Bishop Donald signs cross party letter calling for a rethink on bereavement support reforms

On Monday 6 April, Bishop Donald told the House of Lords that the changes would harm bereaved parents and children under in the new universal credit.

The changes mean stopping payments that would have supported children until they left full time education.

Baroness Sherlock, who has also signed the letter, said:  “What will happen in practice is that a six year-old who lost her father last year will be supported until she leaves school; if her father dies next year that support would stop after 18 months.”

She went on to say that these cuts were part of an attempt to cut £12 billion off social security.  “The Government should not take money away from bereaved children.”

The plan was for a larger initial payment and then payments ending after 18 months.

Bishop Donald disagreed with this move.

He said:  “I fully accept that the system needed reform, but those of us who spend a lot of time looking after people in bereavement know that a widowed parent may sometimes have to spend several years giving considerable extra time, attention and care to children.  In practice, that may necessitate working only part-time for a number of years while children are still at home.”

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