Week in Westminster, 27th-31st March 2017

Westminster

This week bishops in the House of Lords asked questions about healthcare in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, the future of Channel 4 as a public service broadcaster and the Motability scheme for disabled people.

They also responded to a Government statement on activating ‘Article 50’ and voted on amendments to the Government’s Technical & Further Education Bill. A bishop also spoke and voted on motions to regret the Government’s proposals to make changes to Personal Independence Payments.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about future of Motability

stalbans190117On the 30th March 2017 Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked the Government ‘what steps they are taking to support independent living for disabled people of working age’. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a further question relating to the Motability scheme.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Motability scheme is a crucial element for getting people back into work, yet about 50,000 people have lost out on it. What is particularly worrying is that the vast majority of appeals are upheld, by which time those concerned have lost the vehicle and then have to get it again. It is costing a lot of time and money. Would Her Majesty’s Government consider having a scheme whereby people do not lose the vehicle until the end of the appeal process? This would make much more sense where the appeal is upheld. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about future of Motability”

Bishop of Winchester asks about transparency of negotiations for leaving European Union

Bishop of WinchesterOn 29th March 2017, the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a Government statement made in the House of Commons on triggering Article 50. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a question.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester My Lords, from these Benches we welcome the Prime Minister’s Statement, especially the intention of both sides to work together as a priority to solve the complex issues of EU and EEA nationals, not least the many students and academics in our universities.

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Bishop of Southwark acknowledges the benefit of publicly owned broadcasting to the UK

SouthwarkOn 29th March 2017, Lib Dem Peer Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury asked Her Majesty’s Government when the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will announce its conclusions on the future status of Channel 4. The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a supplementary question on the benefit of publicly funded broadcasting.

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Bishop of Winchester asks Government about access to healthcare for residents of the Occupied Territories

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On the 28th March 2017 Baroness Sheehan asked a question about access to healthcare in East Jerusalem for residents from the Occupied Territories. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a supplementary question:

The Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, we have heard how the people of the Occupied Territories continue to face challenges accessing emergency care. The diocese of Jerusalem provides hospitals and health centres across this area, but many of the vital facilities and services are not fully operational because the equipment cannot be calibrated and staff lack accreditation. What conversations have Her Majesty’s Government had with the Israeli Government to facilitate the necessary inspections to ensure that these and similar facilities become operational and therefore reduce the reliance of Palestinian people on reaching hospitals in East Jerusalem?

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Votes: Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017

On 27th March 2017, two votes took place on a Statutory Instrument introducing changes to the regulations governing Personal Independence Payments. The Bishop of Winchester took part in both divisions.
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Bishop of Winchester supports motion to regret changes to personal independence payments

winchester171116On Monday 27th March 2017, the House of Lords debated a Statutory Instrument introducing changes to the regulations governing Personal Independence Payments. Two motions relating to the regulations were debated, the first a motion to “annul” the regulations, and the second a motion to “regret”. The Bishop of Winchester spoke in favour of the second motion. Lord Henley responded on behalf of the Government. When put to a vote, the motion to annul was defeated, and the motion to regret agreed. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester supports motion to regret changes to personal independence payments”