Archbishop of Canterbury responds to statement by new Prime Minister, stresses importance of support for families

Canterburydebate081217cOn 25th July 2019 the Leader of the House of Lords  (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome the repetition of the Statement. We on these Benches wish to express our thanks to the Chief Whip, the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and to Mr Evans. We tend to turn over numbers rather more regularly than your Lordships and have always been very well welcomed. We are deeply grateful and will miss them both very much indeed. I say that on behalf of all Members of these Benches—including the ones in disguise [indicates Lord McFall, sitting beside].

To move away from Brexit for a moment, the Statement talks powerfully about ambitions for education, tackling crime, social care and health, and about increasing funding for them very significantly.

All that will of course be most welcome—if it comes. The issue, though, is that money does not do it all. In all those areas, the impact of households and families in their many diverse forms today is crucial. Social care is best handled—most effectively and affectionately—from within the home.

Education within the home is absolutely critical. The challenges of crime, particularly in relation to probation and the release of prisoners, are best met within a stable home and household environment.

There are many different types of households and homes but, as we heard in Oral Questions this morning, significant obstacles remain to families and households supporting and caring for people in the most effective and flexible way and with the least cost to government. Will the Government be looking at these invisible barriers that affect the areas on which they wish to deliver with so much money and so much passion?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park: I thank the most reverend Primate for his comments. He is right that there are things that the Government can visibly do, but there is also support and there are things on the ground that we need to help develop, and that will certainly be part of our plans. The new Prime Minister has set out his vision covering domestic policy. I am delighted that I was not asked a question on Brexit because we want to look at how we can improve quality of life for people across our country and to focus on our future. That is why he is particularly focused on, and has highlighted, the fact that he wants to protect older people from the fear of having to sell their home to pay for care. I hope noble Lords will be pleased to hear that we will be publishing proposals in this area soon, because it is one of those areas that will make a significant difference to families across the country and to people’s lives, and it is something that we really must grapple with.


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