Bishop of Durham – We need an immigration policy led by the needs of communities and the personhood of migrants

On 14th February 2019 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Lord Roberts of Llandudno, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to improve immigration procedures in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, took part:

Given the velocity with which the incredibly narrow immigration Bill will likely be sped through this House, any and all opportunities for Parliament to provide scrutiny of immigration is to be welcomed. Without more scrutiny we seem to risk squandering the potential for a reset moment in the way that the UK thinks, debates and legislates about migration.

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Bishop of Carlisle welcomes NHS Long Term Plan and stresses importance of spiritual care

On 31st January 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: “To move that this House takes note of the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January, and the case for a fully funded, comprehensive and integrated health and care system which implements parity of esteem, preventative health and standards set out in the NHS Constitution.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, this NHS long-term plan is very welcome, and from these Benches I commend all those who contributed to it. It is a comprehensive plan—not easy when health is such a wide-ranging topic. It is also realistic about the many challenges we still face. When it comes to issues such as smoking, alcohol dependence and air pollution, I applaud the strong emphasis on public health and prevention, along with the necessary reminder that responsibility for our own health does not belong solely to other people.

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We need to build communities as well as social housing – Bishop of Chelmsford

On 31st January 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Whitty, “that this House takes note of the case for a long-term commitment to increased provision of social housing to help to reduce housing costs, homelessness and housing benefit expenditure.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:

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Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for community mental health treatment for young people with learning difficulties

On 30th January 2019 the House of Lords debated a question from Baroness Tyler of Enfield, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent concerns expressed by general practitioners that children and young people with mental health problems are unable to access National Health Service treatments; and what steps they will take to address them.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, this is a very timely debate, and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, and congratulate her on securing it. We have heard some of the alarming statistics on children and young people with mental health needs, and we know that current NHS services are unable to meet this disturbing increase. In an ideal world, we would be asking ourselves why there should be such an increase—some of the reasons were mentioned by the noble Baronesses, Lady Chisholm and Lady Massey—and doing our best to tackle the causes rather than just attend to the consequences. But that is another debate.

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Bishop of Worcester highlights cultural and heritage losses of local council cuts

On 24th January 2019 the Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in a debate tabled by Lord Scriven, “That this House takes note of the ability of local authorities across the United Kingdom to deliver essential services to their communities.”

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I rise with a heavy heart to raise questions concerning the ability of local councils to deliver essential services to their communities. I welcome the prospect of increased short-term government funding but, without that being increased and continued or there being rises in council tax, whatever the rights and wrongs of that, I question whether it will be sufficient to enable councils to meet rising demand, especially in social care. That issue is of immense concern, but others have spoken eloquently about it.

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Bishop of Portsmouth – national crisis of poverty must be urgently tackled

On 21st January 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Stroud “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of metrics to measure United Kingdom poverty, in the light of the report from the Social Metrics Commission.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, Stalin, not often quoted on this Bench, is said to be the author of the maxim:

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”.

On that, and indeed on everything else, I disagree with the Marshal. A single person living in poverty is a tragedy; that millions do so is an affront to our values, our common decency and how we think of ourselves as a nation.

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Bishop of Chelmsford – why the Internet needs regulation

On 17th January 2019 Baroness Kidron led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion “that this House takes note of the relationship between the use of digital technology and the health and well-being of children and young people.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, an unregulated digital environment is causing moral decay. There is no time to reiterate the various harms that are being caused, but they are deep-seated, corrosive and pervasive. Just last week I was at a school in Essex talking to 7 to 11 year-olds about their use of a game called TikTok. All of them were using it. The lower age limit for using it is 13. As the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, pointed out, the digital world assumes that all users are equal and all users are adults, whereas in fact one-third of users worldwide are children. Therefore, their health, well-being and development require us to ensure that the internet, and the many ways that children access it, are as safe as they can be. This has usually meant creating special safe places for children or safety options that can be activated. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford – why the Internet needs regulation”