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.
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”
On 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?
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”
On January 8th 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers to three questions on homelessness, welfare reform and empty homes:
(i) The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to assess the impact of welfare reforms since 2012 on homelessness; and if such assessments have been undertaken, what were the conclusions. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about homelessness and empty homes”
On 11th December 2017 Baroness Sherlock asked Her Majesty’s Government “why kinship carers who subsequently have their own child are not exempt from the two child limit.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, the Government have chosen to pursue a deficit-reduction strategy by opting for a fiscally cautious welfare policy. However, has the Minister considered that some British families are larger for reasons of faith or principle? Speaking on behalf of people of all faiths in this country, my question is: what plans does the Minister have for ensuring that such families and children are not discriminated against by the policy? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about effect on religious families of two-child limit on benefits”
On 30th November 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on the uprating on welfare benefits with inflation:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Young of Cookham on 16 November (HL Deb, col 2187), whether they plan to revert to uprating working age benefits in line with inflation at the end of the current four-year freeze. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans to increase working age benefits in line with inflation”
On 16th November 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Hollis of Heigham “That this House takes note of the impact of Universal Credit on claimants.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, on securing this debate and on her introduction.
Universal credit originally set out to simplify a fragmented, complex system and to reduce poverty through the simple, noble philosophy of making work pay. While it still has the potential to transform this broken system, its current shape risks undermining these two core objectives for the neediest in the nation and thus failing British families. Almost every week, I receive heart-breaking stories about how the transition to UC is devastating the lives of claimants. What does the five or six-week waiting period, which is often longer, actually look like for a family or single parent with young children? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for urgent changes to “flawed system” of universal credit”
On 2nd November 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received two written answers to questions about income related benefits:
The Lord Bishop of Durham:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of the changing cost of living on incomes, particularly for those in receipt of income-related benefits.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact that the four-year freeze on income-related benefits will have on family budgets in England and Wales. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about impact of cost of living increase and benefits freeze on families”