BISHOP’S PALACE IN WELLS and Churches in Rural Areas: Church Commissioners’ Written Answers

On 14th January 2014, Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered written questions from Tessa Munt MP and Anne McIntosh MP, on the Bishop’s Palace in Wells, and churches in rural areas.

Tony Baldry MP

Bishop of Bath and Wells

Tessa Munt: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the reasons are for the Church Commissioners’ decision to purchase alternative accommodation for the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners have always kept under review the suitability of its houses to meet the needs of a diocesan bishop and facilitate his mission. In the case of the Palace at Wells, the Commissioners concluded that more suitable arrangements could be made for the ministry and living conditions of the new Bishop if he were not to live in the Palace, which is operated by the Palace Trust as a visitor attraction. The Bishop and the Bishop of Taunton will continue to be based and work at the Palace.

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Bishop of Worcester speaks in debate on Middle East Peace Process

“I would describe myself as a pro-Palestinian Zionist, wholeheartedly committed to the right of Israel to exist securely, and equally committed to the right of the Palestinian people to a viable state in which they can flourish. Reaching that is crucial to a wider Middle East peace settlement.” – The Bishop of Worcester

WorcesterOn 14th January 2014, the Bishop of Worcester took part in a debate on what role the European Union is currently playing in efforts to reach a wider Middle East peace settlement. He focused his comments on new EU guidelines on Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester speaks in debate on Middle East Peace Process”

MPs Questions to Church Commissioners

In Church Commissioners’ question time in the House of Commons on 19th January 2014, Sir Tony Baldry MP was asked by MPs to answer questions on the Pilling Report, homelessness, the Church of England 100 Treasures project, violent attacks on clergy, Grade I listed churches, religious tolerance and the Christian celebration of Christmas.

14.01 CCQ Baldry

Transcript (via Parliament.uk):

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Bishop of Ripon and Leeds takes part in affordable childcare debate

On 9th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in Baroness Massey of Darwen’s debate on affordable childcare.

R_LThe Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed to the noble Baroness, Lady Massey of Darwen, for initiating this debate and for expressing so clearly the issues involved and, indeed still more, for her determined advocacy in this House and elsewhere of the rights and needs of children, especially those children who are most at risk within our society.

Childcare provision in this country has grown like Topsy. As we have heard from a number of examples comparing our own experiences when we were young parents with those of our children as parents now, the need for childcare has become more and more crucial to both parents and children, and as a mainstay of our culture as well of our economy. However, there is such a complex system, which is part universal and part not, with childcare vouchers in their varied forms as an additional complication. Rather strangely, there is also the danger that universal credit will actually make the situation more, rather than less, complex.

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Bishop of Ripon and Leeds cautions abolition of welfare provisions from local authority budgets

“One particular danger of the reduced provision, which will be exacerbated by its abolition, is the need for people to rely on high-interest lenders or loan sharks” – The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds

R_LOn 9th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in Lord Smith of Leigh’s debate on the Local Government Finance Settlement. He focused his remarks on local welfare provision, and the risks associated with the removal of funding for local welfare provision from April 2015.

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Bishop of Ripon and Leeds moves amendment to protect children being named during court proceedings

On 8th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds moved an amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, during its Report Stage. Amendment 18 would have removed the presumption that a child will be named publicly when they are involved in youth court proceedings relating to the new anti-social behaviour orders. Following assurances from the Minister, the amendment was withdrawn.

R_LThe Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, Amendments 18, 26 and 29 set out to remove the presumption that a child will be named publicly when they are involved in youth court proceedings relating to the new anti-social behaviour orders. I am very grateful to the Children’s Society, the Standing Committee on Youth Justice and others for concentrating my thoughts on this issue.

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Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asks question on recruitment of school governors

On 8th January 2014, Baroness Perry of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the remarks about “lucky children” made by the Chief Executive of Ofsted during the launch of that organisation’s Annual Report 2012–13.

R_LThe Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, in view of the difficulties often experienced in recruiting governors for schools, especially but not only in disadvantaged areas, what more can the Government do to encourage people to take on that role and to reduce the bureaucratic pressures that governors so often face? Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asks question on recruitment of school governors”

Bishop of Chester speaks during debate on Pensions Bill

14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Bishop of Chester spoke in favour of Amendment 32 during the Committee Stage of the Pensions Bill. The amendment, proposed by Baroness Hollins of Heigham, sought to retain the option of receiving deferred state pension earnings in a lump sum. The Bishop spoke a number of times during the debate on the amendment. The amendment was withdrawn following the debate. 

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Bishop of St Albans calls for greater relationship support in Troubled Families Programme

On 7th January 2014, Lord Horam asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made with the Troubled Families Programme. 

The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:

14.03 Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that there is a considerable body of research and expertise pointing to the vital importance of relationship support in strengthening families? As there are no specific references to family relationships or positive family dynamics in the progress report, will she ask the Troubled Families programme to prioritise such support in the next phase of its work?

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Bishop of Ripon and Leeds supports social care amendment to Children and Families Bill

R_LOn January 7th 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds spoke in favour of an amendment to the Government’s Children and Families Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendment, moved by Crossbench Peer Lord Rix, sought to place the duty of social care provision with the responsible local authority. Following assurances from the Minister, Lord Rix withdrew the amendment. The Government amendments on this topic, tabled at Third Reading, were warmly welcomed by Lord Rix and subsequently accepted as part of the Bill.

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