Bishop of Southwark voices doubts about US Peace to Prosperity economic plan for Palestine

Southwark170718On 18th July 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Cope of Berkeley (Con) asking Government “what assessment they have made of the government of the United States’ Peace to Prosperity economic plan for Palestine, published on 26 June”. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I add my congratulations to those already offered to the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, on this timely and important debate. As many of your Lordships may know, I generally visit the Holy Land twice a year. Each January, I accompany the Vatican’s Holy Land co-ordination group to the area as the sole Anglican bishop. I have experienced much Israeli and Palestinian hospitality down the years. I am only too well aware of the State of Israel’s just concerns for its security and its safeguarding of the holy places of Jerusalem, but I have witnessed Bethlehem walled in on three sides, Palestinian agricultural land divided and appropriated by military structures, and the acquisition of swathes of the West Bank and east Jerusalem for the settlement of Israel’s citizens and the exclusion of Palestine’s.

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Bishop of Chelmsford speaks in debate on religious persecution, welcomes Foreign Office report into persecuted Christians

On 11th July 2019 Lord Elton led a debate in the House of Lords  “That this House takes note of the extent of persecution of people of faith in this century.” The Bishop; of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for this opportunity to examine the extent of persecution of people of faith. I will not repeat the heart-breaking stories of the terrible atrocities that besmirch our world, but they are of course the day-to-day reality for so many people of faith. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others for telling those stories—they need to be heard.

The diocese I serve as Bishop of Chelmsford covers east London and Essex and contains some of the most diverse and rapidly changing communities in our land. Here, faith leaders and grassroots worshippers from all religions are engaged in some of the most humbling and encouraging initiatives to hold fast to that most irreducible of godly virtues: peace. Although east London is often a place where bridges are built, sadly, it is also too often an arena where the backwash from religious intolerance, persecution and strife from around the world is felt. We are a global village, but sadly we are also a global playground where much cruelty and intolerance go unchecked.

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Bishop of Durham asks Government for response to report on children’s experiences of the hostile environment’

Durham161117On 9th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question to Government,  “what assessment they have made of Project 17’s report Not Seen, Not Heard: Children’s experiences of the hostile environment”:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I am delighted to introduce this debate on Project 17’s report, Not seen, Not heard. In doing so, I draw attention to my interests as listed on the register and, in particular, to the research support I receive from the Good Faith Partnership’s RAMP project on immigration policy.

In this report, Project 17 highlights the way that vulnerable families and children are trapped between overstretched local authorities and punitive immigration controls. As with the ongoing harm caused by the two-child limit, it seems that cost-cutting and punitive notions of control are prioritised over the flourishing and protection of families. We need a radical change of direction away from seeing vulnerable children as a burden. Like many in this Chamber, I believe that a policy built on the gift and voices of children is not a naive aspiration but the very definition of good policy.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about delivery of apprenticeship levy

On 4th July 2019 Lord Young of Norwood Green led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion “That this House takes note of the Apprenticeship Levy and the case for the effective delivery of workplace opportunities for young people.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

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Bishop of St Albans on links between inequality, unemployment and mental ill health

Inequality, unemployment and mental ill health are three interconnected, intersecting areas which are important to address if we are to have a flourishing and thriving society in which all can participate. As we know, mental ill health is one of the two main disabilities affecting participation in work. I am glad that the Government have decided that the NHS long-term plan will assist people with mental health issues into work. That plan recognises that mental health problems disproportionately impact on people living in poverty and those who face various forms of discrimination. This is a huge step forward in the visibility and awareness of this issue, and I hope that it really will help us move ahead.

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Bishop of Chichester calls for “unprincipled and harmful” two-child limit benefits policy to be scrapped

On 27th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Janke, “That this House takes note of the impact of recent benefit changes on vulnerable people.”  The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate:

The introduction of the two-child limit represented a significant shift in social policy. It broke the long-standing principle, upheld by various Governments of all parties, that entitlement to benefits should be linked to need. In its place, no discernible alternative principle underlies the application of the two-child limit.

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Bishop of St Albans says community-led approach is crucial in tackling serious youth crime

On 27th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Paddick, “That this House takes note of the impact of government policy on knife crime”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for obtaining this debate and for his excellent analysis of some of the causes and, indeed, the work that has been done on how we might address them, which is a holistic approach. I am also delighted that a number of experts in policing are speaking in this debate. I come to this with little knowledge of that, but I have knowledge through the 136 schools in my diocese—I have been to two this week—and in many of the urban areas across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, which seek to bring together groups of young people to reflect on how this can be addressed.

This debate looks at the impact of government policies on serious youth violence. As the causes are many and varied, we need to look at a wide range of different issues. We are all aware that access to lethal weapons has escalated and intensified conflict. Demonstrably, when the year to March 2018 represented the highest number of knife homicides in England and Wales since 1946, it is all too clear to us that it is too easy to obtain weapons, notwithstanding the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. Indeed, from previous problems, for example acid attacks, we are aware that simply removing one way of attacking other people does not necessarily immediately solve a problem. I am therefore delighted that government action in reducing weapon accessibility has had some success, with Operation Sceptre taking some 10,000 knives off the streets. Yet piecemeal approaches will never be enough.

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