On 19th June 2018 Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they intend to take to improve the outcome of Personal Independence Payment assessments in the light of the increasing number of successful appeals.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, personal independence payments make a significant difference to those living with mental health difficulties. Sadly, Mind found that only 8% of the 800 it surveyed felt that the assessor understood their mental health and 90% felt that the claims process itself had a negative impact on their well-being. Will Her Majesty’s Government require assessment providers to ensure that they hire more assessors with proper experience of working with people with mental health issues, and audit the quality of the mental health training? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government to hire more Personal Independence Payment assessors with expertise in mental health”
On 18th June 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question about the Government’s two-child limit on tax credit and universal credit claims:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to amend the ordering restriction on the exemption from the two-child limit for children born as a result of non-consensual conception. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about ‘rape clause’ exemption on two-child limit for new benefit claims”
On 17th May 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to three questions he had tabled on Universal Credit:
Lord Bishop of Durham:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many families claiming Universal Credit incur childcare costs above £760.42 per month for one child or £1303.57 for two or more children.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that the maximum amount of childcare costs supported through Universal Credit reflects the cost of full-time childcare for children under three.
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect on childcare providers of payment in arrears of Universal Credit. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about childcare costs and Universal Credit”
On 2nd May 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on assistance for refugees:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what training is being provided to Job Centre Plus staff to assist refugees during the twenty eight day move-on period. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about support for refugees”
On 30th April Baroness Lister of Buttersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the benefit cap on child and family wellbeing since that cap was lowered in 2016-17.'” The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow-up question:
The Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, welfare reform was predicated on the principle that work should pay, but that principle is being undermined, not least by the two-child limit. In future, a family with three or more children seeking to avoid the cap by moving into work will find themselves subject to the two-child limit instead. They could end up losing out by going to work. What assessment have the Government made of the impact of this perverse incentive?
Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about two-child limit and benefit cap”
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 20th March, a vote took place on a Regret Motion tabled by Labour’s Lord Bassam of Brighton to Regulations changing entitlement to free school meals. The Bishop of Portsmouth took part. His speech in the debate is here. Continue reading “Votes: Changes to Free School Meals Entitlements”