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 5th July 2018 Baroness Bakewell led a debate on the motion “That this House takes note of part-time and continuing education, and in particular the future of the Open University.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, like others, I warmly welcome this debate and thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, for introducing it so ably. Student numbers in part-time education are moving dramatically in the opposite direction to the one I am sure we all want to see, potentially with really dangerous consequences for our economy and society. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford on importance of lifelong learning and skills in response to technological change”
On 20th February 2018 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Rev Tim Dakin, asked a question he had tabled to Government about apprenticeships for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The exchange with the Minister and subsequent questions from other Members are below:
On 7th February 2018, the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Henley made a statement regarding the Taylor Review of modern working practices. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, a number of things are to be welcomed in the Government’s response to the Taylor report but perhaps I may pick up on one small thing. One recommendation is that the Government should develop a free online tool to provide individuals with an indication of their employment status and rights. However, do the Government not realise that a large proportion of the workers who are most vulnerable to exploitation are the very ones who will have least access to that sort of digital connectivity? Will the Minister make a commitment that the question of how more vulnerable people can access this information will be looked at closely when implementing this recommendation? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans responds to government statement on Taylor Review of modern working practices”
On 19th October 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question about families with children on Universal Credit:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Universal Credit on the employment outcomes for families with children and other new claimants in full service areas. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about impact of Universal Credit on families with children”
On 26th June 2017, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He argued for the importance of investment in the North-East of England and including all groups in discussions around Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse and the Industrial Strategy.
Bishop of Durham: My Lords, perhaps I may add my welcome from these Benches to the noble Lord in his role as Minister. I also look forward to hearing the maiden speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Colgrain and Lord Mountevans, which will be made during this debate.
Since arriving in Durham, I have been struck that life feels more precarious for many in the north-east than it does elsewhere. There are lots of reasons for hope, not least the social regeneration in my home town of Bishop Auckland, but the sense of precariousness persists due to deep structural disadvantages that the region has faced for decades, even centuries. It is against this backdrop that some of the changes to welfare in the last Parliament felt particularly acute and remain of very deep concern. It is also against this backdrop that the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiation is felt. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east”
On 19 October 2016 Lord Luce led a short debate in the House of Lords on a question: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made with the Fit for Work scheme in enabling those with long-term health problems like chronic pain to return to or stay in work.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, made a speech:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Luce, for introducing this debate with his characteristic mastery of the territory, context and issues.
I shall look at the progress of the Fit for Work scheme. As the noble Baroness, Lady Thomas, hinted, there has been a lot of negativity. I remember that when it was first introduced the press called it a test about whether people were fit for work. There have been pilots and a lot of chunter about the slow development of the rollout. We need to remember that it is a huge shift for the medical professional, employers and employees, and we need to encourage the Government to look carefully at the rollout to see what can be learned as it unfolds. As the noble Lord, Lord Fink, mentioned, there may be issues about how small businesses can access this opportunity. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby: participants in Fit for Work Scheme are assets with gifts and contributions to make”