Bishop of Durham asks Government to take regional approach to phasing out Job Retention Scheme

On 13th May 2020 Lord Agnew of Oulton repeated a statement given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the COVID-19 economic support package. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

Durham 1Lord Bishop of Durham: The extension of the JRS is extremely welcome. Here in the north-east, we have a worryingly high infection rate and among the highest average death rates per capita. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider taking a regional approach to phasing out the JRS, ensuring that the economic and social needs of each region are reflected adequately in the Government’s ongoing support?

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Archbishop of York leads Lords debate on the case for income equality and sustainability

On 6th May 2020 the Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion that the Lords “do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.” The Archbishop started the debate, and summed up afterwards, referring to many of the speeches made by other Members over the course of nearly three hours. Amongst the other speakers were the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of Durham and Derby. The entire debate can be read in Hansard here, and the Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches are reproduced below:

Income Equality and Sustainability: Motion to Consider

Moved by The Archbishop of York, That the Virtual Proceedings do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I am grateful to the Government Chief Whip and the usual channels for granting me this opportunity to move a Motion that is very dear to my heart—thank you. I commend Her Majesty’s Government for their rapid action in the current crisis and, through unprecedented public spending, working to protect jobs and avert millions of redundancies. It is in the light of this recent health emergency that I beseech your Lordships’ House to take note of the case for increasing income equality and sustainability.

Last Thursday, the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, opened a Question for Short Debate on Covid-19 and people living in poverty. I believe that what we are doing today has the potential to make a lasting difference. As Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, said:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

As long ago as 28 April 1909, Winston Churchill, then president of the Board of Trade, gave a speech in the other place in which he said:

“It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty’s subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions.”—[Official Report, Commons, 28/4/1909; col. 388]

Not much has changed since. That principle remains as strong as ever in our national life. Continue reading “Archbishop of York leads Lords debate on the case for income equality and sustainability”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government for assurances on disability employment and technology

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Bishop of Winchester asks Government about lower-level apprenticeships

18.03.20 Winchester 1On 7th October 2019 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, received a written answer from Government regarding the Apprenticeship Levy:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: HL17943 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy on the (1) provision, and (2) uptake, of lower-level apprenticeship qualifications; and what steps they are taking to address any issues identified with the (a) provision, and (b) uptake, of such qualifications. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks Government about lower-level apprenticeships”

Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about delivery of apprenticeship levy

On 4th July 2019 Lord Young of Norwood Green led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion “That this House takes note of the Apprenticeship Levy and the case for the effective delivery of workplace opportunities for young people.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

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Church Commissioner Questions: serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, cathedrals and the economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, Christian persecution

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. [911477]

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. [911484]

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.

Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, cathedrals and the economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, Christian persecution”

Bishop of Winchester asks about impact of British Steel situation on those in apprenticeships

On 21st May a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords about the future of British Steel. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:

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Bishop of Lincoln responds to Government statement on Nissan

lincoln 140119 cOn 5th February 2019 Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln, responded to a Government Statement about the Nissan Car Factory in Sunderland, on behalf of the Bishop of Durham:

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln: My Lords, I have been asked by my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, who is detained in his diocese, to ask the following question. While he recognises the promised protection of existing jobs, does the Minister recognise that Nissan’s X-Trail announcement will inevitably cause real worry for existing staff about the sustainability of their jobs, both at Nissan and in the supply chain?

Will the Minister say how Her Majesty’s Government intend to allay such concerns at local level and what they might do to encourage Nissan to invest more in the development of electric cars and autonomous vehicles?

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Bishop of Worcester asks Government to support communities in case of shipyard closure

Worcester281117On 26th November 2018, Lord West of Spithead tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the importance of the Appledore shipyard as part of the United Kingdom’s future shipbuilding strategy.’ The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, having been vicar of the parish in which the Swan Hunter shipyard was when that yard went into the hands of the receivers a number of years ago, I am acutely conscious of the devastating effect that such closures have not just upon individuals but upon whole communities. The Minister has acknowledged that. Will he undertake, if the yard does go under, to provide necessary assistance both to individuals and to the community, which will suffer terribly? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government to support communities in case of shipyard closure”

Bishop of St Albans calls for new social contract to address low pay and poor working conditions

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”