Energy Bill: Bishop of Carlisle calls for more community-led energy generation

On 19th July 2022 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Energy Bill at its Second Reading:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I take many of the cogent and very well-informed points that have already been made in this debate, not least the one made by the noble Lord, Lord Howell, on the need for international co-operation. Even so, I welcome all three pillars of this Bill. Its stated direction could offer at least a step forward towards the goal of net-zero carbon.

I suggest in particular two rather domestic but, I hope, practical areas that could, in my view, do with further development in the Bill; namely, local renewable energy generation, as raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, and carbon capture, which has been addressed by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, and the noble Baroness, Lady Sheehan.

In both cases, I hope noble Lords will forgive special reference to Cumbria, where I live. It is currently engulfed in a very contentious debate about the Woodhouse Colliery near Whitehaven that is not nearly as straightforward as it might first appear. Cumbria also has the “energy coast”—originally coal, then nuclear and now, increasingly, renewables. It has the Walney Extension offshore wind farm, which has more than 20% of the UK’s wind farm generating capacity. What is more, as a county, we have more than 50% of all the potential small-scale hydropower generation in the north-west.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks about flexible working for carers

The Bishop of Carlisle asked the following question on 19th July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, we are all aware of the huge contribution to the nation’s health and economy made by unpaid carers, including those who combine caring responsibilities with other paid employment.

This issue is currently being explored by both the Select Committee of your Lordships’ House and an Archbishops’ Commission. Does the Minister agree that, whenever possible, as well as paid or unpaid leave, flexible working arrangements for those with caring responsibilities are in everybody’s best interests?

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Schools Bill: Bishop of Carlisle supports amendments on regulation of home schooling

The Bishop of Carlisle spoke in a debate on the Schools Bill in its second day of Report Stage, on 18th July 2022, in support of amendments on home schooling and the home school register. His speech is below, followed by those of other peers:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I speak on behalf of my right reverend friend the Bishop of St. Albans, who has two amendments in his name, 

Amendments 66 and 94. His name is also listed on Amendments 65 and 66A, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Lucas.

Amendments 65, 66 and 66A continue to take issue with the proposals for details of the means by which a child is being educated to be included on the register. Amendment 66 would replace this with a determination of suitability, and provide for visits by the local authority for determining that suitability to be recorded. However, further to communication with the Department for Education and the Minister, we understand that their interpretation of the word “means” does not relate to the educational content or methods of home educating but simply to the providers of the education, since separate rules for registration will pertain to out-of-school education. We have been informed that this framework will be set out in the future statutory guidance. This is a much more positive interpretation than had previously been supposed, but if this is the interpretation I am not sure why it could not have been contained within the primary legislation rather than prescribed at a later date. Amendment 66A, from the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, would naturally resolve that problem.

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Bishop of Carlisle on Her Majesty the Queen’s faithfulness

The Bishop of Carlisle received asked the following question on 18th July 2022, in response to a question from Lord Farmer about whether Her Majesty the Queen might be given the additional title ‘the Faithful’ :

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Farmer. I declare my interest as Clerk of the Closet, an office of service to the Crown dating back to the 15th century. At her coronation, the Queen first gave her allegiance to God before anyone came forward to give their allegiance to her.

Does the Minister agree that the generous, hospitable and open interpretation by Her Majesty of that duty to people of all faiths and none, over so many years, is not only a foundation stone of our constitution but a reason to feel all the more thankful for the lifelong service Her Majesty has given?

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Social Security Bill: Bishop of Carlisle speaks in debate

On 24th May 2022, the house debated the Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill in its second reading. The Bishop of Carlisle spoke in support of the bill, mentioning caveats relating to palliative care and prognoses. The Bill was committed to a grand committee.

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, from these Benches I am glad to be able to support the Bill, which is welcomed by so many charities and which will bring relief to so many anxious families. It seems to have four significant strengths, the first being clarity. The rules surrounding benefits and healthcare at the end of life are confusing and not always easy to navigate. The Bill goes some way towards making things simpler and more straightforward both for people who are terminally ill and for their families, and that has to be a good thing.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks about children’s social care

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question on 24th May 2022, during a debate on the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, as we have already heard, much is to be welcomed in this review, which clearly has the needs of vulnerable children and young people right at its core. The emphasis on boosting early help to prevent children reaching a crisis point is crucial.

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Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill: Bishop of Carlisle supports amendment to prevent use of children as covert agents

On 3rd December 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill 2020 at its Committee Stage. The Bishop of Durham had co-sponsored two amendments aimed at restricting or regulating the use of children as covert agents. The Bishop of Carlisle spoke in his place, in support of the amendments. As is usual practice they were withdrawn after debate and may be returned to at a later stage:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I speak in support of Amendment 43, in the names of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, the noble Lord, Lord Young, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Chakrabarti and Lady Bull, and Amendment 60, in the names of the noble Baronesses, Lady Young and Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy of Southwark. As we have heard, both concern the treatment of children.

We should not for a moment underestimate some of the evils in our society that the Government and the forces of law and order are tasked with confronting. Some of those evils involve the abuse of children and vulnerable people, including, as we know, the scourge of county lines drug gangs, sexual predators and traffickers. It does not take much imagination to see how, as a result of this, there is a periodic temptation to use children as covert assets. We must clearly guard against that temptation; as we have already been reminded, our first duty must be to the care and well-being of children. This applies all the more to children who find themselves in vulnerable and harmful situations, such as those used and abused by criminal gangs.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks about access to Child Trust Funds

On 3rd December 2020 during questions in the Lords on access to Child Trust Funds, the Bishop of Carlisle asked about provision for those who have learning disabilities but may also have life-limiting conditions:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, does the Minister agree that some children with learning disabilities who want to access trust funds might have life-limiting conditions? There might not be much time available for legal processes to be gone through. Can she assure the House that, if such situations have not already been considered, they will be given the attention that they deserve?

Bishop of Carlisle asks about access to affordable cancer treatments in developing countries

On 30th November 2020 questions were put in the House of Lords on vaccine distribution. The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, for obvious reasons we have focused largely on equal access to vaccines but, given the broader significance and implications of this Oral Question on affordable drugs and the fact that Global Cancer Week took place earlier this month, are any negotiations currently taking place on access to affordable cancer treatments, especially in developing countries? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks about access to affordable cancer treatments in developing countries”

Bishop of Carlisle calls for Lords select committee to deliver cross-party plan for social care

On 28th October Lord Young of Cookham asked the Government “when they will publish their proposals for the reform of social care.” The Bishop of Carlisle asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given the long delay in the publication of proposals for the reform of social care, the impact of Covid-19 on carers and care homes, and the implications of reform for the future of the NHS—not to mention the political sensitivity and complexity of the subject, which has been referred to—does the Minister agree that the best way to achieve the cross-party consensus to which he just referred would be through an ad hoc Lords Select Committee, as already proposed from these Benches? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle calls for Lords select committee to deliver cross-party plan for social care”

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