Bishop of Portsmouth challenges Government to address the two-child limit for welfare claimants

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”

Written Answer – Bishop of Durham questions the Government about the two child limit and Child Tax Credit

On 2nd August 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler received a written answer from Lord Bates about Child Tax Credit.

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Written Answer – Bishop of Durham questions the Government about Social Security Benefits and two child limit.

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.”

Bishops highlight consequences of the two-child limit in letter to The Times and blog post

The following letter, expressing concern about the consequences of the two-child limit policy for children and families was signed by sixty bishops (including nineteen Lords Spiritual) and representatives from other denominations and faiths. It appeared in The Times newspaper on 6th April 2018.

The publication of the letter coincided with the release of a report from the End Child Poverty Coalition assessing the impact of the policy, which was introduced in April 2017. The accompanying press release from the Coalition can be accessed here, and the Church of England’s media notice is available here.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, published a blog on the Church of England’s website on the same day, the full text of which is also reproduced below. 

Two-child limit on Universal Credit

Sir, Today the “two-child limit” policy, which restricts tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in a family, has been in place for a year. The policy is making it harder for parents to achieve a stable and resilient family life. By 2021, 640,000 families will have been affected. Most are low-earning working families, most have three children and some will have made decisions about family size when they were able to support children through earnings alone, but later claimed tax credits or universal credit after bereavement, redundancy, separation, disability, illness or simply low pay. Continue reading “Bishops highlight consequences of the two-child limit in letter to The Times and blog post”

Bishop of Durham asks about impact of two-child limit on family stability

Durham161117On 26th March 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question he had tabled to Government on the two-child limit policy for tax credit and universal credit. His follow-up question and those of other members is reproduced below:

The Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what specific measures they are taking to monitor the impact of the two-child limit policy in the child element of Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit on the well-being of children.

The Minister for State, Department for International Development, Lord Bates: My Lords, the Government are committed to supporting child well-being, and keep all our child welfare policies under review. We provide a range of support for children, including child benefit, that continues to be paid for each child in a household. Since 2010 there are 1 million fewer people in absolute poverty, including 300,000 fewer children.

The Bishop of Durham: I thank the Minister for that reply. Given that the Government’s impact assessment argues that the two-child limit would have a positive impact on overall family stability, and that the policy would increase financial resilience and support improved life chances for children, what current evidence does the Minister have to support the claims that the policy will have a positive impact on overall family stability and improve life chances for children?

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Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit

This article was written by the Bishop of Durham for The House Magazine and was published on 26th March 2018. It can also be seen on the PoliticsHome website, here.

Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit

Almost one year on from its introduction, the consequences of the government’s two-child limit policy are deeply concerning, writes the Bishop of Durham

The two-child limit came into effect on April 6th 2017, restricting the amount of support to families with three or more children through tax credits and Universal Credit. As the policy’s first anniversary approaches, is it timely to review its impact and purpose.

When this measure was considered in the House of Lords, as part of the Welfare Reform & Work Act, I worked closely with other peers and faith groups to outline concerns. A core foundation of a just and compassionate benefits system is that the level of support is linked to need; a foundation which risked being seriously undermined by these changes. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham: With child poverty on the rise, we must rethink the two-child limit”

Bishop of Durham receives answers to further written questions on Child Tax Credits

On 6th March 2018 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, received an answer to three written questions on Child Tax Credits, following up written questions asked in January and February.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham receives answers to further written questions on Child Tax Credits”