Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans to increase working age benefits in line with inflation

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”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about funding for debt advice services

On 22nd November 2017 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a statement made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on Universal Credit. The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, responded to the statement:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I share with the Minister and the House a bit of local information. We find ourselves in an interesting situation in Coventry, with rising employment and yet a 30% increase in usage among those in the city—mostly single males—among whom universal credit has been rolled out. Like others, I very much welcome the changes and I am sure they will help enormously but, at the same time, I still have reservations about whether they have gone far enough and address other issues that some of us on the ground have identified. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about funding for debt advice services”

Autumn Budget 2017 – response from Bishop of Birmingham

Press release from the Church of England website:

Responding today (22nd November 2017) to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement, the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt. Revd David Urquhart, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, said:

“The Chancellor’s Budget has gone some way to deal with the immediate problems facing our economy, housing and NHS, but it could have gone much further to help the many at the sharp end struggling to get by.

“Across the country churches support and are in touch with those who experience poverty or financial difficulty as a result of low pay, illness, or debt. The Budget statement provided an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged at a time when the cost of living is rising. The country faces substantial financial challenges and the growth forecast downgrades are worrying. But whilst the Chancellor has limited room for manoeuvre, there is more that could have been done to alleviate the situation of those who are struggling to manage. Deficit reduction is important, but should be achieved in ways that promote fairness, generosity, and sustainability. Bishops frequently raise these issues in the House of Lords and in meetings with ministers, and will continue to do so. Continue reading “Autumn Budget 2017 – response from Bishop of Birmingham”

Bishop of Oxford asks Government about food bank referrals

 On 21st November 2017 the Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, received a written answer to a question on food banks:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Work and Pensions offers any guidance to Jobcentres on whether, and in what circumstances, it is appropriate to signpost or refer their clients to local food banks. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks Government about food bank referrals”

Bishop of St Albans calls for end to freeze on working age benefits, to help children and families

On 16th November 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a debate in the House of Lords on the benefit freeze. His opening speech and that of the Minister responding are below. The whole debate can be read here.

“The Lord Bishop of St Albans to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of rising inflation on families affected by the freeze of working age benefits.”

Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we are at risk of failing a substantial number of children and some of the most needy people of this country. If a society is to be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable, then unless we are prepared to put aside party difference and make common purpose in addressing inequalities in our system of social security, we will surely be found wanting. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for end to freeze on working age benefits, to help children and families”

Bishop of Durham calls for urgent changes to “flawed system” of universal credit

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”

Bishop of Durham asks about assistance for private renters with budgetary problems

On 25th October 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received an answer to a written question on landlord payments for those who have difficulty managing budgets:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to increase access to Managed Payment to Landlord Alternative Payment Arrangements for private tenants who have difficulty budgeting on a monthly basis.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about assistance for private renters with budgetary problems”