On 24th July 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, received written answers to questions on Lebanon and Syria.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to build the resilience of the Lebanese army to respond to the security situation on its border with Syria.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK is providing an additional £10 million of assistance to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in their mission to secure Lebanon’s border with Syria. The package of non-lethal assistance includes mobility, communications, protection and observation equipment and associated training. The package was discussed by the then Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, with the LAF commander during his visit to Lebanon on 4-5 July.
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On 24th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received written answers to questions on Egypt and the Gulf States.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the prospects for political reconciliation in Egypt.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi):We are in contact with all sides in Egypt, and have urged all to resolve their differences through dialogue, and avoid violence. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), was in regular contact with former Foreign Minister Amr, most recently on 8 July to discuss the situation in Egypt. We have requested contact with the new interim government and continue to be in contact with the army and Muslim Brotherhood. It is important that Egypt makes an early return to democratic processes, including free and fair elections, and that those processes are inclusive.
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On 23rd July 2013, Lord Risby asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current social and economic situation in Lebanon. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question on what is being done to ease tensions between communities affected by the movement of refugees:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, Lebanese communities have shown incredible generosity in coping with refugees but the flow is reaching breaking point. Will the Minister accept that, in addition to providing support for refugees, more work should be done to alleviate tension between communities and to strengthen the resilience of host families?
Baroness Warsi: I completely agree with the right reverend Prelate that there has been a huge show of generosity and a real welcome from the Lebanese people. Noble Lords may be aware that the population of Lebanon is about 4 million. The number of registered refugees is 600,000 but it is estimated that the real number could be a lot higher—somewhere around 1 million. That is the equivalent of the whole of the Romanian population arriving on British shores over a very short period. A huge amount of pressure has been put on local resources, which has of course caused tensions. It is for that reason that we are supporting not just the refugee communities but the host communities as well.
On 22nd July 2013, Baroness Bakewell asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to encourage religiously selective schools to adopt more open admission policies. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: Does the Minister agree with the Secretary of State that Church of England schools are most often found in very challenging areas in our communities and provide excellent education? Would he encourage the expansion of religious schools of that kind in oversubscribed areas?
Lord Nash: Where we have areas of basic need, we are keen to encourage all comers to help us. I entirely agree with the right reverend Prelate about the performance of Church of England schools. Again, in respect of achieving five A* to C grades, including in English and maths, they score 62% versus 58%, and at level 4 of key stage 2 they score 82% as opposed to 78%. We would welcome expansion of these schools as they provide an excellent education.
On 22nd July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received an answer to a written question on the subject of freedom of religion.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the European Union guidelines on promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, agreed by the Council of Ministers on 24 June.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We worked closely with EU partners to develop guidelines for EU country offices to strengthen their work on the right to freedom of religion or belief across the world. We were gratified that these guidelines took as their original inspiration the UK’s own freedom of religion or belief toolkit. We believe the guidelines are a valuable tool for EU country offices and the embassies of individual EU member states to use, and look forward to strengthened joint working with our EU partners to ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief is more widely guaranteed and that any violations are tackled in the most effective manner.
On 18th July 2013, Lord James of Blackheath asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they will discuss with the Church of England how to commemorate the 304 British soldiers who were executed by the British Government in World War I and who are currently not commemorated in any existing war memorials. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, while I am sure the Minister is aware that the Church of England does not have sole responsibility to add names to war memorials but would be glad to work with others on this important issue, is he aware of the work being undertaken by the Church of England, the Imperial War Museum and the War Memorials Trust together to develop educational materials linked to the centenary of World War I to help school children and the wider public to learn more about all the people commemorated and to cherish these memorials and all that they represent?
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: I entirely agree with the right reverend Prelate and I am aware of the very important work being done by the Imperial War Museum, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The important thing is that English Heritage is restoring, as we all see, the national memorial in Whitehall. I commend it for doing that and I hope very much that others will take that lead so that war memorials across the land, in whosever ownership or custodianship, are in very good order for the commemorations.
On 17th July 2013, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon asked Her Majesty’s Government what further developments there have been since the publication of their response to the report of the Independent Panel on Forestry. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, can the Minister assure us that the Government will keep faith with the recommendation to establish guardians of the public forest estate and, if so, tell us what their role will be in relation to the new management organisation that is being established?
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, before I answer that perhaps I should reiterate my thanks to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Liverpool and his independent panel for the work that they did for us on this.
We envisage that there will be a group of guardians who will draw on the interests and expertise of public forest users and will be able to advise and support the delivery of the new body’s remit. The guardians will be focused on the outcomes that the management body delivers, such as environmental biodiversity and social benefits, and any questions of significant land acquisitions and disposals.
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 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”