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”
On 29th June 2016 Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government “in the light of the increased use of zero-hours employment contracts nationally and regionally, what assessment they have made of the effects of such contracts on an individual’s chances of gaining full-time salaried employment, and on specific sectors, both public and private, of the UK economy.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, for introducing this important event. It does feel lonely over here, and I hope you will not think that I am the Opposition.
I have become interested in this issue in part because of my work on modern slavery. I name that, alongside this issue, because we are in a perfect storm that is making slavery and zero-hours contracts increasing phenomena in our society. We have heard about this perfect storm: this tightness in margins and the shifting of risk; the desire for flexibility; the fact that people are so mobile they do not develop a strong relationship with any employer anyway; and the fact that, as the noble Lord, Lord Monks, and the noble Baroness, Lady Dean, said, economic inequality is increasing so much that people are desperate for work. Then migration, and especially illegal migration, adds another degree of desperation. There is a market to be exploited, both through slavery and through the unscrupulous use of zero-hours contracts, although we know these do suit some people. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks Government about pastoral care and training for those on zero-hour contracts”
On the 14th April 2014 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke during a debate on the Deloitte report ‘Technology and people: The great job-creating machine published in August.’ Bishop Alastair spoke about the competing pressures of company supply chains and corporate responsibility, the values of society and the impact technology is having as efficiency cuts across the face-to-face pastoral engagement of professions such as healthcare. The Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe responded for the Government and addressed a number of the questions highlighted by the Bishop.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby questions the drive for efficiency in the use of technology instead of assisting meaningful face-to-face pastoral engagement”
On 17th March 2016 MPs put questions to Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners. Questions were asked on mission in deprived areas, helping ex-offenders into work, sustainable energy, women’s leadership in the church and the contribution of cathedrals to cultural and economic life. A transcript is below.
Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ Questions: mission, help for work, sustainable energy, women’s leadership, cathedrals”
On the 27th January 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke to support an amendment to the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. The amendment, in the name of Lord Low of Dalston, would negative a reduction in the Work Related Activity Group of the Employment and Support Allowance. The Bishop highlighted the likely impact on disabled people.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, as I said in Committee, if this reduction in benefits for the disabled is about incentivising work rather than simply cutting costs from the benefit budget, I support the Government’s intention. However, the way in which they are going about the task to cut ESA WRAG and its universal credit counterparts is misguided. Clearly, other noble Lords agree with that. For that reason, I am inclined to support the removal of Clauses 13 and 14. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of St Albans supports move to halt cuts to Employment and Support Allowance”
On the 11th January 2016 the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke during the Second Reading of the Government’s Trade Union Bill. The Bishop called on Government to foster a culture of good practice and partnership rather than introducing fresh measures to increase regulation and control.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, we on these Benches are always wary of involving ourselves in debates that, as we have already seen, are likely to become fairly polarised in political ways. Of course, this is a Second Reading debate, in which we try to focus on matters of intention and principle. Therefore, I dare to step in. Indeed, it is only because my right reverend friend the Bishop of Bristol has conspired to get himself on a plane to Uganda at this precise moment that I am standing in his place at all. I rather wish that he had been here instead of me, but there we are.
We have an interest in these matters, because many of the origins of the trade union movement lie in close partnership with the churches of this land, not least the Methodist Church but others also. From these Benches, we have a continuing concern for the flourishing of those things that are to do with civil society in our nation, and, within civil society, of those things that we think of as intermediate institutions, of which trade unions are a very good example. Therefore, the place of trade unions is of concern to us. Continue reading “Trade Union Bill: Bishop of Rochester calls for focus on better relationships over more regulation”