Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government about help for vulnerable people in debt due to benefit fraud

Chelmsford310119bOn 10th July 2019 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions made a statement on universal credit fraud. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a  question:

Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: I ask the Minister for a bit of clarification. I do not pretend to understand all the ins and outs of this, but I see a lot of suffering, which now seems to be added to by crime. On the one hand, it is good to hear that it is less than 1%, but that would be no consolation for me if I was one of those people who now has to pay back for the fraud perpetrated against me by someone else. I am sorry if I did not understand the answer. I suppose I am asking the Minister to explain what help those victims will get in the terrible situation they find themselves in.

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Bishop of Chichester calls for “unprincipled and harmful” two-child limit benefits policy to be scrapped

On 27th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Janke, “That this House takes note of the impact of recent benefit changes on vulnerable people.”  The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate:

The introduction of the two-child limit represented a significant shift in social policy. It broke the long-standing principle, upheld by various Governments of all parties, that entitlement to benefits should be linked to need. In its place, no discernible alternative principle underlies the application of the two-child limit.

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Bishop of Leeds welcomes Government announcement on ‘breathing space’ for people with problem debt

On 19th June 2019 a Government statement on new plans to help people dealing with problem debt  was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, welcomed the statement and asked a follow-up question:

Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I welcome this Statement, and thank the Minister for repeating it. I also want to note the work that the Church of England and the Children’s Society have done promoting these matters. I am particularly pleased that public and utilities debt is to be included in this, but—taking advice from Donald Tusk, who said “Don’t waste the extension”—can the Minister say who will ensure that plans are put in place for sustainable debt resolution? It was said that debtors will have to seek professional advice. How will that be ensured, so that we do not simply prolong the problem of debt where it will be exacerbated? Secondly—and I am sorry if I missed this in the Statement—when might we expect the new regulations to be published?

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Bishop of Leeds asks about poverty and foodbanks

On 19th June 2019 Baroness Janke asked the Government “what steps they are taking to address the findings of the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, published on 22 May”. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:

Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, if the success is so great, why are so many schools in my diocese having to feed children, and why does almost every parish contribute to food banks?

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Caroline Spelman highlights Church schools works in teaching financial literacy

spelman170119cOn 19th June 2019 the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) made a statement on supporting people in problem debt. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked a follow-up question:

Dame Caroline Spelman: I welcome this statement and the Government going beyond their original manifesto commitment. It gives me a chance to thank my citizens advice bureau, which has done fantastic work on debt rescheduling during my 22 years as an MP.

Does the Minister welcome the Church of England’s initiative to teach financial literacy in its primary schools, and would he encourage rolling out such an approach to prevention more widely?

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Bishop of Portsmouth – national crisis of poverty must be urgently tackled

On 21st January 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Stroud “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of metrics to measure United Kingdom poverty, in the light of the report from the Social Metrics Commission.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, Stalin, not often quoted on this Bench, is said to be the author of the maxim:

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”.

On that, and indeed on everything else, I disagree with the Marshal. A single person living in poverty is a tragedy; that millions do so is an affront to our values, our common decency and how we think of ourselves as a nation.

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Church Commssioners Written Answer: Christians Against Poverty

On 13th December 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question about Christians Against Poverty:

Mr Gregory Campbell(East Londonderry): To ask the Right Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of contributions to churches helping run Christians Against Poverty Centres in the 2018-19 financial year. Continue reading “Church Commssioners Written Answer: Christians Against Poverty”