Bishop of Chichester highlights impact on UK arts of EU withdrawal

On 11th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Bragg, “That this House takes note of the impact on the arts of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, for the opportunity to consider the vital and pressing question of the impact that Brexit will have on the arts, in which we are internationally recognised as a world-class leader.

The arts can be misrepresented as an elitist and London-centric field. That view should neither pass unchallenged nor be allowed to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is a complex but demonstrable link between the arts and tourism, which in 2016 contributed £66 billion to the national economy. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, ALVA, has noted that across the tourism industry there has already been a fall in the number of EU workers, resulting in staff shortages and the use of staff who lack essential skills. ALVA has called for tourism to be considered favourably ​by government in any arrangement that would allow certain industry sectors to have preferential access to EU labour markets. Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester highlights impact on UK arts of EU withdrawal”

Bishop of St Albans calls for new social contract to address low pay and poor working conditions

On 11th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Haskel, ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of proposals for greater employee shareholding and participation in corporate governance.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, for securing this debate. With such limited time, I shall make just a few comments about the purposes of business in general and then to make one or two observations about the very specific themes raised in the debate.​

All too often, business and commerce are viewed as though their main aim was simply to make the most money possible. This rather reductionist view of business fails to take into account wider questions raised in Christian theology, as well as by many others, such as how everyone can contribute to the common good, issues of justice and fairness, and particularly the sort of values we wish to celebrate and promote as a society. The best businesses, I believe, are those that balance the need to make money with a high priority on the flourishing and thriving of their workforce and a concern for human dignity. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for new social contract to address low pay and poor working conditions”

Church Commissioners – Corporate Engagement

On 11th October 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Frank Field MP on corporate engagement:

Frank Field (Birkenhead): To ask the Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, which AGMs the Commissioners have attended in relation to companies in which shares are held by the Commissioners in each of the last three years. Continue reading “Church Commissioners – Corporate Engagement”

Bishop of Durham asks about future of Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme

On 10th October 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer on the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to announce any resettlement commitment through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme beyond 2020; and if so, when. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about future of Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme”

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression

On Tuesday 9th October 2018 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate to seek assurances on freedom of thought and expression: 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, first I too want to say how much I am looking forward to the maiden speeches of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, and the noble Lord, Lord Tyrie. The noble ​Lord, Lord Tyrie, will be well acquainted with these Benches, having worked closely with my most reverend brother the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which the noble Lord so ably chaired.

In opening this debate, the Minister spoke powerfully and movingly about the terrible consequences of terror, the effect on people’s lives, the suffering that is lifelong for people. It is in this context that I broadly welcome the Bill. I certainly recognise the difficulty of drafting and steering this kind of legislation. It is to walk something of a tightrope, as described by the noble Lord, Lord Marks. The current national security situation is complex, as is seen so sharply in our news headlines this morning. At Second Reading, I would like us to stay alert to that tightrope we walk, to proportionality and, perhaps especially, to the danger of unintended consequences. Continue reading “Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government how often it has sought death penalty assurances for British nationals

On 9th October 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on death penalty assurances for British or former British citizens:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statement by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 24 July, how many times in the last 20 years they have decided not to seek death penalty assurances for British or former British citizens; and what were the details of any such cases. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government how often it has sought death penalty assurances for British nationals”

Bishop of St Albans asks about visas for seasonal agricultural workers to meet harvest need

StAlbansRoMB3On 24th September 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government to a question on seasonal agricultural workers:

The Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to provide visas for seasonal agricultural workers and to ensure that there will be a sufficient number of such workers to meet harvest need. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about visas for seasonal agricultural workers to meet harvest need”