On 30th June the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, received a written answer to a question from Lord Bethell on the Government’s approach to PPE procurement.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: HL4148 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Bethell on 23 April (HL Deb, col 90), whether their approach to personal protective equipment procurement remains one of collaboration with local initiatives following the report in the Financial Times on 4 May that procurement is being nationalised.
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On 30th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL5625 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of oversight of sanctions, including denial of employment, health services, benefits and housing, to Commonwealth Citizens who do not have correct documentation but who have (1) right of abode or (2) right to remain in the UK.
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On 29th June Baroness Pinnock asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their response to reports that five of the largest councils in the United Kingdom may have to issue a notice under section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as a result of a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on local council income in Luton.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is not only these five councils who are facing severe challenges. Luton Borough Council in my own diocese, which is one of the most innovative and forward-looking councils in the country, owns Luton Airport. Due to the lockdown, the collapse of this income stream is resulting in a massive hole in the council’s revenue. What conversations have Her Majesty’s Government had with Luton Borough Council? What are the Government intending to do to support Luton?
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On 29th June Baroness Falkner of Margravine asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to reassess their relationship with the government of China.” The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing on religious persecution in China.
Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, with Christian pastors made to preach on patriotism as a condition for restoring worship after Covid-19, the new ethnic unity law to sinicize Tibetan Buddhism, and reports of birth control forced on Uighur Muslims, does the Minister accept that firm, co-ordinated international effort is required to challenge Beijing’s abuses of its religious minorities and that such human rights abuses should not be overlooked in our trade negotiations with China?
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On 29th June the Rt Revd Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, received a written answer to a question from Lord True on the redacted report of the Intelligence and Security Committee.
Lord Bishop of Salisbury: HL6029 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to facilitate the publication of the redacted report of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, Russia, sent to the Prime Minister on 17 October 2019.
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On 29th June 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered two written questions on the reopening of churches and financial support for struggling parish churches from Bell Ribeiro-Abby MP.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Streatham): 65019 To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken to provide financial support to single parish churches to avoid the redundancy, salary review and staff restructuring of employed musicians.
Andrew Selous: In March, the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council announced over £75m of liquidity support to dioceses and cathedrals. This money included allowing dioceses in financial need to access up to three months forbearance on sums required for the national clergy payroll [or clergy stipends] for a limited period and paying monthly grants in full for 2020. In May the National Church Institutions announced a diocesan grant scheme supported by the Church Commissioners, which totalled up to £35m of sustainability funding.
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On 25th June, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, asked the Government an Oral Question on their plans to work with faith communities to address violence against women. She then asked a follow-up question about the Domestic Abuse Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to work with faith communities to address violence against women.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Minister of State, Home Office): My Lords, I welcome the important role that faith communities have played, and will continue to play, in tackling violence against women and girls in all its forms. Alongside our ongoing engagement with faith groups, Home Office officials are working on the next phase of the Government’s plan to end violence against women and girls. As part of our stakeholder engagement work, we will be reaching out to faith leaders and communities to seek their views.
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On 25th June 20202 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative. A transcript is below:
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On 25th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question on child refugees in Greece.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5618 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conditions for child refugees in Greece; what humanitarian and medical aid they have provided to those refugees; and what plans they have, if any, to allow them to come to the UK.
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On 24th June, the Bishop of St Albans asked a question following a Government statement on the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we are all implicated in the conscious and unconscious bias which bedevils our society. It will change only if we all take responsibility to make that change come about. Due to the age of those who came on the “Windrush”, time is of the essence in gaining compensation. Some of them have already died. What specifically is being done to speed up the process? On the more general issue, what is the relationship between the various groups, such as this cross-government working group and the race equality commission, and is the Minister sure that these groups will complement each other and expedite matters rather than confuse them?
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