Academy Chains & Inspection: Bishop of Chester Question

Baroness Hughes of Stretford asked Her Majesty’s Government, following the decision to remove 10 academies from the E-ACT Academy chain, what action they are taking to ensure that other chains are managing schools satisfactorily.

The Bishop of Chester asked a supplementary question.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I should like to return to the issue of inspection. In as much as the multichain bodies are involved in the governance of all the academies in their chain, and Ofsted inspects governance, why does Ofsted not also inspect the chains themselves?

Lord Nash: Ofsted looks at the support that chains are giving to their schools, and we have a very tight grip on the governance of all the chains. We have been in discussions with 50 chains to strengthen their governance arrangements


Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill – Report Stage Amendments

The Government’s Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill had its Report Stage in the House of Lords on 4th March 2014. The Bishop of Chester spoke to Amendment 1 and Amendment 7. He and the Bishop of Peterborough took part in a Division on Amendment 1. The Bishop’s speeches are below, with links to respective sections of Hansard on the Uk Parliament website where the speeches can be seen in the context of the debate.

Amendment 1 – Licensing of gambling companies


Amendment One (Baroness Howe of Idlicote) sought to “give the Gambling Commission a discretionary power to block financial transactions between people living in the UK and online gambling websites that have not secured a UK Gambling Commission licence”.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I want to associate myself fully with the remarks just made by the noble Lord, Lord Browne, and with the powerful and comprehensive speech made by the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, in introducing the amendment. Continue reading “Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill – Report Stage Amendments”

Sikhs and Golden Temple, Amritsar: Bishop of Coventry’s Written Question

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings they have had or are intending to have with Sikh organisations in the United Kingdom following the publication of the Cabinet Secretary’s report on the Indian operation at Sri Harmandir Sahib Continue reading “Sikhs and Golden Temple, Amritsar: Bishop of Coventry’s Written Question”

Cost of Family Breakdown: Bishop of Chester Question to Government

The Bishop of Chester asked Her Majesty’s Government: what is their estimate of the cost of family and relationship breakdown to the welfare budget.

After the Minister’s reply, he followed up with a supplementary question.

Lord Freud: My Lords, I am unable to give an official figure. A number of organisations have produced estimates—for example, the Relationships Foundation, at £45 billion-odd—but there is no consensus. The social security spend on lone parents and collecting child maintenance is just under £9 billion, but we must acknowledge that there are wider societal costs. Government have an important role to play in supporting families and working to ensure stable futures for children.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, if the figure of £45 billion or £46 billion given by the Relationships Foundation is even remotely accurate, that illustrates the cost of family and relational breakdown, which cashes out at about £1,500 each year for each taxpayer in our country. What more do the Government propose to do to support and strengthen family life and relationships in our country, which must somewhere include supporting the institution of marriage? Continue reading “Cost of Family Breakdown: Bishop of Chester Question to Government”

Bishop of St Albans Raises Impact of Floods on Food Security

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to improve flood defences in agricultural areas.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

My Lords, the noble Lord will be only too aware of the huge contribution that British agriculture makes to food security. Could he therefore tell us what assessment Her Majesty’s Government have made concerning the risk to food security due to poorly planned flooding amelioration and prevention schemes, which are allowing considerable areas of high-grade agricultural land to be taken out of production due to flooding?

Lord De Mauley:

I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for coming to see me the other day to talk about these things. There is currently no evidence that flood events such as those experienced in 2007, 2009 or 2012—or, so far, in recent events—represent a threat to food security in the United Kingdom. According to the UK food security assessment, the UK enjoys a high level of food security as a developed, stable economy. I think it is more likely that disruption to transport links could impact access to food supplies, but we are watching this carefully.


Rural Affairs: Church Commissioners’ Written Answer

Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a written question from Anne McIntosh MP about rural affairs.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, when he last met the Rural Affairs Group of the Church of England.
Sir Tony Baldry: I have not att14.01 CCQ Baldryended a meeting of the Rural Affairs Group of the Church of England. I am kept fully informed about the relevant issues concerning the committee when needed by the National Rural Officer and the Church of England’s Parliamentary Unit.


Bishop of Chester Pays Tribute to Reading Clerk

The House of Lords marked the retirement of its Reading Clerk with tributes paid by each of the benches. The Bishop of Chester spoke on behalf of the Lords Spiritual.

Moved by The Lord Speaker: That this House do approve the appointment by the Lord Speaker, pursuant to the Clerk of the Parliaments Act 1824, of Mr Simon Peter Burton to be Reading Clerk on the retirement of Mr Rhodri Havard Walters.

The Lord Bishop of Chester:

My Lords, I want to associate these Benches with all the remarks made so far. I think that Rhodri Walters introduced more than 200 Members into the House, including the rare distinction of introducing the Archbishop of Canterbury twice—first as Bishop of Durham and then as Archbishop of Canterbury. He may have been able to deal with the Letters Patent in his sleep, except that when a Bishop comes along he is liable to trip up the Reading Clerk as it is a different form of words.

Perfectionist that Rhodri was, three or four weeks ago, when the first of the current flood of new Bishops arrived, he said to me, with a fallen face, “I don’t think I have got it quite right”. I do not think that anyone else had noticed anything other than perfection because he was a perfectionist—a perfectionist in the parliamentary choir and in every aspect of his life. There was always a particular resonance between the Bishops and Rhodri because he is used to looking after bishops as he is a church warden of one of the parishes here in London. As a good church warden, he forgave us our sins when we did not do exactly as we were told.