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 Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, for her introduction to this important debate, which touches on a subject that is the responsibility of us all. We should acknowledge that there have been small though welcome attempts by the current Secretary of State to mitigate some of the injustices that have developed in the benefits system in recent years. But I urge that more radical remedial action is needed. In particular, urgent reconsideration is needed of the impact of the two-child limit—a policy which could eventually affect over 3 million children, pushing more than a million who are already in poverty into deeper material and emotional misery.
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.
Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester calls for “unprincipled and harmful” two-child limit benefits policy to be scrapped”
On 30th April 2019 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government “what plans they have to develop a cross-departmental action plan to address the conclusions and recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child’s assessment of the United Kingdom in 2016, in order to ensure that all public bodies act to protect and promote children’s rights.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the UNCRC states that the best interests of the child must be paramount in all decision making and yet evidence that our Benches are collecting shows that the two-child limit policy is having a substantially negative impact on those families affected by it. In the light of the Government’s obligations under UNCRC, will the Minister undertake to commission independent research into the impact of the two-child limit policy on those families which are affected by it?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to investigate effect of two-child limit policy”
On 24th April 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question he had tabled on the impact of the two-child limit for Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit payments. The exchanges, and the follow-up questions from other Members, are below:
Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit: Two-child Limit
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what analysis they have made of the impact of the two-child limit on the per-child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit payments on (1) child poverty, and (2) child development, for children under five years old affected by the policy.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Buscombe) (Con): My Lords, the Government are committed to supporting child well-being, and keep the impact of all their policies under review. This policy ensures fairness between those supporting themselves solely through work and those receiving benefits. Isolating the effect of the many individual policies on the income and well-being of children and families is, of course, challenging. Child benefit continues to be paid for all children, as well as an additional amount for any disabled children. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on child development and poverty”
On 21st February 2019 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked the Government “whether they intend to reconsider recent changes to access to free school meals following their decision to delay the roll out of Universal Credit.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question on the two-child limit:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the two-child limit means that welfare reforms weigh particularly heavily on families with three or more children. What assessment have the Government made of the consequence of changes to free school meals that are set to impact on children with more than one sibling? Does the Minister agree that this policy will effectively harm children from large families through no fault of their own? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on access to free school meals”
From the Church of England website:
Following comments by the Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd on changes to Universal Credit, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, who speaks for the Church of England on issues relating to children and young people, said:
“As a just and compassionate society, we believe that every child is a blessing and deserves to be treated equally.
“So I very much welcome today’s announcement that the two-child limit policy will not be extended to children born before the policy came into effect in April 2017. I also welcome the Government’s more considered approach to moving people on to Universal Credit from the old benefits system.
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham Welcomes Universal Credit Announcement”
On 4th December 2018 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, received written answers to four questions on welfare benefits and the two-child limit:
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statistics they published on 28 June, how many (1) families, and (2) children have been affected by the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children in each month since that policy came into effect. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about impact of welfare benefit two-child limit on families”
On 20th November 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received answers to three written question about the impact of the two-child limit for Universal Credit claims on children’s wellbeing and financial resilience:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their decision to extend the policy to provide Universal Tax Credit to a maximum of two children to new Universal Credit claimants from February 2019, whether there will be an exception for families with three or more children who were born before 6 April 2017. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about impact of two-child limit on wellbeing of children and families”
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, one of the pleasures of your Lordships’ House is the range of views we hear and the expertise of those who express them with integrity and conviction—among them Baroness Hollis speaking from the Bench opposite ours.
The same is true of the Church. In one recent elegant, erudite theological treatise, the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Williams of Oystermouth, wrote of how the words of an act of worship are pregnant with meaning, but greater significance is often discerned in the silence in between. The same is true in relation to this debate of Monday’s Budget. Its silences were just as significant as the words of the Chancellor, especially for families with children, as they are disproportionately represented among those in poverty. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth challenges Government to address the two-child limit for welfare claimants”
On the 25 July 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler received three written answers from Lord Bates about the number of households affected by the two child limit.
Continue reading “Written Answer – Bishop of Durham questions the Government about Social Security Benefits and two child limit.”
On 25th July 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received three written answers to questions about families affected by the two-child limit on benefit claims:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statistics related to the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children published on 28 June by HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions, of the 70,620 households affected, and not in receipt of an exception, what are the number of households with (1) 3 dependent children, (2) 4 dependent children, and (3) 5 or more dependent children. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about families affected by two-child limit on welfare benefits”