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”
On 20th October 2015 a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords on the steel industry. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked about the effect of closures and job losses on those young people who are in apprentice schemes.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in the north-east there is also particular concern around young people who are in apprenticeships at Redcar, Hartlepool and elsewhere, and their deep concern that after three or three and a half years they will now have to go back to the beginning. Can the Minister give us an assurance that some of the £80 million will go to assist them to complete their apprenticeships without having to return to the beginning? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about effect of steel plant closures in north east on those in apprenticeships”
On 15th October 2015 the House of Lords debated apprenticeships. The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke in the debate. His remarks and the minister’s response are below:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Prosser, for introducing this debate so clearly and raising so many important issues. I also commend the Government’s aspiration for 3 million apprenticeships and for greater flexibility and a range of standards. I also endorse the point made by the noble Baroness about the reality of a skill shortage and the urgency of us tackling this agenda. I remind the House that apprenticeship comes from an understanding of learning and that it is not just about skills, but about skills learnt in the workplace—that is, in a real context. That, of course, shapes people to be citizens as well as workers. I hope that understanding of apprenticeship will remain at the centre of this initiative and not get pushed to one side by a more narrow focus on skills per se. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks about the importance of apprenticeships and employer academies”
On the 21st July 2015 the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke during the debate on the Budget Statement. The Bishop welcomed the new National Living Wage and asked for greater transitional support for employers and employees, as well as careful attention to phasing in the reduction in tax credits.
Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough welcomes Budget announcement on National Living Wage”
On 3rd June 2015, Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take to encourage the use of brownfield sites in the North of England for public and private housing developments. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the low levels of value in the north of England—the north-east as much as the north-west—have already been noted. Does the Minister recognise that one incentive is the possible creation of jobs and apprenticeships in things like bricklaying, plumbing and so forth, which we are desperately in need of in our region and in the nation as a whole?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: The right reverend Prelate makes an excellent point. Because of the speed and the size of housing development—indeed of construction in general—we now find ourselves needing to upskill those people who we need to do those jobs through apprenticeships, as he says, and through other initiatives. This is what lies behind the idea of the northern powerhouse—that the north will play its part in economic growth, as well as the south of England.
On 5th March 2015 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in a debate to mark International Women’s Day, entitled ‘this House takes note of women’s economic empowerment and the progress in achieving it that has been made in the United Kingdom and internationally.’
The Bishop spoke about the importance of increasing workplace diversity in the UK, as well as the work of Christian Aid in empowering women overseas, alongside the need to challenge the myth that women taking jobs will displace men.
Baroness Garden responded for the Government and addressed a number of the points raised by the Bishop. Her comments can also be found below.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I rise with some trepidation to be the first man to speak in this debate, particularly having been gently chided by the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, about wearing a dress. Still, perhaps that is suitable bridging attire at this moment in the debate. I am also very conscious that the church could be seen to be behind the curve on this issue, as has been mentioned, and I hope that noble Lords can see that we are trying very hard to catch up and make proper progress. I want to do three things in this short address. I want to take up the theme that the noble Baronesses have talked about, the international perspective; look at some issues in the UK; and say what we might learn in terms of policy priorities.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks about the Importance of Women’s Economic Empowerment”
On 16th January 2014, Baroness Eaton led a debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the opportunities and constraints for the wellbeing of the City of Bradford Metropolitan District. The Archbishop of York spoke during the debate.
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I, too, give thanks for the speech given by the noble Baroness, Lady Eaton.
Continue reading “Archbishop Sentamu speaks of opportunities and challenges in Bradford”
On 15th January 2014, Lord Holmes of Richmond asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of people in full-time employment in the United Kingdom.
The Bishop of Newcastle asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, the Minister will be aware that there are still significant regional differences in unemployment levels in the UK. Can he tell us what regional policies the Government may have in mind to help the situation in areas such as the one where I live, in the north-east of England, where unemployment levels are still in double figures?
Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle raises concerns about unemployment levels in North East”
On 28th November 2013, the Bishop of Derby took part in Baroness Wilcox’ debate on what action the Government are taking to increase the take-up of apprenticeships among young people. In his speech, he spoke of the need for education to assist in the development of good citizens and a high-calibre workforce based on vocation. He also raised the importance of employees being bale to train the right people for the right roles and the need to ensure that all young people have access to employment.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, on securing this debate on this very important theme. The Richards review and the statement by the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise make clear that there are three areas that we need to look at and hold together.
The first is the big context about the importance of using education and training, of which apprenticeship is part, to make good citizens and a proper workforce for the 21st century. That is the theme of vocation: developing people to have a sustainable working life. The second area is the need for employers to be able to train and recruit the kind of people they need for their particular industry. The third area is the fact that there are a large number of young people who lack the opportunity to engage with the world of work. Those three themes frame this debate. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on apprenticeships”