On 1st July Lord Bradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to address the impact of theCOVID-19 pandemic on mental health”. The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, asked a follow up question focusing on mental health care for care workers.
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, the Government are providing NHS staff with free access to online therapy and group counselling sessions, among other things, which is much needed and very welcome. Can the Minister say whether the same quality of care, recognition and access to mental health support is being given to parts of the social care sector such as nursing homes, care homes and home care workers, who have faced similar traumatic experiences to those of NHS staff?
On 30th June there was a repeat of an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on support and accommodation for Asylum Seekers during Covid-19. The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing onsupporting vulnerable people with wrap around care.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, vulnerability assessments are so important. There are questions about when they happen and the need for them to be ongoing and serious. There is also a question about how. Is the Minister satisfied that the vulnerability assessments are sufficiently tuned to the experiences and needs of asylum seekers in their extremity, and take into consideration the whole person and the impact of the ongoing experience of lockdown?
On 30th June Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government “what support they are providing to universities to assist them in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, asked a follow up question focusing on students preparing to enter into key public service roles.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, universities make a significant contribution to their local communities and economies, particularly smaller institutions that attract a larger proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These make a significant contribution to their local context, particularly in this pandemic. In particular, several Cathedrals Group universities during the 2018-19 academic year had 20% undergraduate students from low-participation—POLAR4—backgrounds. How will the Government work with higher education institutions to maintain the widening of access and retention of students, especially those preparing for key public service roles that have been so important during this pandemic crisis?
On 30th June the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, received a written answer to a question from Lord Keen of Elie on Covid-19 in prisons.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: HL5099 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) prisoners, and (2) staff, were (a) suspected of having, (b) confirmed as having, (3) hospitalised as a result of, and (4) died from, COVID-19 in prisons in England, broken down by region.
On 30th June the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, received a written answer to a question from Lord Bethell on the Government’s approach to PPE procurement.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: HL4148 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Bethell on 23 April (HL Deb, col 90), whether their approach to personal protective equipment procurement remains one of collaboration with local initiatives following the report in the Financial Times on 4 May that procurement is being nationalised.
On 25th June 20202 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative. A transcript is below:
On 24th June Lord Farmer asked Her Majesty’s Government “when weddings will be able to take place in venues which enable social distancing and comply with other COVID-19 precautions”. The Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, asked a follow up question focusing on hymn singing in churches.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it is with great delight that we received news yesterday that weddings will once again be permitted. This will be an enormous joy to many couples and families all across England. As the Minister will know, hymns are most often a focal point of a wedding service. Given yesterday’s announcement about live performances, can he give us any more detailed guidance about singing in churches, both choral and congregational?
On 22nd June Lord McNally asked Her Majesty’s Government ” what measures they are taking to ensure that seaside resorts can respond to any increased demand for holidays in the United Kingdom.” The Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, asked a follow up question focusing on poverty in coastal areas.
Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, my diocese boasts some of the UK’s most beautiful coastline, and I welcome the Minister’s reassurances on the significance of tourism and the measures to be taken to aid it. However, many of the coastal communities in the north-east, in common with coastal towns elsewhere, are among the 10% most-deprived areas in England. What action do the Government propose to ensure that the present crisis will not make the inequality with non-coastal areas even greater?
On 16th June the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester received written answers to three questions on coronavirus in prisons.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: HL5101 To ask Her Majesty’s Government to what extent each prison in England and Wales has implemented (1) the compartmentalisation strategy, (2) protective isolation units and shielding units, and (3) reverse cohorting units.
Lord Keen of Elie: We continue to implement our compartmentalisation strategy: isolating the symptomatic, quarantining new arrivals and shielding the vulnerable. This strategy has shown early signs of success in reducing transmission in the prison estate.