Bishop of London highlights role of church and community groups in improving health and social care

London1On 22nd October 2019 Parliament continued to debate the Queen’s Speech, including scrutiny of measures relating to Health and Social Care. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally (and formerly Chief Nursing Officer for England), contributed to the debate:

Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, many noble Lords will know that I have a background in health, and I continue to be a great supporter of the National Health Service, so they will not be surprised when I address my comments to health and social care. In doing so, I recognise the contribution of the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, to nursing and to this House.

I thank the Government for their work to support and strengthen the National Health Service, its workforce and its resources. However, increased investment and reform does not guarantee getting to the root of the problem. Our health and social care issue is what you might call a “village problem”. Our flourishing, mentally, physically and emotionally, occurs best in community. More than that, as Sir Michael Marmot’s research from the Institute of Health Equity indicated, our economic, social and emotional circumstances all play a part in our health and well-being.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about access to cash withdrawal services in rural areas

On 22nd October 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact on rural communities of the decision by Barclays Bank to end cash withdrawal services from the Post Office”. The bishop then asked a follow-up question:

Lord Bishop of St Albans: I beg leave to ask the Question in my name on the Order Paper and declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Northern Ireland Office (Lord Duncan of Springbank): My Lords, the Government are disappointed by the withdrawal of Barclays from the renegotiated banking framework. None the less, the new banking framework will enable customers to access their cash from 27 high street banks. The Government will continue to ensure that communities receive support and have choice about how they manage their finances.

Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. Rural communities rely on access to finance, but in many rural areas where there is poor broadband or weak mobile signal, online banking is impossible. This is a fundamental issue for our rural areas. What representations have Her Majesty’s Government made to Barclays Bank, and what will we do if other banks decide to follow its lead? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about access to cash withdrawal services in rural areas”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about taxation of fuel for air travel

Salisbury231018bOn 21st October 2019 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the Government “what plans they have to (1) ban or (2) restrict frequent flyer “airmiles” schemes.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a follow-up question:

Lord Bishop of Salisbury: Can the Minister explain why the gap between aviation fuel being untaxed and road fuel being taxed as it is, is so great? If the answer is the difficulty of getting international agreement, why are UK internal flights not taxed to get some parity between different methods of transport?

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Bishop of Coventry asks Government about Kashmir and the Indian Constitution

Coventry171123 bOn 21st October 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received two written answers from the Government regarding Kashmir:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:

(i) HL25 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision of the government of India, on 5 August, to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India, and what representations they have made to the government of India about that decision.

(ii) HL26 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to seek a peaceful resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan, following the decision of the government of India on 5 August to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

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Bishop of Leeds responds to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal statement

Leeds0518bOn 19th October 2019 Parliament sat on a Saturday for the first time in 37 years. The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) moved a motion to take note of Brexit, and repeated the Prime Minister’s statement on the deal he had negotiated with the EU. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, commented about issues of trust and humility:

Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I have ditched the speech that I intended to give because of what I have heard. I particularly want to reinforce the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. His warnings are prescient, although his conclusion reminded me of that of the General Synod on writing liturgy. It was unanimous that there should be only one form of the Lord’s prayer in our new liturgies. Everyone agreed; we ended up with three.

The “how” is a very difficult question.

From what we heard in the Statement earlier, it seems that the question at the root of all of this stuff is trust. Trust cannot be commanded, even by a Prime Minister; it has to be earned.

We have had three years or more of either learning to trust or becoming suspicious about trust, and that goes across the country. We heard in the Statement that we have been half-hearted in our commitment to the EU. We have not just been half-hearted. We have been told lies and there has been gross misrepresentation, including from the current Prime Minister when he was a journalist in Brussels.

Propagated through the media, these lies have been allowed to go on and have formed the way that we see and understand Europe, ourselves and our role. That raises a question about trust.

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Week in Westminster,14th-18th October 2019

cropped-cropped-palace_of_westminster_london_-_feb_20071.jpgThis week in the House of Lords Lords Spiritual attended the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament. The Bishop of Bristol made her first speech in the Lords during the subsequent debate on the address, and the Bishop of Coventry also spoke on relations with European countries.  The Bishop of Leeds spoke about extremist elements affecting  football, and the Bishop of Oxford urged swifter action to bring in online age-verification for adult websites. The Bishop of Coventry asked what funds were available to help pupils with sever needs, not covered by SEN funding. A Private Member’s Bill was introduced on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, to regulate gambling.  Continue reading “Week in Westminster,14th-18th October 2019”

Bishop of Bristol makes first speech in House of Lords

During debate on the Queen’s Speech on Thursday 17th October, the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, made her first speech in the House of Lords. The transcript is below in full.

Much has been unfamiliar but, having spent most of the last 30 years working in cathedrals, for the last 18 years as a dean, there was a certain familiarity on entering a building in need of significant structural attention.

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