Bishop of Gloucester asks about increasing community advice services to low income households

The Bishop of Gloucester received the following written answer on 13th July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have carried out an impact assessment of increasing the numbers of face-to-face advice services covering (1) household finances, and (2) benefit entitlement, in community centres that provide food to households on low incomes.

Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about increasing community advice services to low income households”

Queen’s Speech – Bishop of Portsmouth gives farewell speech, on economy and poverty

On 12th May 2021 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, gave his valedictory speech in the House of Lords during the first day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. He focused on the economy and poverty.

“My Lords, it is more than seven years since I first spoke in this House. It is a long time since I was a maiden like the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, and the noble Lord, Lord Lebedev, whom I congratulate on their arrival and their speeches.

“Today, my name has ‘Valedictory’ next to it. Three weeks ago, I said an emotional godspeed to the people of the Portsmouth diocese at a cathedral service: scaled-down but intensely moving, for me and my wife Sally, at least, as we thanked so many.

“That service also gave me the opportunity for a bishop’s equivalent of ‘Desert Island Discs’, choosing the music sung wonderfully well by the cathedral choir. This included my favourite hymn among very many, ‘There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy’. It praises God’s gentleness, mercy and justice and how those qualities are rooted in His radical inclusion. It is something I touched on in my valedictory sermon: that the Church is its congregations, but it is far more its communities.

“We must always keep our doors open, especially to those who have no figurative or literal shelter—so I am interested, and not a little intrigued, by the Government’s talk of levelling up. The phrase suggests that those who already have will not have to give up anything and that those who need a hand up will be propelled upwards—but by what? Well, that is the question: how does the rhetoric become the reality? It is a dilemma that the Christian Church understands. We proclaim the kingdom, but find building it challenging.

Continue reading “Queen’s Speech – Bishop of Portsmouth gives farewell speech, on economy and poverty”

Response to the Budget from the Bishop of Birmingham


03/03/2021

Following the Budget speech, the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart, Convenor of the Bishops in the House of Lords, said:

“This is a time of great uncertainty, and while the Chancellor has rightly focussed on steps to get the economy moving, I’m concerned he has missed the chance to give certainty to those people and families who rely on Universal Credit, by not making the £20 uplift permanent.

“I’ll look at the details of the Budget closely for measures that will help the poorest and most vulnerable, especially access to sustainable jobs. The £19m for Domestic Abuse programmes is welcome as is support for schools to help get children back on the road of educational discovery. The lack of detail on social care is, however, a worry.

“The £300m additional funding for the Culture Recovery Fund is very welcome and will support the many small businesses and independent contractors our churches employ and support. I also note that the Levelling Up Fund prospectus specifically mentions cultural and heritage assets, including churches, and we look forward to churches and cathedrals particularly in areas of high deprivation taking part in this programme.”

Source: CofE website

Bishop of St Albans asks about monetary policy, car finance schemes

On 30th December the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on monetary policy, and care finance schemes:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 3 December (HL10488) and the exchange of letters between the Bank of England and HM Treasury on the Asset Purchase Facility on 29 January 2009, whether the Monetary Policy Committee still requires the consent of HM Treasury to engage in quantitative easing through the Asset Purchase Facility. [HL11242]

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 3 December (HL10488) and the exchange of letters between the Bank of England and HM Treasury on the Asset Purchase Facility on 29 January 2009, what assessment they have made of the implications of the confirmation in these letters that the financing of the Asset Purchase Facility by central bank money would require HM Treasury consent for the question of whether it is appropriate for the Government to comment on the effectiveness of quantitative easing; and what assessment they have made of the effects of quantitative easing on the increase in house prices compared to increases in wages. [HL11243] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about monetary policy, car finance schemes”

Bishop of Portsmouth urges Government to keep uplift in universal credit for those ‘on cliff edge’

On 3rd December the House of Lords debated the Chancellor’s November Spending Review statement. The Bishop of Portsmouth took part in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth [V]: My Lords, I was delighted to hear the Chancellor stress that the Government would continue to support the most vulnerable, but the proof of that assertion will be in how much money the Government are prepared to provide. That will be the barometer of what and who they consider most important. I therefore join my voice to those profoundly deprecating the proposed cut in development aid. I urge the Government to think again. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth urges Government to keep uplift in universal credit for those ‘on cliff edge’”

Bishop of St Albans asks about wages and house prices

On 3rd December 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on the effect of quantative easing on wages and house prices:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effects of quantitative easing on the increase in house prices compared to increases in wages. [HL10488]

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about wages and house prices”

Bishop of St Albans asks about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

On 2nd December 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on the impact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the economic, and (2) the diplomatic, consequences for the UK of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. [HL10490]

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about rural economy

On 26th November 2020 the Bishop of St Albans asked a question he had tabled to Government on tabled a question he had asked about the rural economy. The exchange is below, with the further questions asked by other Members:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their response to the report by the Select Committee on the Rural Economy Time for a strategy for the rural economy (HL Paper 330, Session 2017-19), what progress they have made towards their strategic vision for rural communities. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about rural economy”

Bishop of Worcester says Government aid cut is a broken promise to the poorest

On 25th November 2020 the House of Lords asked questions of Government on its abandonment of the legal commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid. The Bishop of Worcester highlighted the many pledges made to protect this, which had now been broken:

The Lord Bishop of Worcester [V]: My Lords, the 2019 Conservative general election manifesto said:

“We will proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on development”.

That was before Covid, of course. On 16 June, the Prime Minister said in the other place that spending 0.7% remained the Government’s commitment.

On 18 June, the Leader of the House reassured the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Peterborough of the Government’s continued commitment to the 0.7% target.

In this House on 2 September, the noble Baroness, Lady Sugg, reassured the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol, with these words:

“I assure her that we will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act”.—[Official Report, 2/9/20; col. 354.]

In a letter to the Prime Minister last week, I drew attention to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s words:

“A promise to the poor is particularly sacred.”

Does the Minister agree with him? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester says Government aid cut is a broken promise to the poorest”

Bishop of Portsmouth asks about job losses due to coronavirus

On Tuesday 10th November a Government statement on the economy was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Portsmouth responded and asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth [V]: My Lords, I welcome the Government’s desire to protect jobs and livelihoods, but can the Minister confirm that the ​extension of the furlough scheme until March—a full five months—is based on the assumption and expectation that those jobs, or at least the vast majority of them, will be ready to return to unchanged? That is a bold assumption. If it is not the case, what strategy do the Government have now for addressing the transitional challenges for those whose jobs will disappear? This Statement was made late, in haste. Tackling the jobs issue in March is tackling it too late. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about job losses due to coronavirus”

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