Financial Guidance and Claims Bill: Bishop of Newcastle supports amendment to help families struggling with debt

The Government’s Financial Guidance and Claims Bill was considered in Committee in the House of Lords on 19th July 2017. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, supported an amendment to the Bill to enable families in financial difficulty to receive a breathing space for repayment of debts:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I, too, rise to speak in support of Amendment 41. I declare an interest as a vice-president of the Children’s Society.

In the area covered by the Diocese of Newcastle, the Children’s Society data tell me that there are more than 42, 000 children living in poverty and that almost 18,000 children from almost 16,000 families are living with the blight of problem debt. Last year, I read a report in the New York Times on a large, randomised trial involving 21,000 people on the efficacy of various aid mechanisms to bring people out of poverty and debt. What emerged surprised the researchers. It emerged that one key mechanism is more effective than any other, and that mechanism is hope. Families that are stressed and trapped in poverty and debt can feel real hopelessness that becomes entirely self-fulfilling. Give people a reason to hope, and it can make an extraordinary and real difference. Continue reading “Financial Guidance and Claims Bill: Bishop of Newcastle supports amendment to help families struggling with debt”

Bishop of St Albans calls for better coordination to improve Troubled Families programme

St Albans 2On 12th September 2016 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government “how they will respond to the unpublished report on the effectiveness of the Troubled Families programme.” The Lord Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question.


Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one of the successes of this programme, which I have seen in a number of places, has been to try to get proper co-ordination. With so many different silos addressing this and so many resources going to a limited number of families, one success has been the way that progress has been made by bringing real focus and integration. Can the Minister assure us that that lesson has been learned and that we will continue to see how we can get movement on this relatively small but very problematic and difficult group, and find the way forward? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for better coordination to improve Troubled Families programme”