On 16th July 2013 Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to deal with the level of rents being charged by private landlords, particularly in London, and their impact on housing benefit. The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, more than one-third of privately renting households are families with children, yet typical tenancies remain short-term with little assurance about when rents may rise or how long they will be able to stay in their home. Uncertainty of this kind is particularly damaging for families trying to give their children stability. Will the Government give serious consideration to Shelter’s proposal to develop and promote stable rental contracts that would offer renters a five-year tenancy agreement and tie rent increases to inflation?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate makes an important point. I have seen the Shelter policy. Security of tenure has increased. Recent figures from the English Housing Survey show that only 9% of tenancies are ended by the landlord. We have seen an increasing percentage of people staying in their accommodation for more than two years. That is to be appreciated. We are looking at Shelter’s proposition, which came out in its September 2012 report.
On 16th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received answers to two written questions, on the topics of elderly people and depression, and human trafficking.
Elderly People: Depression
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are in place to ensure that the elderly are assessed routinely for depression during medical consultations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): NHS England is completing the nationwide rollout of psychological therapy services for adults who have depression or anxiety disorders, and as part of this is paying particular attention to ensuring appropriate access for people over 65 years of age.
NHS England has recently funded an advertising campaign with Age UK to promote Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services for older people. The promotional campaign challenges views that depression is natural in older people and to encourage general practitioners to refer older people to IAPT services and older people themselves to self-refer.
Another strand of IAPT development is a project which aims to ensure that psychological therapies are routinely available to people with long term physical health conditions and medically unexplained symptoms. Given that many older people have such physical health conditions, this project will lead to them being encouraged to access IAPT services when necessary.
(via Parliament.uk) Continue reading “Bishop of Derby – Depression and Human Trafficking (Written Answers)”
On 15th July 2013, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. John Sentamu, took part in the Report Stage of the Government’s Local Audit and Accountability Bill. The Archbishop queried the inclusion of the term “fair view” in an amendment on a clause dealing with the general duties of auditors. The amendment, tabled by the Government, was agreed to.
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, on Amendment 12, if the statement is true, are not the words “fair view” fatuous? Could you have a true statement which needs qualifying as being unfair? If it is true, it is true. Are those warm words, are they warming up the word “true”? What do they add, those words “fair view”? If it is true, it is true.
Lord Palmer of Childs Hill (Government response): My Lords, unfortunately in accountancy there is a certain jargon. “True and fair view” is jargon used by firms of accountants and auditors from time immemorial, probably since the formation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, which was the first institute.
My query is whether this is not something which could be included in the external auditors’ audit report in the normal way. Currently, the external auditors’ audit report will say that the accounts have been true and fair and all the other jargon that goes with it in a format which has evolved over the years. The amendment seems to provide that the auditors must be satisfied that the local authority presents its accounts in a true and fair way. If that be the case, I wonder whether my noble friend can say, either now or in writing, whether the auditors’ report itself will need to be amended. Currently, the auditors’ reports just say that the accounts are, in their opinion, true and fair—or words of that nature. Now we seem to be saying that the external auditor must be satisfied that the local authority has presented its accounts in a true and fair way, which seems to be going beyond the opinion that those figures are true and fair. I know that we have a jargon and that the statement should be true but not fair seems completely wrong, but this is a form of words which has been used by accountants for years and is being replicated in the Bill. Continue reading “Archbishop of York takes part in debate on Local Audit and Accountability Bill”
On 15th July 2013, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, took part in the Third Reading debate on the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Bishop spoke in support of a group of amendments seeking to remove inequalities in relation to survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes and thanked the Minister and the Government for accommodating the needs of the Church of England and other faith traditions within the Bill. As the Third Reading is the final opportunity for debate in the legislative process, Baroness Stowell of Beeston noted the work of the Bishop of Leicester during the passage of the Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I support this group of amendments. A review of the benefits accruing to all survivors under occupational pension schemes is both desirable and necessary. The principle of equity under the law for those whom the law holds to have the same status in relation to the deceased is a sound one. Hard-pressed pension schemes must be tempted to limit benefits, and the complexity of some schemes may hide inequity, so this principle is clear and just and I support it. Indeed, the Church of England pension scheme already treats surviving civil partners in precisely the same way as widows and widowers.
There is a wider reason for supporting these amendments. It is no secret that the majority of Christian churches and other world faiths do not believe that same-sex marriage accords with their understanding of marriage itself. However, many of us, including on these Benches, welcome the social and legal recognition of same-sex partnerships and believe that our society is a better and healthier one for such recognition. That is why I support this group of amendments. This point has sometimes been obscured in public commentary on what has been taking place here, but not in the debates in your Lordships’ House. The courtesy and clarity with which your Lordships have listened to each other represent our very best traditions, and I echo all that has already been said in this brief debate. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich debates pension provisions in Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill”
On 15th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received answers to written questions on the topics of graduate entrepreneurs and tax transparency.
Businesses: Graduate Entrepreneurs
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what resources are available for graduate entrepreneurs for start-up businesses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): We want more businesses to develop in the UK in order to drive economic growth and innovation. We are intervening early to drive ambition by encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset in young people through activities in schools, colleges and universities. The experience of enterprise through education helps give young people the knowledge and awareness of what it means to run a business.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can also help to bridge the gap into the world of business. For example, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provides £160m per annum through Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) to English HEIs to enable them to work with businesses and others. This can also be used to support student and academic enterprise, including start-ups and spin-outs. The latest Higher Education-Business and Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCI) indentified that, in 2011/12, 2,359 graduate start-ups were generated from English HEIs and 2,315 Graduate start ups were still active after at least three years. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby – Graduate Entrepreneurs and Tax Transparency”
On 12th July 2013, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry MP, gave an answer to a written question from Huw Irranca-Davies MP about the procurement of food.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what proportion of all food procured for the Church Commissioners was sourced from (a) British producers, (b) small and medium-sized enterprises and (c) producers which met British buying standards in the latest period for which figures are available.
Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners do not purchase food centrally; each department of the National Church Institutions are responsible for their own sourcing and procurement of food for meetings and events in line with the Church of England’s procurement policies. It is not therefore possible to say precisely what proportion of food procured was sourced from (a) British producers, (b) small and medium-sized enterprises and (c) producers which met British buying standards.
On 11th July 2013, Lord Patel led a take-note debate in the House of Lords on future models of funding of health and social care in England. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the debate. The Bishop spoke of the need to develop community-based approaches to health and social care and called for a more holistic and whole-life approach to their provision.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Patel, on securing the debate. As we have heard from all speakers so far, there is a strong narrative about how precious the NHS is, how high public expectation remains and the problem of rising costs—it’s own health check has just been referred to.
I want to talk a little about care systems and the models that we might need to develop. Experience on the ground tells us that care systems are very fragmented. As systems such as family stability collapse, many people are isolated and struggle to access care and health services. The current system is very skewed towards the delivery of episodic interventions around particular crises. We need to look below that. We need to step back and see how we can create a culture of engagement, support and well-being for people that puts those episodic interventions in a different context and perhaps provides a context in which they would be less necessary and less frequent. I shall raise some questions about models and capacity, not least in relation to the elderly.
I work in the county of Derbyshire. Last year, in the city of Derby, I organised a commission, the Redfern commission, which looked at models of care in our community and how we could contribute alongside the statutory provision. We had a public hearing looking at models of care for the elderly. One of the experts who came as a witness to that public hearing raised three issues. She started by talking about people’s feet and the fact that proper foot care is very important to allow people to continue to have mobility—to be able to shop, do their cleaning and have social intercourse. Very simple things that require microengagement make a huge difference to people’s well-being and health. She also talked about the reluctance of doctors to diagnose depression in elderly patients who suffer a lot of loss. She said that something like 2 million elderly people are diagnosed with clinical depression, but there are probably far more, and it is hard for them to get treatment or even support on the ground. She also raised the lack of provision of advice for elderly people about sexual health. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for development of community-led health and social care provision”