Bishop of Worcester asks Government to work with citizens’ assemblies on plans for democratic reform

worcesterOn 14th January 2020 Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle asked the Government “what plans the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission has to engage with civil society”.  The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I have seen the disillusionment to which the Minister refers. Given that no plans have yet been made for exactly how the commission will work, as well as the success of citizens’ assemblies in Ireland and France in rebuilding trust in democratic institutions, might the Minister think it a good idea to involve such citizens’ assemblies in the commission’s work? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government to work with citizens’ assemblies on plans for democratic reform”

Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government to listen to Church commission on housing

19.01.09 abcOn 2nd July 2019 Lord Evans of Watford asked the Government “what steps they are taking to increase the number of homes for social rent”. The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, asked a follow-up question:

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for his point about social housing delivery. He is right that it has been a challenge for successive Governments. We have delivered 79,000 social homes since 2010, which, it has to be said, is better than the numbers achieved in the previous nine years. In relation to his point about garden villages, we had previously announced 29 and last week we announced another 19. That is significant. It includes providing a special community village for dementia-friendly housing, which again is very good news, and I hope that that will also feed into the discussions that we are having about modern methods of construction.

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome very much that last answer. In that connection I declare an interest, in that I have set up a commission to look into the housing crisis and the contribution that can be made by civil society and particularly the Churches. It comprises a former Permanent Secretary and a huge number of significant experts. One of the commission’s earliest priorities is to look at how we create communities rather than simply build houses. That means that there is a need for multipurpose community facilities and for looking at the sociological aspects as well as the mere physical construction. Will the Minister undertake to listen to the representations from that and similar inquiries over the next 18 months to two years?

Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government to listen to Church commission on housing”

Bishop of Derby on the meaning and cost of citizenship

On 12th June 2018 the House of Lords debated the motion ‘That this House regrets that the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2018 include a £39 increase in the fee for registering children entitled to British citizenship, given that only £372 of the proposed £1,012 fee is attributable to administrative costs; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to withdraw the fee increase until they have (1) published a children’s best interests impact assessment of the fee level, and (2) established an independent review of fees for registering children as British citizens, in the light of the report of the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement (HL Paper 118) (SI 2018/330)’. The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate: 

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I support the Motion of the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, and associate myself with the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Alton. I will not go into the mathematics—which are very simple, in a way—but I invite the Minister to help us understand the Government’s role in dealing with citizenship. This is about citizenship, not immigration, although sometimes they are linked. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on the meaning and cost of citizenship”

Bishop of Portsmouth asks about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

On 22nd May the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd  Christopher Foster, received written answers to three questions about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to publish the consultation on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about the UK Shared Prosperity Fund”

Bishop of Derby speaks about importance to democracy of charities, trade unions and civil society

Derby 191115cOn 8th September 2016 Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town led a debate in the Lords: “That this House takes note of the role that charities, trade unions and civil society groupings play in a democracy, including the provision of advice and information to government, and of the case for regulating lobbying activities, including those undertaken by business and private interests.”

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alistair Redfern contributed to the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, want to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, and I want, in the nicest possible way, to take for granted what she said, because it was very important and I agree with it absolutely. I want to invite us to look at the last three words, “in a democracy”, as a very important context for this discussion and debate, not least for the role of charities, trade unions and civil society.

Democracy works through two very important elements. One, of course, is the offer of ideas and suggestions about what to do to best order society. It is about answers to problems. The lobbying industry and the contribution that charities make to that, as the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries, and the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, and others have shown, is very important—

“From our experience, here is the answer to this kind of question”. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks about importance to democracy of charities, trade unions and civil society”

Bishop of Derby speaks in debate on local democracy

On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Shipley “that this House takes note of local democracy in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.

Derby 191115cLord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, it is a great privilege on behalf of the House to welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, and to thank her for an expert and excellent speech—a great harbinger of what she will bring to the House.

 I feel connected with all the maiden speeches today. I was once Bishop of Spalding and worked with great joy in the area of South Holland, where the noble Lord, Lord Porter, was leader of the district council, and I had the privilege of serving with the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, on a Select Committee, so it is good to welcome both of them too. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks in debate on local democracy”

Bishop of Durham praises local partnerships in the north east

On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Shipley “that this House takes note of local democracy in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate about the local authorities in the Durham diocese and partnership work with voluntary and civil society organisations.

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, on his excellent maiden speech and I look forward to listening to other maiden speeches later. What right does a bishop have to say anything about local democracy? Let me give some quick history. I was a curate in Wandsworth in the 1980s when the borough became either a cause celebre or something else, depending on how you thought about it. I then moved to the London Borough of Newham and experienced a democratically elected autocracy that avoided dictatorship because of the extremely fine leadership of Stephen Timms, who now, of course, serves as an MP in the other place. I then moved to the London Borough of Waltham Forest and worked both as team rector and as area dean on issues of social cohesion, through creating an interfaith project and through working on children’s and young people’s issues and on housing and homelessness. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham praises local partnerships in the north east”

Bishop of Southwark praises contribution of ethnic minorities to public services and faith communities

“we should think long and hard before we endorse immigration policies that will only put the cohesion of our public services at risk.” – Bishop of Southwark, 6/7/15

On Monday the 6th July 2015 the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in a debate about the contribution of Britain’s ethnic minorities to faith communities and public institutions in the United Kingdom. The Bishop spoke about the role played by the Church, his congregations in Southwark and the public debate on immigration.

Bp Southwark May 2015The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, for securing this debate, as it enables us rightly to recognise the vast contribution made by Britain’s ethnic minorities both in public service and in faith communities. It was good to hear the noble Baroness speak of south London. In view of the time constraints I wish to make a brief observation and a broader comment. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark praises contribution of ethnic minorities to public services and faith communities”

Bishop of Rochester on the role of churches, voluntary and community groups in building the common good

On 11th June 2015 the Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke during the House of Lords debate on the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter for the 2015 General Election. The text is below and the speeches of others in the debate can be read here

Bishop of RochesterThe Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans for initiating this debate, and the opportunity to reflect on the House of Bishops’ pastoral letter, which, although issued in the context of an election, was written in the hope that it would provide an ongoing stimulus to thinking and reflecting on the shape of our society and the kind of society that we wish to be. Not least, it will provide something of a challenge to the churches, to which it is primarily addressed, but to others also, to discover afresh something that is a treasure and very much part of our story. Reference has been made to Magna Carta, and as Bishop of Rochester I would be remiss not to remind noble Lords of the existence of the Textus Roffensis, which predates the Magna Carta, although it is not quite so long, and which also merits celebration. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on the role of churches, voluntary and community groups in building the common good”

Bishop of St Albans leads debate on civil society, the common good and the Bishops’ General Election pastoral letter

“I am convinced that there is urgent work to be done to establish a new politics that seeks the common good. Indeed, I am keen that we will be able to explore the forms that such an approach to politics might take and the role that churches, charities and voluntary organisations, and indeed all intermediate institutions, can play in moving us in that direction.” – Bishop of St Albans, 11/6/15

On the 11th June 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a House of Lords debate on the pastoral letter of the House of Bishops for the General Election of 2015. The debate was titled:

‘That this House takes note of the role played by civil society, in the light of the pastoral letter from the Church of England’s House of Bishops, Who is my neighbour?’

The Bishop’s speech is below in full, along with his closing remarks and links to the speeches of the other 16 participants.The speech and subsequent debate can also be watched here.

Bishop St Albans June 2015The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, there is much in our nation for which we can be profoundly grateful. Next week, as we mark 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta, we give thanks for the long, yet sometimes tortuous, path that has led us to becoming a modern democracy. That moment was if not the birth then perhaps at least the conception of civil society at the beginning of a long gestation.

Last month, we celebrated 70 years of peace since the end of the Second World War, by which time civil society as we know it today was coming of age. As a nation, we have experienced extraordinary levels of economic growth over recent decades. Life expectancy has increased significantly and, importantly for this debate, in many communities in our nations, civil society is still strong and thriving. I for one am immensely grateful to be living in modern Britain and do not want to give any time to sentimental talk about a bygone era that probably never existed. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on civil society, the common good and the Bishops’ General Election pastoral letter”