On 14th December 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on credit:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will monitor the voluntary agreement by lenders not to give automatic credit limit increases to consumers. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about automatic credit increases by lenders”
On 4th December 2017 the House of Lords debated the Chancellor’s 2017 Autumn Budget Statement. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate, focusing on the lack of news on social care and on defence, and calling on Government to take further action on Universal Credit:
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, one of the duties in which I take particular pleasure is chairing the governors at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, just outside Oxford, a theological college at which men and women are prepared for ministry. It is known by those associated with it more colloquially as a vicar factory. Notices around the college remind the residents that, after night prayer or Compline, they are expected to abide by what is known as the great silence. It is not, I suspect, adhered to with the same severity as in years past. Indeed, one has a sense that the silence masks all kinds of feverish activity, all of it associated with theology, of course.
Press release from the Church of England website:
Responding today (22nd November 2017) to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement, the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt. Revd David Urquhart, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, said:
“The Chancellor’s Budget has gone some way to deal with the immediate problems facing our economy, housing and NHS, but it could have gone much further to help the many at the sharp end struggling to get by.
“Across the country churches support and are in touch with those who experience poverty or financial difficulty as a result of low pay, illness, or debt. The Budget statement provided an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged at a time when the cost of living is rising. The country faces substantial financial challenges and the growth forecast downgrades are worrying. But whilst the Chancellor has limited room for manoeuvre, there is more that could have been done to alleviate the situation of those who are struggling to manage. Deficit reduction is important, but should be achieved in ways that promote fairness, generosity, and sustainability. Bishops frequently raise these issues in the House of Lords and in meetings with ministers, and will continue to do so. Continue reading “Autumn Budget 2017 – response from Bishop of Birmingham”
On Monday 13th November the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a debate in the House of Lords on the levels of household debt in the UK. His opening speech is below, along with the responding speech of the Government Minister (all the speeches in the debate can be read here).
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the risks posed by current levels of household debt in the United Kingdom.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I am deeply concerned—as I know are many other Members of this Chamber—about rising levels of household debt in this country. Households in the UK are taking on far more debt than they used to and overall are taking on more debt than they bring home in income. While the ratio of household debt to income has not yet eclipsed the 160% peak hit in early 2008, it currently hovers around 140%, a dramatic shift from the ratio of 95% in 1997.
Of course there are good reasons why families in this country choose to take on debt—perhaps to buy a house or another form of secured debt—but, nevertheless, we know that for some people the prospect of saving for a house is inconceivable and that those who are lucky enough to purchase a house take on an extremely high level of mortgage debt. This burden, especially for young people, should be recognised. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on risks of rising household debt”
On 26th October 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on income inequality, the Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, the oppression of Christians overseas and same-sex marriage.
Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on income inequality.  Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: income inequality, Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, oppression of overseas Christians, same-sex marriage”
On 23rd October 2017 Lord Haskel asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to deal with the concerns of the Money Advice Service and the Financial Conduct Authority about the level of consumer and personal debt in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, a poll commissioned by Citizens Advice in June found that 18% of people with credit cards who had debt problems had had their credit limits increased automatically without them even asking for it, thereby enabling them to take on even greater debt when they were already facing problems. I understand that the FCA is looking into this, but will the Minister ensure that it is asked to bring in much stronger guidelines on this situation to prevent it getting worse? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to act on credit card limits”
On 18th September 2017 Lord Bates answered two written questions from the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, on credit card debt and the need for a statutory ‘breathing space’ scheme.
Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to introduce measures to prevent the automatic increase of credit card limits. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about help for those in debt”