On 17th March 2016 Lord Young of Cookham asked Her Majesty’s Government, “following their announcement concerning the Help to Save scheme, how many people in work and receiving either Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit are expected to benefit from that scheme.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, will the Minister affirm the importance, in addition to the Help to Save scheme, of the increasing number of credit unions which routinely go into schools to try and create a culture of saving from the very earliest age, to address the endemic problem of a presupposition of debt? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans praises work of credit unions in schools”
On 28th October 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West, on the church’s work in promoting credit unions.
Gareth Thomas: To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to promote the use of credit unions in the work of the Church of England; and if she will make a statement.
Mrs Caroline Spelman: The Church of England’s work in support of credit unions has been led by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings, chaired by Sir Hector Sants.
Nationally, the Task Group has developed a number of strategic, church-led initiatives, including matching the resources of local churches with the diverse needs of local credit unions through the Church Credit Champions Network. To date, the pilot scheme has engaged over 200 churches, trained 150 Credit Champions and is on target to bring in 3,000+ new credit union members across London, Southwark and Liverpool dioceses, with plans to roll out to 30 more dioceses from next year. Continue reading “Update on the work of the Church in promoting credit unions – written answer”
On 26th October 2015 the House of Lords debated at Second Reading the Government’s Bank of England and Financial Services Bill. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster, made a short speech welcoming any measure that would promote diversity in the financial services sector, including credit unions.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, this Bill offers an important way to confirm the Government’s commitment to promoting real diversity in the financial services sector. I want to make a very brief contribution in support of such diversity. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government to support credit unions and diversity in financial services sector”
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”