The House of Commons and the House of Lords are both currently in recess, but this week written answers were published to questions to Government from bishops on Burma, Sudan, gambling and debt relief. Parliament will return on 9th October.
On 20th September 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was a signatory to a letter to The Times newspaper about affordable rural housing:
Sir, A thriving countryside needs more good quality, genuinely affordable homes (“Country Unfair”, leading article, Sep 19). Only one in ten homes in rural areas is classed as affordable, compared with one in five in urban areas. The proportion of new affordable homes is shrinking, and rural areas face a significant shortfall over the next five years. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans letter to Times on need for more affordable rural housing”
During that time bishops spoke in debates on prison overcrowding, digital understanding, Brexit, and gambling. They supported bills on raising the age of criminal responsibility and on supporting the victims of modern slavery.
Bishops also asked questions about housing, children’s hospices, the Rohingya people in Myanmar, the Banking Standards Commission and school admissions. The Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on cathedral entry charges and church lavatories, and spoke about Coventry’s bid to be 2021 City of Culture.
Newspapers carried letters and articles from Lords Spiritual on economic, welfare and gambling policies, and the Speaker’s Chaplain was interviewed on BBC2 Newsnight about religion in politics.
Parliament is now in recess again and will return on 9th October. Continue reading “Fortnight in Westminster, 4th – 15th September 2017”
On 14th September 2017 the Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, was introduced to the House of Lords and took his seat. The Bishops of Gloucester and Newcastle acted as his supporters. Here is a description of the ceremony of introduction:
Seven bishops signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper, printed on 14th September 2017, voicing concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes. Four of the signatories were Lords Spiritual:
Local welfare assistance schemes are a vital lifeline for people who find themselves in a crisis and without basic essentials, such as food, electricity, or a working oven. It is therefore very worrying that most of these schemes have been cut back considerably in recent years and that 26 local councils have now closed them altogether, including in many areas that we represent (English councils’ local welfare schemes in ‘meltdown’, 12 September). Continue reading “Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes”
On 14th September 2017 The Times newspaper published a letter from the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, about the forthcoming Government gambling review and the need to address the issue of fixed odds betting terminals:
Sir, It is encouraging to read that the prime minister is putting her weight behind the reduction in stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) (“Treasury backs down on fixed-odds betting curbs”, Sep 12). The present maximum stake of £100 for an FOBT looks like an anomaly compared with the stakes permitted in other licensed gaming machine categories, which range from £1 to £5. The £100 stakes allow FOBTs to wreak disproportionate harm. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans letter to The Times on Government review of fixed odds betting terminals”
Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, appeared on BBC2’s Newsnight programme on 7th September 2017, discussing faith and politics alongside Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee. The interview was preceded by a clip of an appearance by Jacob-Rees Mogg MP on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, where he had been asked about the influence of his Roman Catholicism on his position on abortion and other matters. A transcript of the interview is below: