On 26th June 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions from Jim Shannon MP (Strangford) on Church-based tourism and community development:
Jim Shannon MP:271461 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England has taken to promote tourism to its churches and cathedrals.
Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church of England welcomes the Government’s new Tourism Sector Deal, which encompasses all our churches and cathedrals and will give a significant boost to our cultural heritage. Cathedrals in England attract over 10 million visitors a year, the majority as tourists.
The Church supports the work of the Churches Visitor and Tourism Association on several initiatives that help the public learn more about their local churches:
On 20th June 2019 MPs asked questions of Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked about serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, the contribution of cathedrals to the local economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, and persecution of Christians:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Serious Youth Violence
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con) 1. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab) 7. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church was represented at the knife crime summit organised by the Prime Minister at No. 10 earlier this year, and the General Synod will be debating this subject at its session next month. There is no question but that this issue is of the utmost seriousness, as too many young lives are being lost.
On 19th June 2019 a Government statement on new plans to help people dealing with problem debt was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, welcomed the statement and asked a follow-up question:
Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I welcome this Statement, and thank the Minister for repeating it. I also want to note the work that the Church of England and the Children’s Society have done promoting these matters. I am particularly pleased that public and utilities debt is to be included in this, but—taking advice from Donald Tusk, who said “Don’t waste the extension”—can the Minister say who will ensure that plans are put in place for sustainable debt resolution? It was said that debtors will have to seek professional advice. How will that be ensured, so that we do not simply prolong the problem of debt where it will be exacerbated? Secondly—and I am sorry if I missed this in the Statement—when might we expect the new regulations to be published?
On 1st May 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, “That this House takes note of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Naming and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/383).” The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke in the debate:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I want to support the main thrust of the speech from the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, about debt. Julia Unwin, who was chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, did a big research project on why people were going to Wonga. They went to Wonga because it asked no questions; people knew they could get their payday loan. Other lenders asked more questions and were far more intrusive and credit was not readily available. Noble Lords know that my archiepiscopal colleague, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that he intended not only to reform Wonga but to do away with it, and we know what has happened to Wonga.
On 20th March 2019, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Spring Budget Statement. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is a privilege and a challenge to follow such a brilliant speech from someone who knows his way around the subject. If you want to find good things to tax, I always say that you should start with sin: find a new sin and tax it. I rather agree that HS2 is a sin, not for adding capacity, which I am all in favour of, but in doing so in such an unnecessarily expensive way. For me, trains go quite fast enough already and it could have been done far more cheaply without factoring in the speeds in a small country. As I follow the noble Lord’s speech, I think of St Paul, who once began by saying, “I speak as a fool”. I do so too, a little, after that wonderful description of the financial landscape.
On 13th November 2018 the House of Lords debated the Chancellor’s Budget Statement. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate to highlight concerns about the environment, the two-child limit and fixed odds betting terminals.
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, for many on these Benches there are measures to welcome in this Budget: for instance, the decision to increase the work allowances within universal credit for families with children and people with disabilities, as other noble Lords have mentioned. This goes a substantial way towards reversing the cuts announced in 2015. Likewise, the announcement of measures to aid the transition to universal credit, worth £1 billion over five years, is also welcome, as is the additional and non-repayable run-on support for new claimants to help people manage during the five-week waiting period before their first payment. However, I am disappointed that the run-on support does not cover the child elements of universal credit. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford – Budget is missed opportunity for environment”
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,
On 11th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Haskel, ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of proposals for greater employee shareholding and participation in corporate governance.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, for securing this debate. With such limited time, I shall make just a few comments about the purposes of business in general and then to make one or two observations about the very specific themes raised in the debate.
All too often, business and commerce are viewed as though their main aim was simply to make the most money possible. This rather reductionist view of business fails to take into account wider questions raised in Christian theology, as well as by many others, such as how everyone can contribute to the common good, issues of justice and fairness, and particularly the sort of values we wish to celebrate and promote as a society. The best businesses, I believe, are those that balance the need to make money with a high priority on the flourishing and thriving of their workforce and a concern for human dignity. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for new social contract to address low pay and poor working conditions”
On the launch of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice report, the Archbishop writes in today’s Daily Mail that we need a fairer society where everyone can flourish.
I’m proud to live in a country that is the world’s fifth largest economy. We have world-leading businesses characterised by extraordinary innovation, high productivity, strong exports, highly skilled jobs and good pay.
We have low unemployment, lower than for many decades. Economically, politically, and often morally, we remain a global power.