On 13th May 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on aid to Sri Lanka and on persecution of Christians in African countries:
On the 3rd July 2017, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton contributed to Baroness D’Souza’s debate: That this House takes note of the case for measuring the impact of the United Kingdom’s development aid budget. In a wide-ranging speech, the Bishop spoke of the importance of guarding against thinking about aid spending simply as a financial investment.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, for initiating this debate on such a very important and topical issue.
As no doubt we will hear from other speakers, the UK is known around the world as a leader in international development. It has achieved great results during the past two decades. I have no doubt of the importance of the case for measuring the impact of our development aid. I want to underline that case and also, perhaps more importantly for me, to ensure that we try to measure the right things if we can and do not understand aid only as a financial investment which can be measured simply in financial terms. I fear that too many people in our debate will go immediately from talking about aid to talking about money and finances rather than going back and thinking about what the word “development” might mean. It seems that development is in itself a fascinating idea in our world today with perhaps an assumption that other countries are less developed than we are. We must be careful about the assumptions and presuppositions we make when we use the word.
On 21st March 2017, Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the present state of public health in the Occupied Territories of Palestine; and the prospects for agreed international action, in particular action by Israel, to keep the Gaza Strip habitable. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines asked a supplementary question about direct aid from the UK to particular hospitals.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds My Lords, does the Minister agree that the health sector in the Gaza Strip is really on life support and that while the blockade remains and while there is a lack of public water, this will continue? Does he see any way of encouraging direct aid from the United Kingdom towards particular hospitals? There are two Anglican hospitals, for example, serving the whole community, often free of charge: the Al Ahli Arab Hospital; and the Al-Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital, which has had to be relocated because of damage to St Luke’s Hospital in Nablus. These are beacons of hope in a fairly desperate place. Is there a way of enabling direct funding there as we continue to urge an end to the blockade? Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about direct aid to hospitals in Gaza strip”
“If we do nothing, we will see the gap between London and the regions continue to widen to the detriment of the whole country. I urge the Government and this House to address this problem with imagination, courage and vigour” – Bishop of Sheffield
On 27th March Peers debated the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget statement. The Bishop of Sheffield spoke of the need to rebalance the economy so that the proceeds of renewed economic growth could be shared across the regions. He suggested this could be the task of a cross-party parliamentary commission.
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, the prophet Jeremiah wrote a short but remarkable letter to his contemporaries long ago who had been sent into exile in Babylon. The letter has shaped Jewish and Christian thought on how communities of faith should engage with the wider society down all the generations since. The prophet’s advice is to,
“seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you … for in its welfare you will find your welfare”.
“There is much to welcome in today’s Budget announcement, not least the news that economic growth is strengthening, the long awaited transferable tax allowance for married couples, and the new funds to help restore the fabric of some our nation’s great cathedrals.
The increasingly confident economic outlook is good news. The crucial challenge will be to ensure that the stewardship of the economy takes into account the need for those at the lower end of the income scale or at the margins of society to share fully in the proceeds of growth.
The reaffirmation by the Chancellor of our country’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our national income on overseas development assistance is an important demonstration of our national commitment to those in the greatest need. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham Responds to the Budget”