Church Commissioner Questions: Tributes, climate change, archbishops, reconciliation, telecommunications, thefts, women in prison, marriage, digital evangelism

On 31st October 2019 Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman answered questions from MPs for the last time as Second Church Estates Commissioner. Tributes were paid to her, and questions were answered on climate change, archbishops, reconciliation, telecommunications, thefts, women in prison, marriage, and digital evangelism. This was also the same day that the Speaker and his Chaplain were due to retire. A full transcript follows:

Church Commissioners

The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

Climate Change: Investment in Companies

Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (Con): What progress the Church of England has made on holding the companies in which it invests to account on climate change. [900272]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): Since this is my last set of oral questions, I would like to record my heartfelt thanks to my small team of staff, and especially my constituency secretary, who has faithfully served me for 20 out of 22 years. We often forget that our staff are on the frontline of much of the abuse that we receive, and I want to record my admiration for their fortitude. I also thank the amazing staff I have had to support me in this role, particularly Simon Stanley at Church House.

In tribute, Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness and courtesy—unfailingly so, and especially at times of personal duress. I single out your inspired choice of Speaker’s Chaplain, who has enriched the spiritual life of this place—but more of that later.

The Church of England Pensions Board has tabled a shareholder resolution ahead of the annual general meeting of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, on 7 November this month. It asks BHP to suspend its membership of trade associations that are not lobbying in line with the climate change agreement. This is just the latest example of the Church Commissioners using their shareholder position to change company policy in line with the climate change agreement.

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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.

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Church Commissioners Written Answer: mining companies, dam safety

On 1st April 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question on discussions with mining companies over dam safety:

Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar): 238387 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church of England has had with the mining sector on improving the safety of tailings dams after the collapse of Vale dam in Brazil. Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answer: mining companies, dam safety”

Bishop of St Albans highlights Church investor pressure on companies without female directors

On 5th March 2019 Baroness Nye asked the Government “what steps they are taking to address the gender pay gap.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, this week the Church Investors Group, which has assets of £21 billion, will vote against the chairs of boards of big firms that have poor policies on tax and climate change. From now on, the 67-member group will put pressure on companies that have no women directors. Does the Minister agree with that approach? Does she also agree that it is a welcome step that companies can no longer get away with such dire records of female representation in management positions?

Bishop of St Albans asks about linking executive pay to carbon emission reduction targets

On 5th December 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government about linking executive pay to carbon emission reduction targets. The reply, his follow-up question and those of other Members is below:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage oil and gas companies to link executive pay to carbon emission reduction targets.

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Church Commissioners – Corporate Engagement

On 11th October 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Frank Field MP on corporate engagement:

Frank Field (Birkenhead): To ask the Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, which AGMs the Commissioners have attended in relation to companies in which shares are held by the Commissioners in each of the last three years. Continue reading “Church Commissioners – Corporate Engagement”

Church Commissioners Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

17.12.07 Carolinespelman1On the 29 March 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered a written question from the Rt Hon Tim Farron MP about the Church Commissioners extractive industries policy and ethical investment.

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