On 23rd July 2013, Lord Risby asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current social and economic situation in Lebanon. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question on what is being done to ease tensions between communities affected by the movement of refugees:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, Lebanese communities have shown incredible generosity in coping with refugees but the flow is reaching breaking point. Will the Minister accept that, in addition to providing support for refugees, more work should be done to alleviate tension between communities and to strengthen the resilience of host families?
Baroness Warsi: I completely agree with the right reverend Prelate that there has been a huge show of generosity and a real welcome from the Lebanese people. Noble Lords may be aware that the population of Lebanon is about 4 million. The number of registered refugees is 600,000 but it is estimated that the real number could be a lot higher—somewhere around 1 million. That is the equivalent of the whole of the Romanian population arriving on British shores over a very short period. A huge amount of pressure has been put on local resources, which has of course caused tensions. It is for that reason that we are supporting not just the refugee communities but the host communities as well.
On 22nd July 2013, Baroness Bakewell asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to encourage religiously selective schools to adopt more open admission policies. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: Does the Minister agree with the Secretary of State that Church of England schools are most often found in very challenging areas in our communities and provide excellent education? Would he encourage the expansion of religious schools of that kind in oversubscribed areas?
Lord Nash: Where we have areas of basic need, we are keen to encourage all comers to help us. I entirely agree with the right reverend Prelate about the performance of Church of England schools. Again, in respect of achieving five A* to C grades, including in English and maths, they score 62% versus 58%, and at level 4 of key stage 2 they score 82% as opposed to 78%. We would welcome expansion of these schools as they provide an excellent education.
On 4th June 2013, nine bishops took part in a division during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Crossbench Peer Lord Dear moved, as an amendment to the motion that the bill be now read a second time, to leave out from “that” to the end and insert “this House declines to give the bill a second reading”.
Nine bishops voted “content” with Lord Dear’s amendment. They were: the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Coventry, Exeter, Hereford, London and Winchester. A further five bishops attended but abstained from the vote. No bishops voted “not content.”
There were: Contents: 148 | Not Contents: 390 | Result: Government Win
On the 14th May 2013 Lord Dubs asked the Government a question about child poverty, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart asked a supplementary question regarding the ways in which the Government could close the gap.
On the 13th May 2013 the Bishop of Birmingham responded to the Queens Speech focusing on the areas of unemployment, business and the economy. The Bishop welcomed proposals for economic development and investment in transport which he hope would bring benefits to Birmingham and the wider region. He hoped the Government would tackle three areas, youth unemployment, personal debt and banking reform, quoting former Archbishop William Temple he urged the Government to “Give us the tools in the regions and we will finish the job”. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics”
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