Church Commissioners’ Question Time, 10 March 2022

On 10th March 2022 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, freedom of religion or belief overseas, family hubs, supporting Ukrainian refugees, affordable housing, the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and the Commissioners’ Scottish landholdings.

Global Summit: Freedom of Religion or Belief

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) (Con): What role the Church of England has in supporting the global summit to promote freedom of religion or belief, to be hosted by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in July 2022. (905957)

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church is making every effort to support that important summit to promote freedom of religion or belief. A debate was held on the lack of global religious freedom at last month’s General Synod and I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce), in her capacity as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, was able to brief Synod members on the huge cost of following Jesus in many parts of the world.

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Bishop of Rochester responds to Chancellor’s Budget Statement

On 18th March 2020 the House of Lords debated the Budget Statement made the previous week by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester:  My Lords, as many have already observed, this Budget comes in extraordinarily unusual circumstances, and in relation to the issues around Covid-19, subsequent to the Budget announcement, the Chancellor has brought forward a number of measures which have been largely well received, and no doubt others will need to follow. While voluntary action in our communities will form much of the day-to-day response to those who are the most vulnerable and potentially isolated across our nation, the sustaining of public services and of businesses is vital for both our social and economic well-being; other speakers have already begun to address some of those issues.​

Following the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury is always a risky business, and other noble Lords have already spoken with considerable knowledge of these matters, so I shall focus my remarks on one or two specific issues and areas which were already matters of concern, and where that concern is perhaps greater because of the circumstances in which we now find ourselves.

On children and young people, I hugely welcome the long-overdue extension of higher-rate housing benefit for care leavers until the age of 25, thus giving stability in their accommodation beyond their 22nd birthday. This is something that the Church of England organisation the Children’s Society and other charities have campaigned for over some time, and it is most welcome. Also welcome is the £2.5 million for research on family hubs. However, what is not in the provisions of the Budget or subsequent provisions is sufficient funding to address the urgent need for every child to achieve a good start in life, and that is becoming more urgent in the light of the current circumstances. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester responds to Chancellor’s Budget Statement”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol

On 28thsouthwark-20feb17 February 2018, Lord Rennard asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the costs benefit to the National Health Service and police of introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question: 

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the report of the University of Sheffield referred to earlier said that the top 30% of drinkers consume 80% of all alcohol consumed, as measured in pure ethanol; and that, of the beer sold in supermarkets, a disproportionately high amount is sold on promotion—and much of that well below 50p per unit. Does the Minister agree that a floor in the unit price of alcohol would help to yield a more orderly, content and healthy society by bearing down on demand?
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Bishop of Bristol asks if Government is rethinking minimum unit pricing for alcohol

Bristol160226 cOn 6th December 2016, Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked the Government, “in the light of the findings of the review by Public Health England on the consequences of alcohol abuse, whether they will implement minimum unit pricing of alcohol.” The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a follow up question.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol My Lords, my understanding was that the Government’s view not long ago was that they had a problem with minimum unit pricing on the basis that it would unfairly impact moderate drinking. From what the noble Baroness said this afternoon, do I detect that the Government have changed their mind and that they are seriously looking at minimum unit pricing?

Bishop of St Albans asks Government to consider removing incentives to bulk buying of alcohol

St Albans 2On 5th July 2016 Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty’s Government “when they expect Public Health England to publish its independent evidence-based report on alcohol”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, back in 2011 the Scottish Government passed legislation which meant that there was no financial advantage in multibuy alcohol purchases so that each can or whatever it was would be the same price. That has discouraged the bulk buying of alcohol and as a consequence has reduced levels of harmful drinking. Have Her Majesty’s Government considered a similar law, and if not, why not? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to consider removing incentives to bulk buying of alcohol”

Drink driving – questions from the Bishop of St Albans

On 17th December 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith received answers to two written questions, on lowering the drink-drive limit:

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.[HL3742] Continue reading “Drink driving – questions from the Bishop of St Albans”

Bishop of Lichfield responds to the Queens Speech addressing Imigarion, Asylum & Home Affairs

14.03.27 Bishop of LichfieldOn the 9th May 2013 the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill spoke in the debate responding to the Queen’s Speech. Bishop Jonathan addressed the areas of immigration and asylum reform along with a range of other areas relating to his interests in Home Affairs. Concluding his remarks the bishop reminded the House of the importance of ensuring a unified society, adopting polices which do not disproportionately impact those least able to make choices for themselves.

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