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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Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill – Bishop of St Albans calls for temporary increase in universal credit to be made permanent

On 13th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, I add my words of welcome to the noble Lord, Lord Field of Birkenhead, and the noble Baroness, Lady Stuart of Edgbaston, and look forward to their maiden speeches.

I welcome the Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill. Pension credits are vital for the welfare of low-income retirees and it is right that measures are taken to support them in this challenging time. However, there is certainly scope for going further.

Accusations relating to intergenerational fairness are not entirely unfounded. While I am for uprating the basic state pension, providing a guaranteed rise of 2.5% at a time when millions have lost income due to the pandemic, I realise that it will raise questions over whether this Government represent the entire country or just those who are older. Continue reading “Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill – Bishop of St Albans calls for temporary increase in universal credit to be made permanent”

Bishop of Worcester: Government plans to cap public sector payouts will have negative effect on pensions of lower paid

On 23rd September 2020 the House of Lords was asked to approve the Government’s Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate, highlighting the negative consequences of the Regulations for the pensions of longstanding and lower paid public sector workers:

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, the attempt to address egregiously large public sector exit payments is undoubtedly a good thing and I applaud it. However, to enact regulations without attention being given to unintended consequences for lower-paid staff is surely not. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester: Government plans to cap public sector payouts will have negative effect on pensions of lower paid”

Church Commissioner questions: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative

On 25th June 20202 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative. A transcript is below:

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Bishop of Peterborough presses Government on war widows’ pensions

On 25th February 2020 Baroness Crawley asked the Government, “further to the announcement by the then Prime Minister on 8 November 2014, what plans they have to reinstate the war widows’ pension for those widows who were required to surrender that pension due to marriage or cohabitation.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that the scandal of this situation is that it applies only in cases where the incident that caused death occurred between April 1973 and April 2005? Those widowed because of an incident before 1973 or after 2005 do not lose their benefit if they remarry. That is complete nonsense and shameful. Should it not be put right? Furthermore, the noble Baroness has described this payment as a benefit. Can we not describe it instead as compensation? Should not war widows’ pensions be called war widows’ compensation so that widows are not subject to this sort of withdrawal?

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Bishop of Durham asks Government about support for Police widows

Durham040219On 6th February 2019 Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to a question about Police widows pension entitlements.  

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service on 24 January 2018 (123402), what plans they have, if any, to amend the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 to equalise the support given to the widows of police officers. [HL13065]

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Archbishop of York asks Government about consultation process for new pension regulations

On 15th January 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion to Approve the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.  The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during the debate:

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I just wanted to ask the Minister: how much consultation was undertaken with industry before the first regulations were produced? Did industry suggest, rightly, that this would cause trouble for the Pensions Regulator and others because it was bigger than just the United Kingdom? Continue reading “Archbishop of York asks Government about consultation process for new pension regulations”

Church Measures on buildings, pensions, ecumenism and miscellaneous provisions, approved by House of Commons

Spelman CCQs120718cOn the 11th December 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP introduced  four Church of England Measures to the House of Commons Delegated Legislation Committee. The Committee approved the Measures following discussion.

Third Delegated Legislation Committee
[Stewart Hosie in the Chair]

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Ecumenical Relations Measure, Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure, Church Property Measure and Church of England Pensions Measure

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): I beg to move,

That the Committee has considered the Ecumenical Relations Measure (HC 1687).

The Chair: With this it will be convenient to consider the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure (HC 1688), Church Property Measure (HC 1689) and Church of England Pensions Measure (HC 1690).

Dame Caroline Spelman: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hosie. To some colleagues, this may be an unusual format for the Committee. I would like to explain that the Measures that we are considering have been through the Ecclesiastical Committee, which is composed of Members from both Houses, is cross-party and is chaired by Lady Butler-Sloss. On 24 October, we went through all these Measures in considerable detail, and I have the report of that careful scrutiny, so I hope that today we may be able to deal with the Measures expeditiously.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about growing pension deficits of FTSE100 companies

St AlbansOn 13th September 2016, Lord Haskell asked the Government whether the Pension Protection Fund will be able to meet its obligations to pensioners. The Lord Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.


The Lord Bishop of St Albans: Perhaps I may push the Minister a little more. I totally accept that the value of pension funds goes up and down according to a number of factors, but recent statistics show that 56 of the FTSE 100 companies had a combined pension deficit of £42.3 billion, which was up from £25 billion in the previous year—so growing fairly steadily. Just last year those FTSE companies were able to pay out dividends of £53 billion—a sign of their success. Does the Minister think that those companies have the balance right between shareholders and employees? If not, will the Government consider doing something about it to ensure that their responsibilities are taken more seriously? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about growing pension deficits of FTSE100 companies”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about state pensions for British citizens overseas

Bishop St Albans June 2015On the 9th September 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to three written questions about state pensions of British citizens overseas.


The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to review their policy of freezing state pensions of British citizens residing in overseas countries, where there is no existing reciprocal social security arrangement in place. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about state pensions for British citizens overseas”