Bishop of Durham asks about investment in the north-east of England

During a debate on Levelling Up on 23rd January 2023, the Bishop of Durham asked whether how much of the investment promised to the north-east of England will be new funds:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I welcome the new devolution deal that has been done for the north-east and look forward to the appointment of an elected mayor for the region. If this devolution deal goes ahead, which I trust it will, can His Majesty’s Government clarify what proportion of the estimated £4.2 billion of investment into the region will be truly new money that the local new mayor can allocate out?

Lord Lexden (Con): I thank the right reverend Prelate for that question and I will have to give him a written answer: I do not have that information on the north-east devolution deal.


Levelling Up Bill: Bishop of Leeds highlights the importance of transport and education

On Tuesday 17th January 2023, the House of Lords debated the Levelling Up Bill in its second reading. The Bishop of Leeds made a speech on the importance of good transport links and amending discrepancies in education:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am delighted to follow the noble and right reverend Lord, who has already stolen some of what I was going to say—great minds and all of that, maybe. When I first heard the phrase “levelling up”, I thought, “Here we go again—another slogan in search of substance”. Yet what we have heard today so far is that there is a great deal of potential substance to this Bill. I applaud the motivation and ambition behind it, and the attempt in the 12 missions to have a holistic approach rather than simply to pick off bits of our society. But I do think we need to take seriously, after the honest analysis that we had from the Minister, the argument that it gives the lie to the opening assertion of the White Paper that the UK is an unparalleled success story. If it was, we would not need the detail that we have before us. This sort of language of hubris can very easily militate against us taking seriously the scale of the task.

Continue reading “Levelling Up Bill: Bishop of Leeds highlights the importance of transport and education”

Vaccines for developing world, poverty in the pandemic, devolution and Ethiopia  

In the House of Lords on 14th January 2021 the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on vaccines for developing countries and the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia while the Bishop of Durham received answers to questions on the recent updated report by the Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England on Poverty in the pandemic.
Meanwhile in the Chamber, the Bishop of Birmingham raised the issue of devolution in England with the Government during Lord Young’s Oral question about the formation of a Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights Commission. Text below:

Continue reading “Vaccines for developing world, poverty in the pandemic, devolution and Ethiopia  “

Bishop of Newcastle supports creation of North of Tyne Combined Authority

Newcastle - Grand CommitteeOn the 30th October 2018 the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, spoke in support of the Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland Combined Authority (Establishment and Functions) Order 2018. 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I welcome this proposal for a North of Tyne combined authority. I was present when the minded-to agreement was signed and there was a real sense of purposeful energy around the room. I agree with my noble friends Lord Beecham and Lord Shipley who talked about the level of investment that this combined authority will pull in; it is good, but very modest. I hope that nobody, including the Minister, will feel that this is anything like a sufficient answer to the critical lack of investment in the north-east. This development is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a proper level of investment in the north-east economy. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle supports creation of North of Tyne Combined Authority”

Bishop of Leeds highlights support for One Yorkshire devolution deal

On 17th October 2018 Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘whether they will respond to the One Yorkshire proposals for devolution to a Combined Yorkshire Authority.’ The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question: 

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, we take the point about the Sheffield city region, but it leaves the rest of Yorkshire wondering where it fits in, and when this will improve for it. We have failing rail infrastructure. In Yorkshire, we have almost total, widespread support for the One Yorkshire devolution deal. A report produced by the Institute for Government has referred to Yorkshire as,

“the hole in the northern powerhouse”.

Although delighted that Sheffield might thrive, the rest of Yorkshire wonders what will happen to it. We are falling behind Manchester and Liverpool in our ability to flex in the economics of the country. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds highlights support for One Yorkshire devolution deal”

EU Withdrawal Bill: Archbishop of York discusses impact on devolved assemblies

york-170117-cOn 21st March 2018, Peers debated the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on its ninth day at Committee Stage. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during debate on an amendment relating to the powers of devolved assemblies.  It can be read in the wider context of the debate here 

The Archbishop of York: The point I was going to make is exactly the same. As I have listened to the debate, it seems to me that the issue is probably what the noble Lord, Lord Hennessy, tried to address. When we leave the EU, the state of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland will still be the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Continue reading “EU Withdrawal Bill: Archbishop of York discusses impact on devolved assemblies”

Bishop of Chester supports measure in Scotland Bill stating permanence of Scottish Parliament and Government

On 8th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Scotland Bill at Committee stage. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during debate on amendments to the Bill from Lord Norton of Louth and Lord Forsyth of Drumlean.

The amendment from Lord Norton proposed the removal from the Bill of two new clauses to be added to the 1998 Scotland Act, namely: 

(1) The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements.
(2) The purpose of this section is, with due regard to the other provisions of this Act, to signify the commitment of the Parliament and Government of the United Kingdom.

Lord Forsyth’s amendment sought to change the wording of (1) so that it instead read

(1) The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are recognised as a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements.

The Bishop argued against both amendments on the grounds that they conflicted with settled political reality and would send unwelcome signals. The amendments were withdrawn after debate.

14.03 Bishop of Chester

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is always dodgy for bishops to speak about Scottish matters. The kirk has sometimes considered the possibility of introducing bishops but the one condition it has always applied is that they must not be like English bishops—they must be quite different.

I have some credentials inasmuch as I have had a close association with Scotland for 40 years, since I went to Edinburgh as a student. I have had a house in Scotland for 30 years, I have two Scottish degrees and one Scottish wife, who has kept my feet on the ground over the years. I shall also retire to Scotland shortly, and very much look forward to doing so. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester supports measure in Scotland Bill stating permanence of Scottish Parliament and Government”

Bishop of St Albans asks about support for rural small businesses

On 24th November 2015 Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government “what proposals they have for strengthening the role and powers of town and parish councils, particularly as part of the northern powerhouse.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question:


StAlbans171115The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the northern powerhouse has great potential to bring social and economic benefit to many people, but it is fundamental from the very start that we embed it in the rural communities. Micro-businesses employing fewer than 10 people make a very significant contribution to the rural economy, yet previous approaches to regional development tended to ignore or sideline the rural dimension of it. Will the noble Lord the Minister assure the House that, with the northern powerhouse and other devolved areas, there will be a specific, focused and relevant approach to providing resources for small rural businesses? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about support for rural small businesses”

Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Budget

“The test of the success of this and future Budgets for a country living within its means will be the growing number of households that are equipped and completely free to earn the means to live.” Bishop of Birmingham 21/07/15

01.04.14 Bishop of BirminghamOn the 21st July 2015 the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, responded to the  Budget Statement, during a debate in the House of Lords. The Bishop called for an inclusive capitalism and questioned Lord O’Neill the Commercial Secretary for the Treasury about the impact of the changes to working age benefits. The Bishop also spoke about the need to improve productivity via energising the local economy alongside investing in infrastructure, skills, training and apprenticeships.

Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Budget”

Bishop of Derby on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill

On the 8th June 2015 Peers debated the Government’s Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate. He raised the potential for inequality arising from urban areas being prioritised over rural ones, the changing role of London and the reality of people’s growing involvement in local politics. The text of his speech is below:

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for her very clear introduction to the Bill and for showing us how it can be a creative, flexible way into the future. It ticks many of the boxes that we are concerned about today: localism, devolution, inclusivity, electoral accountability and enabling growth. I will make three very short points and ask three questions of the Minister. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill”

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