On 3rd December 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on the effect of quantative easing on wages and house prices:
On Tuesday 10th November a Government statement on the economy was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Portsmouth responded and asked a question:
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth [V]: My Lords, I welcome the Government’s desire to protect jobs and livelihoods, but can the Minister confirm that the extension of the furlough scheme until March—a full five months—is based on the assumption and expectation that those jobs, or at least the vast majority of them, will be ready to return to unchanged? That is a bold assumption. If it is not the case, what strategy do the Government have now for addressing the transitional challenges for those whose jobs will disappear? This Statement was made late, in haste. Tackling the jobs issue in March is tackling it too late. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about job losses due to coronavirus”
On 10th November the Bishop of Oxford received written answers to three questions, on employment conditions in the gig economy:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the impact, and (2) the effectiveness, of requiring employers in the gig economy to provide workers and contractors with a written statement of their core terms of employment. [HL9569]
Lord Callanan: In response to the Taylor Review, the Government recognised that there was a significant lack of awareness among individuals and employers about applicable rights and responsibilities in non-standard contracts. We therefore amended legislation so that the Employment Rights Act 1996 entitles both employees and workers to receive a written statement of employment particulars that sets out the position regarding remuneration and hours of work etc. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks about employment rights in the gig economy”
On 3rd November 2020 Lord Haskel asked the Government “what steps they are taking (1) to rationalise the number of, and (2) to set standards for, qualifications to ensure that such qualifications are of value to (a) individuals, and (b) employers.” The Bishop of Winchester asked a further question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester [V]: My Lords, a recent survey of apprenticeship employers published by the Department for Education indicates that employers see higher apprenticeships as better value for money than lower level 2 and 3 apprenticeships, so they are utilising levy funds to upskill existing staff, rather than to train new recruits. Can the Minister confirm what plans Her Majesty’s Government have to prevent further decline in level 2 apprenticeships to ensure that these apprenticeship pathways are available to new recruits across the country? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks whether employers are using apprenticeship funding for new recruits”
On 22nd October the Bishop of Oxford asked a question he had tabled to Government on the impact of Covid-19 on the gig economy. The exchanges and further questions from other Members, are below:
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Oxford
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the gig economy.
Baroness Penn (Con): My Lords, the Government have stood by businesses and workers with one of the most comprehensive and generous packages of support globally. We are working intensively with employers and industry groups to understand the long-term effects of Covid-19 and specific challenges to businesses and workers, including in the gig economy. Following announcements of further measures to control the spread of Covid-19, we are continuing to monitor the impact of government support in different sectors.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford [V]: I thank the Minister very much for her Answer. While the job coaches and extra provision made may improve the CVs and present conditions of those forced into the gig economy, they will do nothing to improve the security or the working conditions of those so precariously employed and poorly protected. Therefore, will the employment Bill provide a clearer definition of what counts as an employer-employee relationship? How will it stop platform employers retaining all of the profits while socialising essential costs such as sickness pay or a basic pension in old age? Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks Government about impact of covid-19 on the gig economy”
On 15th October 2020 Baroness Bull asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the report by the Social Mobility Commission The long shadow of deprivation, published on 15 September.” The Bishop of Oxford asked a further question:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I welcome this report and it is good to hear the Minister welcome it too. Deprivation is an issue that goes to the core of natural justice, and therefore our common good as a nation. Does the Minister accept in particular the report’s findings that employment interventions are as critical as educational improvement in addressing systematic inequalities and levelling up? What additional steps do the Government propose to take to improve employment opportunities, particularly when facing the current recession, in the cold spots that the report identifies across the nation? Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford calls for employment interventions to address inequality and help levelling up”
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:
Lord 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?
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”
On 12th February 2020 Lord Touhig asked the Government “what progress has been made in reducing the disability employment gap.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, in this important area Britain is proud to be a leader in many ways—in technology, computing and so on—and many of these projects, which are transforming the lives of some people with certain kinds of disabilities, have been run across Europe, so there are worries that some of these projects may not continue. Can the Minister assure the House that priority will be given to helping this world-leading development continue? It is making an impact on people with disabilities not only in our own country but right across the world as the technology is rolled out.
On 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”