Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes

Seven bishops signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper, printed on 14th September 2017, voicing concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes. Four of the signatories were Lords Spiritual:

Local welfare assistance schemes are a vital lifeline for people who find themselves in a crisis and without basic essentials, such as food, electricity, or a working oven. It is therefore very worrying that most of these schemes have been cut back considerably in recent years and that 26 local councils have now closed them altogether, including in many areas that we represent (English councils’ local welfare schemes in ‘meltdown’, 12 September). Continue reading “Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes”

Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about child poverty, two-child limit and benefit support

On 7th April 2017 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, received three written answers from Government about levels of child poverty, the two-child limit and benefit support:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the impact of the recent increase in inflation on the number of children in poverty; and what plans they have for protecting low income families against the rising cost of basic essentials. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about child poverty, two-child limit and benefit support”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about future of Motability

stalbans190117On the 30th March 2017 Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked the Government ‘what steps they are taking to support independent living for disabled people of working age’. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a further question relating to the Motability scheme.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Motability scheme is a crucial element for getting people back into work, yet about 50,000 people have lost out on it. What is particularly worrying is that the vast majority of appeals are upheld, by which time those concerned have lost the vehicle and then have to get it again. It is costing a lot of time and money. Would Her Majesty’s Government consider having a scheme whereby people do not lose the vehicle until the end of the appeal process? This would make much more sense where the appeal is upheld. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about future of Motability”

Bishop of Newcastle calls for substantial review of use of benefit sanctions

Newcastle 2On 30th November 2016 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government: “whether, in the light of the public debate around the film “I, Daniel Blake”, they plan to set up a review of the treatment of claimants in the social security system.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, given that the National Audit Office has today said that there is limited evidence that benefit sanctions work but rather that they result in “hardship, hunger and depression”, can the Minister update the House as to whether Her Majesty’s Government will now commit to a substantial review of the use and implementation of sanctions?”

Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle calls for substantial review of use of benefit sanctions”

Bishop of Derby: participants in Fit for Work Scheme are assets with gifts and contributions to make

 

On 19 October 2016 Lord Luce led a short debate in the House of Lords on a question: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made with the Fit for Work scheme in enabling those with long-term health problems like chronic pain to return to or stay in work.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, made a speech:

Derby 191115cThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Luce, for introducing this debate with his characteristic mastery of the territory, context and issues.

I shall look at the progress of the Fit for Work scheme. As the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, hinted, there has been a lot of negativity. I remember that when it was first introduced the press called it a test about whether people were fit for work. There have been pilots and a lot of chunter about the slow development of the rollout. We need to remember that it is a huge shift for the medical professional, employers and employees, and we need to encourage the Government to look carefully at the rollout to see what can be learned as it unfolds. As the noble Lord, Lord Fink, mentioned, there may be issues about how small businesses can access this opportunity. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby: participants in Fit for Work Scheme are assets with gifts and contributions to make”

Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on reporting on apprenticeships

On 14th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its third day of Committee. 

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of amendments that would require the government to provide a more thorough reporting on the take-up of apprenticeships. The amendments were withdrawn after debate.


14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in the north-east I get to see apprentices in the car industry, the subsea industry, traditional industries such as stonemasonry, farming, and all kinds of sectors in schools. It is brilliant to be able to see them face to face, to meet them and talk to them. There are brilliant apprenticeships and we need to grow them. Therefore, the 3 million target is fantastic, but I have to say that where the Bill refers to,

“information about the progress made in the reporting period towards the apprenticeships target”,

which is simply the figure of 3 million, that does not give the information about the types of apprenticeship that there are. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on reporting on apprenticeships”

Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendments on reporting of disability employment gap

On 14th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its third day of Committee. 

The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith spoke in support of two amendments that would require the government to report annually on progress towards halving the disability employment gap. The amendments were withdrawn after the debate.


StAlbans171115The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I rise briefly to support Amendment 65 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Manzoor, and Amendment 67 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Campbell of Surbiton, which would legislate for a disability employment gap reporting obligation. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports amendments on reporting of disability employment gap”