Bishop of Durham says impact of two-child limit on some benefits will be rise in child poverty

Durham040219On the 13th January Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact on low-income families of the four-year freeze in working age and children’s benefits”. the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in the coming years, the main driver in increasing child poverty will be the two-child limit. Low-income families are particularly detrimentally impacted by this. It is predicted that, by 2023-24, this policy will tip 300,000 children into poverty. What plans do Her Majesty’s Government have to stem the rising child poverty levels caused by current policies, primarily the two-child limit?

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Bishop of Portsmouth responds to Queen’s Speech – how to build ‘one-nation’

On 9th January 2020, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the Queen’s Speech debate, about unifying the nation by building on the expansion of the Living Wage and addressing welfare, child poverty, homelessness and help for the disabled: 

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, it is stating the obvious to say that these are turbulent, uncertain times, perhaps the most turbulent in living memory, even when that memory belongs to Members of your Lordships’ House—a particular, special demographic. It is striking in the face of so much that is uncertain and unknown that the Government’s rhetoric is of clarity, confidence, and even dash. However, while the terrain might be new, much of the rhetoric is from an older school. What is novel is from whom it comes. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth responds to Queen’s Speech – how to build ‘one-nation’”

Bishop of Coventry asks about lessons learned from Grenfell Tower tragedy

On 10th June 2019 the House of Lords heard repeated a statement by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:

Coventry171122 bThe Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I echo the praise that has already been given to the emergency services following both Barking and the Grenfell disaster. I welcome the Statement’s recognition of the power of community and its commitment to a new and stronger partnership between residents and those who serve them, for trust to rebuilt and, in particular, for the council to listen and the community to be heard.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about changes to bereavement benefit payments

On 9th April 2019 Lord Polak asked the Government ” what discussions they have had, and with whom, about the impact of the changes to bereavement benefit for parents with dependent children that were made in April 2017.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is two years since this came in, so we have quite a lot of evidence. Will the Minister assure the House that the review is totally independent, and that we will be able to see all the working out of what is proposed and the analysis? A large number of noble Lords are deeply concerned about this. Would the Minister be willing to meet with us to discuss how we might take it forward.

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Bishop of Durham asks Government about benefit cap policy

Durham040219On 2nd, 3rd & 4th April 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received answers to three written questions on the benefit cap policy.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the sample size used to inform the design of the benefit cap policy

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Bishop of Durham Welcomes Universal Credit Announcement

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.

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Bishop of Gloucester asks about impact of benefit reforms and two-child limit on families with children

On 10th January 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government on benefit reforms and the impact on children. She specifically raised the issue of the two-child limit. A Government announcement on that was made the following day. The response to the question and to the Bishop’s subsequent question and those of other Members, can be seen in full below:

Benefit Reforms

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of benefit reforms on families with children.

​The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Buscombe) (Con): My Lords, this Government support families. Our welfare system supports those who are vulnerable and helps people into work. These reforms are working, with 3.3 million more people in work and 300,000 fewer children in absolute poverty than in 2010, a record low. Once fully rolled out, universal credit will result in an extra 200,000 people moving into work and will empower people to work an extra 113 million hours a year to support their families.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: I thank the Minister for her Answer and I am grateful for recent engagement with faith and other groups on this issue, but the Government’s own statistics show that child poverty is rising among families with more than two children, even when those families have an adult in work. One of the principal drivers of this increase is the Government’s two-child limit, which makes it harder for parents of more than two children to work their way out of poverty, contrary to the aims of universal credit. In light of this evidence, will the Government reconsider that two-child policy? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about impact of benefit reforms and two-child limit on families with children”