Report (1st Day)

Part of Pensions Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 24th February 2014.

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Photo of The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench 4:45 pm, 24th February 2014

My Lords, I am sure that the House will want to reach a conclusion on this debate as soon as possible, but as treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children I would like to express my strong support for Amendment 21, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis. I also pay tribute to the Minister for the care with which he has clearly been considering this very sensitive matter. That does not surprise me given that his great-aunt, Anna Freud, set up the Hampstead War Nurseries towards the end of the Second World War. She dealt with children who had been separated from their parents and provided them with much needed care. She also made forensic observations of what happens when a child is separated from the parent, looking at the different sequelae of those changes. What she discovered was that while she could feed the children well and provide exercise so that they were healthier, the emotional damage done to them as a result of being separated from their parents was simply huge. The concern must be that if widowed parents are not well supported and given all necessary consideration they may emotionally withdraw from their children, with all the adverse consequences highlighted by the noble Lord, Lord German, in Grand Committee.