Bishop of St Albans seeks clarification on underoccupancy charge contingency plans

The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Lord Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question relating to the underoccupancy charge and its impact on tenants. The Bishop asked about tenants in the North of England and Wales who believed they would be unable to pay their rent in full due to the introduction of the new charge for an empty bedroom. Lord Freud responded to say 14.03 Bishop of St Albansduring the transition the Government were making available adequate funds for discretionary housing payments.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the underoccupancy charge on tenants.

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Bishop of St Albans calls for extension of discretionary housing payments to rural areas

Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with local authorities about the costs associated with implementing the underoccupancy charge.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of St Alba14.03 Bishop of St Albansns: My Lords, as affordable rental properties in rural areas are in such shortage, will the Government extend the scheme, which currently applies only to the 21 most sparsely populated districts, and allow more local authorities to use discretionary housing payments to help retain more couples and families in their homes?

Lord Freud: My Lords, that is exactly what the discretionary housing payment is for. It is for local authorities to take decisions, based on their local knowledge, so that they get the funds to the right people. The emerging signs are that we will not spend all the discretionary housing payments this year. I am, however, making sure that a substantial amount of discretionary housing payment goes out next year, for which the total figure will be £165 million.

(via Parliament.uk)

Votes – Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill

House of Lords Division Lobby
House of Lords Division Lobby

On 28th January 2014, a number of bishops took part in two divisions on the Government’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, during ‘ping pong’.

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Bishop of St Albans receives answers to written questions on energy policy and housing benefit

Written Questions answered on 24th January, 2014:

14.03 Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to mitigate the additional cost of heating for rural households not on the gas grid.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The Government believes that domestic consumers living off the mains gas-grid should have access to secure and affordable fuel supplies to heat their homes.

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Votes – Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

House of Lords Division Lobby
House of Lords Division Lobby

On 8th, 14th, 20th and 22nd January 2014, seven bishops took part in votes on amendments to the Government’s Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, during its Report Stage.

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Bishop of St Albans receieves answers to questions on forestry and housing (Written Questions)

14.03 Bishop of St AlbansOn 15th January 2014, the Lord Bishop of St Albans received answers to four written questions, on the Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee and discretionary housing payments.

Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are taking steps to ensure that the collective knowledge and experience of Regional Advisory Committee staff is being retained within the new Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees.

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Bishop of St Albans calls for greater relationship support in Troubled Families Programme

On 7th January 2014, Lord Horam asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made with the Troubled Families Programme. 

The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:

14.03 Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that there is a considerable body of research and expertise pointing to the vital importance of relationship support in strengthening families? As there are no specific references to family relationships or positive family dynamics in the progress report, will she ask the Troubled Families programme to prioritise such support in the next phase of its work?

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