On 7th January 2014, Lord Horam asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made with the Troubled Families Programme.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that there is a considerable body of research and expertise pointing to the vital importance of relationship support in strengthening families? As there are no specific references to family relationships or positive family dynamics in the progress report, will she ask the Troubled Families programme to prioritise such support in the next phase of its work?
On January 7th 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds spoke in favour of an amendment to the Government’s Children and Families Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendment, moved by Crossbench Peer Lord Rix, sought to place the duty of social care provision with the responsible local authority. Following assurances from the Minister, Lord Rix withdrew the amendment. The Government amendments on this topic, tabled at Third Reading, were warmly welcomed by Lord Rix and subsequently accepted as part of the Bill.
On 7th January 2014, the Bishop of Lichfield received an answer to a written question on freedom of religion in Malaysia.
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made representations to the government of Malaysia to help ensure that Christians in that country can continue to worship following the recent Malaysian Court of Appeal ruling that only Muslims may call God “Allah”, given that Malaysian Christians call God “Allah” in their worship and bible translations.
“As part of their mission to the communities they serve and as part of their mission as the national Church, thousands of parish churches around the country play an active role in their local community, including by running food banks, the majority of which have been set up in the past two years.”
On 18th December 2013, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, took part in a debate on food banks in the House of Commons. He spoke about existing research that had been undertaken by church-based organisations into the use of food banks, and updated the House on the Church of England’s research project with Oxfam, in partnership with the Trussell Trust and Church Action on Poverty, on the causes of food bank use and what can be done to remedy it.
On 17th December 2013, Lord Clark of Windermere asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in implementing the recommendations of the report of the Independent Panel on Forestry.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, as Her Majesty’s Government will be aware, there are several very serious diseases affecting trees in this country. What steps are being taken to ensure that, with the reorganisation of the responsibilities of the Forestry Commission, this important disease prevention, control and elimination work will not only continue but be strengthened?
On 12th December 2013, the Bishop of Leicester took part in a debate in the House of Lords, led by Lord Norton of Louth, on the size of the House of Lords.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, this House owes a debt to the noble Lord, Lord Norton, for his assiduous work towards creating a more effective second Chamber. As usual, he has today rehearsed very clearly and effectively the case for reducing its size.
It seems to me that the challenge is clear. In spite of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord True, there is surely overwhelming agreement with the fundamental proposition that this House is too large. The question, therefore, is to find ways not just of agreeing with the principle of creating a smaller House, but to give effect to it. In that sense, this debate is part of a wider discussion upon which hangs the reputation and credibility of the political class.
“The risks inherent in legalising assisted suicide still outweigh the benefits that might accrue” – Bishop of Chester
On 12th December 2013, the Bishop of Chester spoke in Lord Dubs’ debate on patient choice at the end of life, calling on the Government to resist changing the law to legalise assisted suicide. The Bishop of Sheffield also made his maiden speech in the debate, which can be read here.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I join other Members of the House in welcoming the reinforcements to the Bishops’ Benches. I will make three brief points in my contribution, the first of which does not have a direct connection with assisted suicide. We typically have long waiting lists today for transplantation surgery in this country, due to an absence of an adequate supply of donated organs. I hope that we will do as much as we can, and more, to encourage people to carry organ donation consent cards and to engender a culture in society in which transplantation and donation of organs are encouraged, especially for those whose death comes in an untimely and unchosen way. This is a matter of choice at the point of death, as are the things that we are discussing in the main part of this debate.
“The ministry of chaplains in our hospitals and hospices remains a vital part of end-of-life care. Chaplains are present to minister to those of all faiths and of none. They are drawn, of course, from every faith. They are present to offer spiritual support to the dying and to the bereaved, to patients and staff. They are a vital part of the team in end-of-life care as a specialist resource, as experts able to offer training to colleagues and as a point of referral in moments of crisis” – The Bishop of Sheffield
On 12th December 2013, the Bishop of Sheffield made his maiden speech in a debate on patient choice at the end of life. The Bishop of Chester also spoke in the debate, and his speech can be read here.