On 6th April 2017 Baroness Altmann asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they will reconsider changes to bereavement benefits for parents with dependent children.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question. The Bishop had been amongst the signatories of a letter from all sides of the House calling on the Government to reconsider its proposals.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I too signed the letter to the Secretary of State. I fully accept that the system needed reform, but those of us who spend a lot of time looking after people in bereavement know that a widowed parent may sometimes have to spend several years giving considerable extra time, attention and care to the children. In practice, that may necessitate working only part-time for a number of years while children are still at home. Previously in this House there was an assurance that income-related benefits would be there to support such parents, but under universal credit that is not so simple. Can the Minister reassure us that bereaved parents will not be subject to the in-work conditionality requirements that apply under universal credit? Continue reading
On 5th April, a vote took place on a Regret Motion tabled by Labour’s Lord Stevenson of Balmacara to two Regulations changing student loan terms and amounts. The Bishop of Peterborough took part. Continue reading
On 5th April 2017, Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they are intending to respond to the chemical attack seemingly carried out by the Syrian Government on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about future international efforts to rebuild Syria after peace is secured in the area.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough My Lords, as the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday, we on these Benches mourn with the people of Idlib and we pray for justice and an end to violence. However, if and when peace is finally secured in the region, the scale of suffering and damage experienced by the people of Syria over the past six years will demand enormous and costly international effort if Syria is to be rebuilt. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit not just to supporting the people of Syria in the short term but to supporting the decades-long process of restoration that will inevitably be needed once the present crisis is over? Continue reading
On the 3rd April 2017, Baroness Hayman tabled a debate in the House of Lords, asking the Government “what is their assessment of progress made in combating neglected tropical diseases since the London Declaration made in January 2012.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, highlighted the lack of progress towards the eradication of leprosy. Lord Bates responded on behalf of the Department for International Development.
On the 3rd April 2017, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Criminal Finances Bill in Committee. Baroness Stern moved an amendment requiring public registers of beneficial ownership of companies in the Overseas Territories. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, spoke in favour of the amendment, which was withdrawn after the debate
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I support the amendment. I also support the Bill and I am grateful for it.
I particularly support and follow a point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Stern, about this being a moral issue. I refer to Amendment 167. This time last year, shortly after the publication of the Panama Papers, there was a question in the House about this issue. I asked a supplementary and was assured by the then Minister that this was seen by the Government as a moral issue. It is important that we hold to that. Continue reading
On 28th February, Lord Alton of Liverpool asked the Government, in the light of the sanctions imposed by China against North Korea following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam and the recent ballistic missile test, whether they will call in the North Korean Ambassador. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about the Government’s engagement with China over their policy to return North Korean refugees to the country. Continue reading
On 13th December, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey, asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the United Kingdom’s performance in the latest Programme for International Student Assessment rankings published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development”. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough My Lords, is the Minister aware that, in a number of the countries that have much higher academic standards at secondary school level, particularly those in the Far East—I know the story of South Korea quite well—there is also a much higher suicide rate among teenagers? Does he agree that our schools need to help people learn in ways that they enjoy and are healthy holistically, and that schools should encourage a love of learning rather than a fear of failure?