On 15th November 2017 Lord Beith asked Her Majesty’s Government “when they expect to receive the report of the English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review, which was announced in 2016.” The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, for his intervention, Lincoln having recently won a favourite cathedral award—Ely is not too bad either. Of course, these churches, cathedrals and chapels are part of our shared heritage, but does the Minister agree that even more important is the work undertaken by cathedrals and churches in food banks, in supporting economic regeneration and in working with homeless people and the lonely, especially in remote parts of the country? Does he agree that the Government should endorse that work and will he encourage the way in which they can support it through the use and deployment of these buildings?
Lord Ashton of Hyde: Of course I agree with the right reverend Prelate that one way that churches can remain relevant is to involve themselves with things that go on in their community. That is exactly what the review is going to look at, among other things, including the uses of listed buildings for purposes beyond worship and what barriers prevent that happening.
(All the exchanges on this question can be viewed here).