Bishop of St Albans on the post-Brexit challenges for the NHS

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St Albans 2On 12th July 2017, Lord Warner led a short debate in the House of Lords on the question:  “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment have they made of the risks to NHS sustainability arising from the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union”. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, contributed to the debate.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for introducing this important topic for us this evening and for his helpful and comprehensive opening remarks.

Ensuring the sustainability of the NHS is undoubtedly a significant challenge, even before the potential consequences of Brexit are considered. The uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations has created significant stress for many working in already pressurised health and social care systems.

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Caroline Spelman raises plight of displaced Christians and religious minorities in Mosul, Iraq

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On 12th July 2017 the Secretary of State for International Development, Rt Hon Priri Patel MP, made a statement to the House of Commons about the humanitarian situation in Mosul, Iraq. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked a follow up question:

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): Mosul was home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the region, but religious minorities suffered dreadfully at the hands of ISIS. What can DFID do to ensure that such minorities are able to return to their place of origin? Continue reading

Bishop of St Albans asks Government to raise the case of Asia Bibi with Pakistan

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On 12th July 2017 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian detained in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the adjournment of Asia Bibi’s appeal, what representations, if any, they have made on her behalf to the government of Pakistan regarding reports that (1) there is a lack of information about when her appeal will be heard, and (2) that she is still being kept in solitary confinement. Continue reading

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about broadband in rural areas

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On 11th July 2017, Rt Rev. Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, asked Her Majesty’s Government “what proportion of the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund is expected to be available to support the provision of superfast broadband in hard to reach rural areas.” The full exchange is below, along with the follow-up questions asked by other Members:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Lord Ashton of Hyde) (Con): My Lords, the digital infrastructure investment fund aims to support industry investment in full fibre networks, which are the next generation of digital infrastructure. The Government are committing £400 million, which will be at least matched by private sector investments on the same terms. It will be up to the selected managers of the fund themselves to make investments.

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Bishop of Southwark asks about religious freedom in Turkey and confiscation of church property

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SouthwarkOn 11th July 2017 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to three questions on Turkey; on religious freedom, confiscation of church properties and the Hagia Sophia.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what assessment they have made of recent reports that the Turkish Governor of Mardin has confiscated some 60 properties, including churches, monasteries and cemeteries. Continue reading

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about humanitarian situation in Gaza

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southwark-20feb17On 11th July 2017 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received a written answer to a question on the supply of electricity in Palestine:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what steps they are taking to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, following the decision by the government of Israel to implement a request from the Palestinian Authority to reduce the flow of electricity supplies from Israel to Gaza. Continue reading

Bishop of Chelmsford praises Government work on modern slavery; urges partnership with churches

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On 11th July 2017 in response to a Government statement on the G20 in Hamburg, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell asked a question about the Government’s approach to human trafficking, highlighting church initiatives.

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Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords I thank the noble Baroness for the Statement and the Government’s continued commitment to tackling modern-day slavery. I am particularly grateful for the commitment to cultivate a radically new global and co-ordinated approach to this problem, which traps 46 million people in conditions that deprive them of their God-given dignity. Can the Minister give an assurance that they will put the victim at the centre of this new global approach and that it will enlist the support and help of the Churches’ global networks, which are already beginning to mobilise through the Santa Martha group and the Clewer initiative to condemn this abomination, which Pope Francis has rightly called a crime against humanity?

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