“I am sure, as are others, that this cannot be the end of the reform process for another generation.” – Bishop of Leicester
On 28th March 2014 the House of Lords debated a Bill that sought to enable Peers to retire their membership of the House, enforce retirement for non-attenders and expel those convicted of serious offences. This Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Lord Steel and Dan Byles MP, was given widespread support during its Second Reading debate, including by the Bishop of Leicester.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, I, too, am deeply grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Steel, Lord Cormack and Lord Norton, and other noble Lords, for bringing us to this point. Continue reading “House of Lords Reform Bill – speech by Bishop of Leicester”
“I spent some time recently with an intelligent and engaging Somali prisoner …This man was given an 18-month tariff, but last Christmas was his ninth in prison. What an injustice, and what a huge expense.” – Bishop of Lichfield
On 27th March 2014 the Bishop of Lichfield took part in a debate tabled by Lord Wigley, ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address the position of individuals serving indeterminate sentences on public protection grounds who have already passed their tariff’.
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, for his initiative and to the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Phillips, for their very helpful introductions.
As a general principle, it is accepted in this country that people should be sent to prison because they have been convicted of an offence rather than because of the risk that they will offend. Indeterminate tariffs are even now available for the most serious offences, in the form of life sentences, and extended sentences now provide a way to manage and contain risk in relation to those convicted of serious violent and sexual offences which do not call for a life sentence. Continue reading “Prisons and the problem of indeterminate sentences – speech by Bishop of Lichfield”
“If we do nothing, we will see the gap between London and the regions continue to widen to the detriment of the whole country. I urge the Government and this House to address this problem with imagination, courage and vigour” – Bishop of Sheffield
On 27th March Peers debated the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget statement. The Bishop of Sheffield spoke of the need to rebalance the economy so that the proceeds of renewed economic growth could be shared across the regions. He suggested this could be the task of a cross-party parliamentary commission.
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, the prophet Jeremiah wrote a short but remarkable letter to his contemporaries long ago who had been sent into exile in Babylon. The letter has shaped Jewish and Christian thought on how communities of faith should engage with the wider society down all the generations since. The prophet’s advice is to,
“seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you … for in its welfare you will find your welfare”.
Continue reading “Shrinking the economic gap between London and the regions: Budget speech by Bishop of Sheffield”
On 27th March Peers debated the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget statement. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Rev Peter Forster, cautioned that if society were to experience renewed growth and prosperity, it should guard against recreating the problems of the past 30 years. He argued for an emphasis on strengthened social institutions, including families, continued commitment to overseas aid, and improved financial education.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, the reason that the Bishops sit on the government side of the Chamber, I am told, is the recognition that the task of government is so difficult that the Government need all the help available to them. Managing the economy in recent years has been an enormously difficult task and we can only express relief and, indeed, gratitude that things seem to be moving on to a more normal plane despite all the challenges ahead, about which the Chancellor himself is fairly candid. Continue reading “Freedom and Responsibility: Budget speech by the Bishop of Chester”
On 27th March 2014, the Bishop of St Albans received an answer to a written question on flooding.
Flooding – Question
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the recent and ongoing flooding, they plan to reconsider their 2010 decision to remove the duty on local authorities to produce climate adaptation plans. Continue reading “Flooding: Written Question”
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what action they propose to take over the potential impact on university funding arising from lower than expected repayment of student loans?’ The Bishop of Chester asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I share the Government’s view that the higher education sector is in remarkably good health given the recession. However, does not setting fees at £9,000, which is far higher than fees in any other European country, imply a loans system that has its own element of generosity, including a repayment starting point of £21,000, rather than the original £16,000?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate raises an important point. I am sure he is aware that the Government have ensured that those universities that have chosen to raise their fees to the £9,000 limit have suitable access agreements so that those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the opportunity to go to university. The Government’s policy remains that access to a university education should be based not on someone’s ability to pay but on their ability.