On 31st January 2017, Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they plan to take, in addition to their support for the Private Member’s Homelessness Reduction Bill, to tackle the growing problems of homelessness and rough sleeping.” The Lord Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, asked a follow up question about the eviction of tenants on universal credit. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich questions Government on links between universal credit and homelessness”
On 8th November 2016, Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope moved “that this House regrets that the Government have not, in advance of the entry into force of the Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/909), made additional support available to those individuals affected by the benefit cap to find work.” The Bishops of Leeds, the Rt Reverend Nick Baines spoke in the debate on the motion and took part in the subsequent vote on it: Continue reading “Votes: Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit) (Amendment) Regulations 2016”
On the 13th July 2015, the Bishop of Portsmouth took part in a division on the Universal Credit (Waiting Days) (Amendment) Regulations 2015.
He voted ‘Content’ to the motion put by Baroness Sherlock, which was agreed following a division of the House. You can read his speech on the amendment, here.
On the 7th July 2015 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the experience of those claiming Universal Credit”. The Bishop of Chester the Rt Revd Peter Forster asked a supplementary question.
On 4th February 2015, Liberal Democrat Peer Lord German led a question for short debate in the House of Lords, to ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the results of the review into the setting of universal credit conditionality when children are in distress. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, took part in the debate. Speaking from personal experiences, the Bishop spoke of the need to provide greater flexibility and generosity in the suspension of conditionality of universal credit payments when children are in distress, particularly in circumstances where a child has lost a parent.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord German, for prompting this debate about the review of universal credit when children are in distress. I speak this evening particularly about the distressing and challenging circumstances of the death of a parent, carer or sibling. I speak not only because I have experience as a priest alongside parents in such situations, as do so many of my clergy colleagues, and because I now support clergy in my diocese of Portsmouth ministering to those facing such deaths, but because of personal experience in my family. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth speaks in debate on Universal Credit conditionality”
On 9th December 2014, the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Childcare Payments Bill. The Bishop welcomed the provisions in the Bill to support low and middle-income families, but pressed the Government to ensure the Bill provided equity of delivery for families in receipt of Universal Credit, and also called on the Government to provide greater support for families with disabled children.
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, from these Benches I warmly welcome the Bill, which will provide much needed assistance towards childcare costs for many middle-income and low-income families. I also welcome the careful expansion of the availability of childcare. However, there are two areas which I shall mention briefly where further attention may be needed. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield welcomes support for families in Childcare Payments Bill”
On 24th November 2014, Lord McKenzie of Luton asked Her Majesty’s Government how many households are in receipt of the housing element of Universal Credit. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the House will be aware that the Chancellor has announced that the working allowances for universal credit will be frozen until April 2018. There is a real danger, if there is no lift in those allowances—at least in line with inflation—that that will significantly reduce the real net incomes of low earners. Could the Minister tell your Lordships’ House what assessment Her Majesty’s Government have made of the impact of these measures on the level of poverty among those who are already in work, especially for those families who are earning too little to benefit from further rises in the personal tax allowances?
Lord Freud: The working allowances in universal credit are much greater than under the legacy system, so there is a freeze that will have a small effect. Nevertheless, the poverty impacts are to take 300,000 children out of poverty.
On 9th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in Baroness Massey of Darwen’s debate on affordable childcare.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed to the noble Baroness, Lady Massey of Darwen, for initiating this debate and for expressing so clearly the issues involved and, indeed still more, for her determined advocacy in this House and elsewhere of the rights and needs of children, especially those children who are most at risk within our society.
Childcare provision in this country has grown like Topsy. As we have heard from a number of examples comparing our own experiences when we were young parents with those of our children as parents now, the need for childcare has become more and more crucial to both parents and children, and as a mainstay of our culture as well of our economy. However, there is such a complex system, which is part universal and part not, with childcare vouchers in their varied forms as an additional complication. Rather strangely, there is also the danger that universal credit will actually make the situation more, rather than less, complex.