborough asked Government when it would make retrospective the ability of war widows to retain pension entitlements if they remarried before the law changed:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough [V]:  My Lords, David Cameron, under whose premiership the new rules came in, has admitted that the current situation is a mistake and was not intended. It is manifestly unjust and betrays those who have served our country. The ridiculous rule that people could rectify the situation by divorcing and then remarrying undermines the institution of marriage. Does this not make it entirely justifiable to overturn, or at least suspend, the policy to which the Minister refers?

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Bishop of London asks about elderly domestic abuse during covid-19 lockdown

On 1st December 2020 the Bishop of London asked an oral question on research into facts about domestic abuse of older people during the Covid-19 lockdown:
The Lord Bishop of London [V] : My Lords, as the Minister has commented, at present, we only collect data on those aged between 60 and 74. While she is making a commitment to work with the ONS to collect data on those aged over 74, will she commit to removing this age limit so we can highlight the experience of this older demographic?

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Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendment on pensioner poverty

On 27th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill in Committee. The Bishop of St Albans supported an amendment on reporting impacts on pensioner poverty:
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Bishop of London asks about support for almshouses to upgrade their facilities to older people

On 22nd October Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the role of alms houses in the provision of housing for the elderly.” The Bishop of London asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I declare my interests as stated in the register. The Church of England continues to provide excellent almshouses provision as a support to older people through its charities. There are over 30,000 almshouses in the UK and more than 1,000 new ones have been built in the last decade. Another 750 are in the pipeline, providing places of flourishing and support for the elderly. However, the complexities of the buildings themselves prohibit modern building standards being achieved. Will the Minister comment on whether Her Majesty’s Government will provide grants for local almshouse charities to upgrade their facilities within the complex planning frameworks associated with these buildings?

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Bishop of London asks Government about impact on wellbeing of visiting restrictions at care homes

On 20th October 2020 the Bishop of London received a written answer to a question she had asked Government about visiting restrictions at care homes:

The Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of visiting restrictions at care homes on the wellbeing of residents; and what plans they have to review their policy on visiting arrangement at care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. [HL8737] Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about impact on wellbeing of visiting restrictions at care homes”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about accessible housing for elderly and those with disabilities

On 16th September 2020 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that any changes to the planning system will improve (1) building standards, (2) safety, (3) environmental impacts, and (4) the well-being of residents.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the latest English housing survey reveals that only 9% of our housing stock has key disability accessibility features. Disability in old age is frequent, and with the ONS estimating that one in four people will be aged 65 or over by 2050 it is vital that we cater for what we are going to need.

Although the recently announced government consultation into this issue is welcome, can the Minister confirm that prior to any changes in planning law, the recommendations of this consultation will be fully implemented to ensure that the vulnerable are not left behind? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about accessible housing for elderly and those with disabilities”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government about hidden problem of domestic abuse amongst elderly

On 29th July Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to ensure that any data collected on domestic abuse includes the abuse of people over the age of 74.” The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, asked a follow up question, focusing on how faith communities could become part of a solution to domestic abuse.

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I have sad personal experience of a family situation where the perpetrator of the abuse was an older person, and we are all fearful that lockdown may have led to an increase in such instances. In that context, I am pleased that my diocese of Rochester is the first in the Church of England to establish a strategic partnership with the White Ribbon Campaign. In a world where such abuse, especially when it involves older people, often remains hidden, will the Minister commit to meeting with Members of these Benches, and perhaps other faith leaders, to discuss how the Domestic Abuse Bill’s guidance might empower faith communities to be part of the solution?

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Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about routine health checks for over 75s

On 10th June Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of cancelled medical operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle asked a follow up question, focusing on routine GP health checks for those over 75.

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on those aged over 75 and the likely knock-on effects of cancelled operations, will the Minister take steps to encourage ​the reintroduction of routine GP health checks among people in this age group which, understandably, have been largely suspended during the pandemic?

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about safety of staff running care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices

In a House of Lords virtual sitting on 22nd April 2020 Baroness Wheeler asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the analysis by Care England which suggests that there have been significantly more deaths caused by Covid-19 in care homes than have been reported.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it is not just care homes facing these very serious challenges; I have learned that it is also hospices and sheltered accommodation, among other places. Managers responsible for those organisations are under enormous pressure trying to ensure safe staffing levels and the safety of their staff. I hope that sufficient PPE will soon be secured and distributed. Although I recognise the enormous challenge and the efforts that are being made towards that, in the immediate context where we do not have that, can the Minister tell us how the Government aim to advise and support those responsible for running our care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices, who are having to make such difficult decisions now and many of whom feel abandoned and rather lonely in that responsibility?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about elder abuse and mental health support

On 22nd November 2018 Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty’s Government “how much of the National Health Service mental health budget goes towards intervention to address domestic and sexual violence and abuse.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question about elder abuse:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is much to be welcomed that the Government are allocating this money. I am also glad that the needs of young people have been highlighted, but the Minister will be aware that statistics show that roughly 340,000 elderly ​people are suffering abuse in the community each year. If we are not tracking how the money is spent, how can we be sure that the mental health needs of the elderly are being properly addressed at a particularly vulnerable point in their lives? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about elder abuse and mental health support”