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.
The 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”
“We need to work to move our society away from the current situation in which indebtedness is increasingly seen as the norm. We need to find ways of changing attitudes to credit and saving for the long term” – Bishop of St Albans, 12/3/15
On 12th March 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion in the name of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to implement the report on the Money Advice Service undertaken by Christine Farnish.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, spoke about the importance of good financial advice services, access to affordable credit and the need for high quality financial education for young people.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans speaks on need to change attitude towards debt, credit and saving”
On 3rd February 2015, Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government when they plan further reform of the law regarding Credit Unions. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I imagine many of us are concerned about the culture of debt that seems to be normative in many parts of our society. In the light of this, can the Minister tell us whether the Government have any plans, first, to encourage all schools to consider working closely with credit unions, as in the case of the credit union in St. Albans, where I come from and, secondly, to further roll out and encourage payroll savings schemes as part of a wider initiative to encourage saving and financial responsibility across society?
Lord Newby: My Lords, the Government support both those concepts. The right reverend Prelate will be aware that the Government have been working with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s task force on affordable credit and savings to institute the LifeSavers project, under which primary schools are working with credit unions to encourage young children into good savings habits and raise awareness of credit unions.
On 29th July 2014, the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, co-sponsored and spoke in support of an amendment to the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill. The amendment, tabled by Lord Kennedy of Southwark, sought to establish a credit union specifically for members of the armed forces and their families. He noted the Church’s own work in setting up the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union, and highlighted the well-developed system of credit unions for service personnel in the United States. He called on the Minister to give an update on the progress made towards the creation of such an institution. Following the debate, Lord Kennedy withdrew his amendment, but indicated that he may bring it back at the Third Reading of the Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, from these Benches I welcome the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, and give it our full support. The amendment gives strong support to the setting up of a credit union for the Armed Forces and their families in a similar way in which the church is setting up its own credit union—the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union. The Armed Forces, like the clergy and other groups, need a source of affordable credit for short and long-term needs. As a society we have duty of support and care to our Armed Forces. Recent research in a number of strands shows clearly that the ability to obtain credit at reasonable rates of interest is a vital element in building resilience to poverty and debt across our whole society. The inability to obtain such credit in times of need raises the possibility of falling further into debt, of food and fuel poverty and of a downward spiral. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield calls for development of Armed Forces credit union”
Church Commissioners’ Questions: 12th June 2014
Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked questions in the House of Commons on 12th June, on the service of remembrance for Stephen Sutton, school chaplains, persecuted Christians overseas, listed church building repairs, credit unions and biblical literacy amongst children. The transcript is below:
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con):If he will visit Lichfield cathedral to discuss the service of remembrance and celebration of the life of Stephen Sutton. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): I am always happy to visit Lichfield cathedral. The whole country will have celebrated the life and achievements of Stephen Sutton. The recent service of remembrance and celebration at Lichfield cathedral demonstrates the importance of cathedrals as a focus for unity at times of local and national celebration, commemoration and mourning. Continue reading “MPs questions to Church Commissioners’: Stephen Sutton, school chaplains, persecuted Christians, church repairs, credit unions, biblical literacy”
“at the same time as we are counselling people not to take on unsustainable debt, the Treasury is proposing to let the national debt free of past restraints. It seems that there is one rule for citizens and another for public authorities. That is the moral corruption of a time such as this.” – Rt Rev John Gladwin, 3/11/08
Continue reading “Archive: Rt Rev John Gladwin speech in Lords on moral corruption of increasing national and personal debt”
Responding today to the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget statement, the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Rev David Urquhart said:
“There is much to welcome in today’s Budget announcement, not least the news that economic growth is strengthening, the long awaited transferable tax allowance for married couples, and the new funds to help restore the fabric of some our nation’s great cathedrals.
The increasingly confident economic outlook is good news. The crucial challenge will be to ensure that the stewardship of the economy takes into account the need for those at the lower end of the income scale or at the margins of society to share fully in the proceeds of growth.
The reaffirmation by the Chancellor of our country’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our national income on overseas development assistance is an important demonstration of our national commitment to those in the greatest need. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham Responds to the Budget”
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the Ofcom’s publication Trends in Advertising Activity—Payday Loans, published in December 2013, what assessment they have made of the impact on children between four and 15 years old of the number of payday loan advertisements to which they are exposed.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Ofcom’s publication Trends in Advertising Activity—Payday Loans published in December 2013, what assessment they have made of the increase in the number of payday loan advertisements watched by children aged four to 15 years old over the past four years; and whether they have any plans to address the situation.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Ofcom’s publication Trends in Advertising Activity—Payday Loans published in December 2013, what assessment they have made of the frequency and impact of payday loan advertising viewed by children on non-children’s television channels.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Ofcom’s publication Trends in Advertising Activity—Payday Loans published in December 2013, whether they plan to commission research into the impact of payday loan advertisements on young peoples’ attitudes to the responsible use of money.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Payday loan adverts are subject to the Advertising Standards Authority’s strict content rules. The ASA will not hesitate to ban irresponsible adverts, and has a strong track record of doing so.
The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), the body that writes the Broadcast Advertising Code, is considering Ofcom’s research and the extent to which payday loan advertising features on children’s TV, and whether there are any implications for the ASA’s regulation of this sector.
Separately, the Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on new rules for consumer credit adverts, including proposals to introduce mandatory risk warnings and signposting to debt advice. It has powers to ban misleading adverts which breach its rules.
In Church Commissioners Question Time on Thursday 21st November 2013, Sir Tony Baldry MP was asked by MPs to answer questions on women bishops, the recruitment of clergy, credit unions and metal crime.
Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) (Con): What progress has been made by the General Synod of the Church of England on legislating to enable women to enter the episcopate.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): Yesterday, the General Synod voted by 378 votes to eight, with 25 abstentions, to approve a new package of proposals that will enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.
Andrew Stephenson: This is obviously very welcome news. Can my hon. Friend give us an idea of the likely time scale for the introduction of the change?
Sir Tony Baldry: My hon. Friend is right; this is very welcome news. As a result of the vote yesterday, I am confident that this House will have an opportunity to pass the necessary legislation in the lifetime of this Parliament.
Continue reading “MPs Questions to Church Commissioners”