On 19th and 20th October 2015 the Bishop of Truro, Rt Revd Tim Thornton, and the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Richard Foster, received written answers to questions on short term benefit advances.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of those applying for a Short Term Benefit Advance (STBA) in 2014–15 were rejected because (1) they were not considered likely to be entitled to the benefit for which they required an STBA, (2) they were not considered to be in sufficient financial need to warrant an STBA, (3) they were not expected to be able to repay the loan arising from an STBA, (4) a benefit payment could be made in a timeframe that negated the need for an STBA, or (5) for other reasons. Continue reading “Bishops of Truro and Portsmouth receive Written Answers to Questions about Short Term Benefit Advances”
On 15th October 2015 the Bishop of Truro, Rt Revd Tim Thornton, received a written answer to a question on short term benefit advances.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to publish data on the number of claims and
awards of Short Term Benefit Advances and Universal
Credit Short Term Advances. Continue reading “Bishop of Truro asks Government for figures on numbers of short term benefit advances awarded”
On 10th February 2015, the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Tim Thornton, led a debate in the House of Lords on local welfare assistance schemes and help for those in crisis. The full text of his speech is below, followed by those of Peers who participated. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster, also spoke in the debate towards the end.
Welfare Assistance Schemes
Question for Short Debate
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Truro
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that local welfare assistance schemes provide effective support to people in crisis and will continue to be able to do so.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed for this opportunity to raise a very important issue by putting some questions to the Government on, and raising matters relating to, local welfare assistance schemes. In doing so, I declare my interest that I am chair of the Children’s Society, a national charity which has conducted quite a lot of research in this area and to which I shall refer. Continue reading “Bishop of Truro leads debate on local welfare assistance for those in crisis”
On 11th December 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Food Poverty’s recent report, Feeding Britain. A full transcript of the exchange is reproduced below:
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, this report is a serious contribution to an important and wide-ranging debate, which recognises the multiple factors behind demand for emergency food assistance. As a country, we have enough food to go round. We agree that it is wrong that anyone should go hungry at the same time as surplus food is going to waste. There is a moral argument, as well as a sustainability one, to ensure that we make the best use of our resources.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls on Government to take up recommendations of hunger report”
On 26th November 2014, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, led the debate on two amendments to the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendments,which the bishop spoke to on behalf of the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, sought to improve the regulation of payday loan adverstising in two ways – first, through preventing payday lenders from targeting children with advertising on television and second, through the regulation of unsolicited telephone calls from payday lenders. Amendment 47, related to pre-watershed advertising, was pressed to a vote by members of the House of Lords. No bishop took part in the division, and the vote was not successful. The Government did, however, state that the regulator, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) had agreed to broaden the remit of its review into the content of payday loan advertising to consider scheduling rules. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham leads call for improved regulation of payday loan advertising”
On 5th November 2014, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, sponsored an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, during its Committee Stage. The amendment sought to place a duty on the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to make regulations to prevent the sale of high-cost short-term credit through unsolicited marketing calls. Following assurances from the Minister, the Bishop withdrew his amendment.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, Amendment 105C is in my name and those of the noble Lord, Lord Mitchell, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell. I declare an interest: I am chair of the trustees of the Children’s Society, which has co-ordinated this amendment as part of its campaign—of which I am very proud—on the impact of debt on children and families. We produced a report entitled The Debt Trap earlier this year.
In September this year, the Children’s Society launched another report, entitled Playday not Payday, which looked at the effects of the advertising of payday loans on children, and in particular at the telemarketing of payday loans. The report identified a gap in the regulations which allows payday loan companies to use unsolicited marketing calls to offer people payday loans through phone calls and texts. For mortgage products, this type of unsolicited marketing is completely banned by the Mortgage Conduct of Business rules. The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates payday lenders, said: Continue reading “Bishop of Truro leads call for stronger regulation on telephone sales of high-cost short-term credit”
On 5th November 2014, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, spoke during the Committee Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill, in support of Baroness Howe of Idilcote’s amendment which would require internet service providers and mobile phone operators to provide default adult content filtering. Following the debate, Baroness Howe withdrew her amendment, but suggested that she would re-table it at Report Stage.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I support the amendment and am grateful to the noble Baroness for providing a comprehensive and excellent introduction to it. I do not want to repeat the important points that have already been made; I simply want to underline one particularly important point.
These days, we all have a responsibility to take child protection and safeguarding very seriously. Your Lordships may or may not be aware that you cannot be made a bishop in the Church of England unless you have had statutory safeguarding training. The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury has made that very clear in all that he has said and done, and that seems absolutely right and proper. Continue reading “Bishop of Truro supports child protection amendments to Consumer Rights Bill”
On 16th October 2014 a statement by the Foreign Secretary on ISIL, Iraq and Syria was repeated in the House of Lords by the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Anelay of St Johns. The Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Tim Thornton, asked a question in response:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness for her Statement and associate the Lords spiritual with her thanks and tributes to those she mentioned in it. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are, sadly, part of a wider cycle of sickening violence in which individuals and groups are increasingly targeted for their religious affiliation. Continue reading “ISIL, Iraq and Syria – Bishop of Truro asks about freedom of religion”
“I worry enormously that in our society we fall too easily into a tendency to demonise and victimise and fall between us and them… I suggest that there is clear evidence that our society is struggling to understand itself as a society today, and not enough evidence on the value of justice for all members of our society” – Bishop of Truro, 16/10/14
On 16th October 2014, the House of Lords debated a motion in the name of Baroness Tyler of Enfield, “that this House takes note of Her Majesty’s Government’s Social Justice strategy.” The Bishop of Truro gave the following speech:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, for initiating this debate and congratulate her on her very clear and comprehensive introduction to this very important topic. I am also very grateful to be speaking in a debate when my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Ely is going to make his maiden speech. If it were not presumably against the protocols of this House, I would like to congratulate him on doing so before he has done it. However, knowing him as I do, I think that that is probably very dangerous. Continue reading “Lords debates social justice – speech by Bishop of Truro”
On 7th July 2014, a Government statement on an inquiry into child abuse was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, asked a question about Church involvement in the matter.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I welcome the Statement. The church is keen to be involved in any such overarching inquiry. A question was asked in the other place about whether the church is involved in this matter. Is the Minister aware that my friend the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to the Home Secretary some weeks ago asking for an inquiry such as this? The church is very willing to be involved. In a situation such as this—in which, inevitably and sadly, people involved in various authorities at a high level would be related to other authorities and institutions—it is crucial that such an inquiry is allowed to go wherever it needs to go. The church and other organisations and institutions should explicitly be involved in this matter. Perhaps I may add as chairman of the Children’s Society that we would be keen to stress that the voice of children and young people should be always in the centre of one’s thoughts on any matters such as this. If any matters come to light through this inquiry that need to be directed to the police, that will, one hopes, happen and they will be dealt with swiftly and decisively.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I pay tribute to the role of the church in the care of children. I am sure that the Home Secretary will note the offer of involvement in the review and these inquiries. I am delighted that the right reverend Prelate has raised this issue. The involvement of church activists in the national group to tackle sexual violence against children and vulnerable people is an important start.