On 17th October 2013, Independent Peer Lord Filkin led a take-note debate in the House of Lord on the Report of the Public Service and Demographic Change Committee ‘Ready for Ageing?’ The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the debate, focusing his remarks on the important role civil society play in supporting the elderly. He also raised concerns about the language used to talk about the elderly and highlighted the very significant contribution played by older people in society.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, and his colleagues on the Select Committee for introducing such a comprehensive and expert report. I shall pursue the theme mentioned of the contribution of civil society.
My first point is about the language that we use and the signals that we give out. The noble Baroness, Lady Tyler, talked about the importance of a public debate. It is easy to use language such as “retirement”, which indicates something negative, about stopping and ceasing to contribute. In the diocese where I work, we have 200 clergy who are retired; 80% of them make an enormous contribution, not just filling in but front-line, active contribution to the life of the church. Some cultures use the word senior rather than the word ageing. We must be very careful how we frame the debate. I invite the Minister to comment on the language that we use and the signals that we give out, so that it is not about a problem of decline and desperation but celebrating life at different stages and in different ways. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on demographic change in the UK”
On 24th July 2013, Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: The Minister will be aware of the good practice of the multi-agency response to homelessness among 16 and 17 year-olds in Birmingham at the St Basils Youth Hub but, with the recent support expressed by the Housing Minister for the End Youth Homelessness Alliance, how will the Government meet the alliance’s challenges for family support, employment and affordable, safe housing for that category of people?
Baroness Hanham: I am aware of what the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham is talking about. The policies of the Government will support the question that he has asked.
On 16th July 2013 Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to deal with the level of rents being charged by private landlords, particularly in London, and their impact on housing benefit. The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, more than one-third of privately renting households are families with children, yet typical tenancies remain short-term with little assurance about when rents may rise or how long they will be able to stay in their home. Uncertainty of this kind is particularly damaging for families trying to give their children stability. Will the Government give serious consideration to Shelter’s proposal to develop and promote stable rental contracts that would offer renters a five-year tenancy agreement and tie rent increases to inflation?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate makes an important point. I have seen the Shelter policy. Security of tenure has increased. Recent figures from the English Housing Survey show that only 9% of tenancies are ended by the landlord. We have seen an increasing percentage of people staying in their accommodation for more than two years. That is to be appreciated. We are looking at Shelter’s proposition, which came out in its September 2012 report.
On 15th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received answers to written questions on the topics of graduate entrepreneurs and tax transparency.
Businesses: Graduate Entrepreneurs
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what resources are available for graduate entrepreneurs for start-up businesses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): We want more businesses to develop in the UK in order to drive economic growth and innovation. We are intervening early to drive ambition by encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset in young people through activities in schools, colleges and universities. The experience of enterprise through education helps give young people the knowledge and awareness of what it means to run a business.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can also help to bridge the gap into the world of business. For example, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provides £160m per annum through Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) to English HEIs to enable them to work with businesses and others. This can also be used to support student and academic enterprise, including start-ups and spin-outs. The latest Higher Education-Business and Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCI) indentified that, in 2011/12, 2,359 graduate start-ups were generated from English HEIs and 2,315 Graduate start ups were still active after at least three years. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby – Graduate Entrepreneurs and Tax Transparency”
On the 13th May 2013 the Bishop of Birmingham responded to the Queens Speech focusing on the areas of unemployment, business and the economy. The Bishop welcomed proposals for economic development and investment in transport which he hope would bring benefits to Birmingham and the wider region. He hoped the Government would tackle three areas, youth unemployment, personal debt and banking reform, quoting former Archbishop William Temple he urged the Government to “Give us the tools in the regions and we will finish the job”. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics”
On 16th May 2012 the House of Lords debated the proposals in the Queen’s Speech for business and the economy. The debate heard the maiden speech of Rt Revd Justin Welby, who as the recently appointed Bishop of Durham, had been introduced to the Lords on 12th January 2012. The text of his speech is below, with extracts of comments by Peers.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I am astonished to be here for two reasons. First, I am astonished that I am here at all. Secondly, I am astonished at the warm welcome that I have received, for which I very much thank your Lordships and all the staff and people who work in this place, who deal very adequately with Bishops wandering around, bleating miserably that they are lost—or, at least, this particular Bishop. It has been a great privilege to have found myself helped in so many ways. I am also grateful to the noble Baronesses, Lady Wilcox and Lady Royall, for their warm welcome today. I look forward to hearing the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Ashton of Hyde, a little later. Continue reading “Justin Welby’s maiden speech in the House of Lords”