On 18th March 2020 the House of Lords debated the Budget Statement made the previous week by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, as many have already observed, this Budget comes in extraordinarily unusual circumstances, and in relation to the issues around Covid-19, subsequent to the Budget announcement, the Chancellor has brought forward a number of measures which have been largely well received, and no doubt others will need to follow. While voluntary action in our communities will form much of the day-to-day response to those who are the most vulnerable and potentially isolated across our nation, the sustaining of public services and of businesses is vital for both our social and economic well-being; other speakers have already begun to address some of those issues.
Following the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury is always a risky business, and other noble Lords have already spoken with considerable knowledge of these matters, so I shall focus my remarks on one or two specific issues and areas which were already matters of concern, and where that concern is perhaps greater because of the circumstances in which we now find ourselves.
On children and young people, I hugely welcome the long-overdue extension of higher-rate housing benefit for care leavers until the age of 25, thus giving stability in their accommodation beyond their 22nd birthday. This is something that the Church of England organisation the Children’s Society and other charities have campaigned for over some time, and it is most welcome. Also welcome is the £2.5 million for research on family hubs. However, what is not in the provisions of the Budget or subsequent provisions is sufficient funding to address the urgent need for every child to achieve a good start in life, and that is becoming more urgent in the light of the current circumstances. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester responds to Chancellor’s Budget Statement”
On 18th March 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered seven written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on carbon reduction, cashless donations, South Sudan, Uganda, lead theft and graveyard records:
Jim Shannon (Strangford): 29873 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to use its investments to support business transitioning to a low carbon economy.
Andrew Selous: As responsible investors and members of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the Church Commissioners regard climate change as a vital issue and have pledged to transition their investment to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions portfolio by 2050. They will set their first interim emissions reduction target as members of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance in 2020 and will work with their public equities managers to achieve it. Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ written answers: carbon reduction, cashless donations, South Sudan, Uganda, lead theft, graveyard records”
On 17th March 2020 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, received a written answer to a question on climate change and migration:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: HL1792 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of any link between climate change and migration. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks about link between climate change and migration”
On 12th March 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Parminter, “To move that this House takes note of the case for investing in, and embracing, a green economy that promotes resource efficiency and zero carbon usage.” The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Viv Faull, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for bringing this debate before the House. As has been said already, and will no doubt be said again, our climate is at a crisis point. As your Lordships are well aware, we continue to see significant losses of biodiversity, increases in global temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather events. In the knowledge that these circumstances will disproportionately affect the poorest, and as a nation that has historically consumed large amounts of carbon, it is our moral imperative to act now.
I find myself in the privileged position of representing both a Church and a city to which this issue matters a great deal. Only two weeks ago, Bristol welcomed Greta Thunberg to its College Green, where she addressed more than 15,000 young people. She said that
“nothing is being done to halt this crisis despite all the beautiful words and promises from our elected officials.”
It is my hope that our work here today and in the future will amount to much more than just beautiful words.
Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol speaks of climate commitments, Government praises “strong leadership” of church”
On 9th and 10th March 2020 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, received written answers to questions on illegal waste exports
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: HL1788 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (HL226), what assessment they have made of the proportion of shipping containers being returned following inspection; and what action they intend to take as a result. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government for figures on illegal waste exports”
On 25th February 2020 Lord Greaves asked the Government “what steps they are taking to compensate households and local businesses that have been affected by flooding caused by recent storms and heavy rainfall.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, Worcestershire has been as badly affected as anywhere in England by the recent floods and the river level is still rising in Worcester. At the same time, I have to observe that a great deal of work has been done since 2007, which has meant the damage has been much less than would otherwise have been the case. I support the call for swift and full compensation. At the same time, I pay tribute to the emergency services, which have been superb during these floods. Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to them?
Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester pays tribute to emergency services responding to floods”
On 13th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Kinnoull, “that this House takes note of the threats posed by pests and diseases to native trees in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, for obtaining the debate and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Cope of Craighead, for his excellent introduction. For these Benches, and indeed for many Members of your Lordships’ House, trees have a special significance. They feature in the first chapter of the holy scriptures in Genesis and they reappear in the final chapter of the Bible in the Book of Revelation chapter 22, where we find that enigmatic phrase:
“the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans on the importance of planting more trees and native species”