Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Tax credits and the bishops

Several bishops were involved in the debate on tax credits which took place in the House of Lords on Monday evening. A very helpful summary is available here. Another report is over here.

One of the four motions that were under consideration was submitted by the Bishop of Portsmouth, but in the even this motion was not voted upon. Its wording was:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth to move, as an amendment to the motion in the name of the Lord Privy Seal, at the end to insert “but this House regrets that the draft Regulations fail to take account of concerns about their short-term impact on working families and individuals currently receiving tax credits, and calls on the Government to consult further on the draft Regulations and revisit their impact.”

There were three bishops who spoke:

The voting record of the bishops was as follows (h/t Law and Religion UK):

  • Division 1: The amendment to the motion declining to approve the Regulations was rejected: 99 for and 310 against [Bishop of Chester, Not Content; Archbishop of York, Not Content].
  • Division 2: The amendment to the motion seeking to delay consideration of the Regulations until a report has been produced addressing the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ analysis of the Regulations and their impact was agreed: 307 for and 277 against [Bishops of Chester and Portsmouth, Content; Archbishop of York, Content].
  • Division 3: Their Lordships agreed, by 289 for and 272 against, an amendment seeking to delay consideration of the Regulations until consultation and a report to Parliament on the provision of full transactional protection for a minimum of three years for all low-income families and individuals currently receiving tax credits before 5 April 2016 has been completed, such transitional protection to be renewable after three years with parliamentary approval [Archbishop of York, Content; Bishop of Chester, Not Content].
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 3:23pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

There seemed to be far more than three bishops in the House of Lords in the footage that I saw, where were the other Lords Spiritual when it came to the vote? Wasn't Gloucester introduced into the House on the day of the Tax Credits vote?

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 5:19pm GMT

"Wasn't Gloucester introduced into the House on the day of the Tax Credits vote?" Fr David

As she says herself, “I am not in the business of wanting to offend anyone, but I do want to gently challenge people.” [interview in The Guardian].

Perhaps using her vote risked causing offence to someone. Or maybe it wasn't a 'gentle' enough form of challenge.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 10:02pm GMT

I see Lord Green's name on The Independent's list of prominent British millionaires who voted for the cuts.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at 11:21pm GMT

Speaking of voting records, now that the membership of the General Synod is known, would anyone dare to venture a guess about their voting intentions?

Posted by: Lorenzo on Thursday, 29 October 2015 at 9:25am GMT

I think the convention in Parliament is that members do not vote before they have made their maiden speech.

Posted by: Philip Hobday on Thursday, 29 October 2015 at 1:57pm GMT

Could a colleague explain to this reader across the pond the consequence of "Content" vs. "Not Content?" Sounds more specific, or more obscure, than "For" or "Against."

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Thursday, 29 October 2015 at 3:03pm GMT

I'd be interested to know where Philip Hobday found his information about members in Parliament not voting before they have made their maiden speech? Does this convention only apply in the Lords as I cannot believe that the 55 newly elected, champing at the bit, SNP MPs will wait until they have made their maiden speeches before casting any vote in the House of Commons? Thinking of Scotland - the Provost of Glasgow on his Blog "What's in Kelvin's Head" has kindly provided the newly unelected Bishop of Gloucester with a rather silly spoof Maiden Speech which also proves to be her Valedictiory Speech.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 30 October 2015 at 8:52am GMT

"I think the convention in Parliament is that members do not vote before they have made their maiden speech."

If so, then I retract my earlier comment regarding the Bishop of Gloucester's failure to vote this week and await her future voting record with interest.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Friday, 30 October 2015 at 5:13pm GMT

Laurence, the convention is that new Members of the Commons do not intervene in debates until they have made their maiden speech. They can vote and put down questions for written answer, if not for oral answer. I don't know how much of this follows into the Lords.

That said, I am very disappointed in the Bishops. When even Lord Lloyd-Webber dragged himself away from New York to vote for the Government, only three bishops managed to vote, at least one on the Govt's side. If the argument for keeping bishops in the Upper House is that they represent those with faith and those otherwise without a voice, then the bishops pretty much failed to do that this week. Compare with the comments of the (mostly disestablished) Archbishop of Wales this week - without a seat in the Lords or anywhere beyond his own Bench of Bishops.

Posted by: Richard on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 5:32pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.