On 27th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Janke, “That this House takes note of the impact of recent benefit changes on vulnerable people.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, for her introduction to this important debate, which touches on a subject that is the responsibility of us all. We should acknowledge that there have been small though welcome attempts by the current Secretary of State to mitigate some of the injustices that have developed in the benefits system in recent years. But I urge that more radical remedial action is needed. In particular, urgent reconsideration is needed of the impact of the two-child limit—a policy which could eventually affect over 3 million children, pushing more than a million who are already in poverty into deeper material and emotional misery.
The introduction of the two-child limit represented a significant shift in social policy. It broke the long-standing principle, upheld by various Governments of all parties, that entitlement to benefits should be linked to need. In its place, no discernible alternative principle underlies the application of the two-child limit.
Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester calls for “unprincipled and harmful” two-child limit benefits policy to be scrapped”
On 27th June 2019 Lord Blunkett asked the Government “what is their estimate of the likely reduction in spend by higher education institutions in England on student teaching and contact time were the recommendations of the independent panel report to the Review into Post-18 Education and Funding implemented.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, any reduction in higher education funding is likely to have a particular impact not merely on teaching and student contact time but on the very future of smaller institutions, such as the Cathedrals Group universities. Does the Minister agree that, as the Government consider reforms, they need to take into account, first, the effect of those reforms on the diversity of the sector and, secondly, their impact on particular localities? Chichester, for example, is the only university in West Sussex. A threat to its funding would seriously damage its contribution to the regeneration of the disadvantaged coastal areas that it serves.
Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester asks Government to consider impact on smaller institutions and effect on local areas, of higher education funding changes”
On 25th June 2019 Lord Dubs asked the Government “how many unaccompanied child refugees have entered the United Kingdom since the beginning of 2016 under (1) section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 or (2) the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation”. The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, is the Minister aware of the recent report by the Church of England’s Children’s Society entitled DistressSignals, in which the mental health of unaccompanied children entering the UK for asylum was examined? The report notes that these children show a high risk of suicide and self-harm and find it extremely difficult to communicate their needs and fears to professionals. Does she recognise the value of these young people being assured and guaranteed access to a guardian—a respected, stable, safe and trained person—so that they can have the support they need?
Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester raises concerns about the mental health of unaccompanied child refugees”
On 24th June 2019 Lord Black of Brentwood asked the Government “what steps they are taking to address the decline in the number of students taking music A-level”. The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:
Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the decline in music A-level is part of a broader problem of social inequality in access to music itself and music education? Is it not time for the Government to reassess the persistent and growing evidence of the damaging effect of EBacc and the contribution of music through other routes such as BTEC in broadening access to our leading conservatoires, and to adjust the disproportionate bursary funding that allows £9,000 to music graduates but up to £32,000 to graduates in other subjects, in spite of recognition that music is vital to sustaining the creative industries in our country?
Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester puts decline in students taking A-Level music down to social inequality”
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Singh, for his patient and insightful speech and to the noble Lord, Lord Sheikh, for securing this debate. As a Christian minister, I hope that I can contribute with humility and sensitivity in this vital matter.
On 19th December 2018 the Bishop of Chichester introduced four Church of England Measures to the House of Lords for approval. The House passed the Measures after a short debate and so they were granted Royal Assent on 20th December . The House of Commons had previously passed the Measures on 11th December.
Moved by the Lord Bishop of Chichester
That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Ecumenical Relations Measure, the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure, the Church Property Measure and the Church of England Pensions Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, the four Measures before us deal with significant areas of the Church of England’s life in ways that strengthen, update or consolidate her mission. Continue reading “Lords approves four Church of England Measures, on property, pensions, ecumenism and miscellaneous”
On December 19th 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Moynihan, “That this House takes note of how sport, recreation, and the arts contribute to wellbeing of society.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for introducing the debate and for his magnificent speech, which covered so many areas which indicate how transformative sport can be—in ways that I think the arts can mirror.
This Christmas very large numbers will attend carol services in churches across the country. Church of England statistics for 2017 indicate that nearly 8 million people attended a Christmas service of some kind, drawn by a combination of music, architectural environment and the drama of liturgy—a topical example of the arts and social well-being in the bringing together of practising Christians and others who find that this celebration of Christmas breaches barriers and creates community and a deep sense of belonging and well-being. Of course, this experience is not only for those who are privileged but happens in our churches that serve the outer estates and areas of deprivation in our nation. Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester on how the arts contribute to the wellbeing of society”
On 17th December 2018 Lord Alderdice led a short debate on the question, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Commission on Religious Education Religion and Worldviews: the way forward, published in September; and whether they intend to publish any response”. The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, for securing this debate and for placing our understanding of how to be in the world as the foundation for this report, Religion and Worldviews: the way forward. A national plan for RE. The report has been widely welcomed by many who are committed to the best possible teaching of RE, including the Church of England’s education office. We are grateful to the very reverend John Hall for leading the commission that has produced the report. Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester calls for strengthening of Religious Education to improve religious literacy of teachers and students”
On 17th December 2018 Lord Balfe led a debate in the House of Lords on the question, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps, if any, they will take to prevent workers being dismissed from their jobs following diagnosis of a terminal illness.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, spoke in the debate that followed:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I greatly welcome this debate, and thank the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, for bring this important matter to our attention. I also welcome the TUC’s support of the courageous work of Jacci Woodcock in highlighting the issue, on the basis of her own experience.
As a trustee of the diocese of Chichester, I share responsibility for employing nearly 100 staff but also for the care of some 400 clergy. These clergy are office-holders, not employees, and many live in accommodation they occupy by virtue of their office. A terminal illness for one of those clergy, as for anybody else, carries the prospect of multiple concerns, but especially for those dependent on them. The loss of income and a home are primary concerns, alongside the personal challenges of failing health and dependence on others—often difficult for those more familiar with caring for others. The potential loss of their home goes right to the heart of the fear of death and the implications for a family—particularly if there are issues such as schooling and the future of children—that a terminal illness brings. When a family is most challenged, networks of social relationships are immensely sensitive. Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester on care and support for those in the workplace with a terminal illness”