On 14th December 2017 Lord Bird asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to address the root causes of poverty and disadvantage in the United Kingdom.” In the short debate on the question, the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke about the importance of stable family life as an antidote to the causes of poverty.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for securing this debate. As we have just heard, poverty cannot be measured simply in economic terms. It affects every area of a person’s life and, as a recent Demos report put it:
“The first step towards tackling poverty is understanding it better”.
Where better to begin than with its causes, about which I would like to make just two observations? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle – strong, stable family relationships help to address root causes of poverty and disadvantage”
On 2nd November 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Farmer, “That this House takes note of A Manifesto to Strengthen Families, published on 6 September.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I warmly welcome the report and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and others involved. I find myself liking it more each time I read it. Its very modesty is its virtue, for a small number of strategic changes can make an immense difference. I speak from a background of nine years as a vicar in outer estate parishes in Halifax, in very poor communities, and seven years before my previous appointment as Bishop of Sheffield serving again some of the most impoverished regions in the country. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford speaks in debate on strengthening families”
On 5th April 2017, Baroness Tyler of Enfield asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress they are making in assessing the bids submitted by local authorities for the Department for Work and Pensions Local Family Offer programme funding for relationship support services; and when local authorities which have submitted bids will be notified of the outcome. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question about collaboration with grass-roots organisations.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans My Lords, perhaps I may build on the response just given by the Minister. The Government can only do so much and we certainly need to see joined-up thinking and action if we are going to help these families.What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to ensure that when local authorities bid for funding for the local family offers, they are working collaboratively with grass-roots organisations—charities, churches and so on—which are already seeking to build up relationship capacity in families? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about working with grassroots organisations to deliver relationships support”
On the 11 February 2016 the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke during the second reading debate on the Government’s Armed Forces Bill. He highlighted the work of the Church of England to support the military covenant, the need to support service families and the significant work of military chaplains.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, by happy coincidence, this debate takes place almost exactly on the anniversary of the signing of the Armed Forces corporate covenant by the right reverend Primates the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. There has been excellent work with the Minister in developing the impact of that covenant, and it is a pleasure to mark that anniversary today and anticipate the maiden speeches this afternoon.
This Bill properly clarifies the obligations and responsibilities of those serving in the Armed Forces and strengthens provision for maintaining good order and handling any instances of indiscipline with proper regard for justice. These provisions and the contributions that we have heard already remind us, although they are often technical, that individuals in our Armed Forces serve, and occasionally offend, in situations of stress and danger.The House will not be surprised therefore if I briefly draw attention to the importance—and I hope the Minister in summing up can confirm this—that we should all give to the areas of pastoral and family support for those who volunteer to serve us and the nation in this way in the Armed Forces, even when their behaviour falls below highest standards. Continue reading “Armed Forces Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth highlights support for service families and work of military chaplains”
On 26th January 2016 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what impact the Family Test has had on policy-making.” The Archbishop of York, Most Revd & Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I hope that the family test recognises that poor families come in different shapes and sizes and that there is no intention of pushing a particular policy, of which we saw a little in China. Margaret and I had two children of our own and then fostered two children who came to us at the ages of eight and one and a half. They are now working adults. Had this family test been around, I would have been worried, as Ruth is, because that child would have found it very difficult. Will the Minister assure us that when the family test comes, common sense will prevail, not numbers? Continue reading “Archbishop of York urges Government not to slant policy against larger families”
On 26th January 2016 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what impact the Family Test has had on policy-making”. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I have not consulted their Graces the most reverend Primates the Archbishops, but I feel confident in saying that we on these Benches welcome the thrust of the life-chances strategy, which the Prime Minister outlined in a recent speech. We believe, as does the Prime Minister, that the family is the best anti-poverty measure ever invented—invented by God, in fact, although the Prime Minister did not add that. The increase in funding for relationship support is welcome, but could the Minister indicate how the priorities articulated in the family test might shape the development of the life-chances strategy as it is published and implemented in due course? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks how Government’s family test will shape its life chances strategy”
On the 22nd June 2015 Baroness Tyler asked Her Majesty’s Government “which Minister has responsibility for family and relationship support policy; and what steps they are taking to deliver the commitment in the Conservative Party Manifesto 2015 to invest at least £7.5 million a year in relationship support.” the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a further question.
Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government about funding for relationships support”
“On behalf of the well-being of the children themselves, if we are going to make this increase in provision, which I am sure we will and indeed should, let us try to ensure that all the regulations that follow place the child at the centre, not the adults, whether those adults be the parents, the providers or the politicians.” – Bishop of Durham, 16/6/15
On Tuesday 16th June 2015 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Childcare Bill. Details about the Bill can be seen here. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate, raising concerns related to funding, capacity, pay and putting the needs of children first. The full text of his speech is below, with extracts from the Minister’s reply, and can also be watched on the Parliament website here.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in welcoming the general intent of this Bill, I wish to raise a number of concerns. It seems to me that there are already several common threads in what is being said. It may well be that they will be addressed—they will need to be—in the secondary legislation, but to be able fully to support the Bill I believe this House needs some assurances regarding these concerns. In raising them, I wish to point out that I have consulted some who are engaged in this work already, and also those for whom it is intended to be a benefit—parents and, indeed, grandparents. Continue reading “Childcare Bill – Speech by Bishop of Durham”
On 18th March 2015 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, spoke in a debate on affordable childcare, in which he focussed on the private, voluntary, and independent sectors. His speech is below, along with the related section of the Government’s response.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Sutherland, on chairing the committee, on introducing this debate and on enabling us to have TS Eliot as a frame alongside the pragmatism that we need in looking at this important issue. I rise with some trepidation, because I am perhaps the first speaker who was not a member of the committee, so I speak without that expertise behind me.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby highlights role of Church in providing childcare”
On 18th June 2014 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the report Cedars: two years on by Barnardo’s; and what plans they have to implement the recommendations made in that report.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Chief Inspector of Prisons has written a subsequent report on Cedars. It describes a worrying incident where an arrest team arrived in full protective clothing and spent three minutes battering down the door of a house; there was no awareness of whether there was a child or children in the house, which could have been deeply traumatic for those young people. Does the noble Baroness agree that we need to have a full review of arrest procedures to try to prevent such situations?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: I thank the right noble Prelate for his question. I am sorry—I was so focused on the answer that I forgot the right reverend Prelate’s title. I think that there are lessons learnt from situations like that, and I know that refresher training is going on. I hope that, again, the specialist teams will provide that more consistent journey and that the lessons learnt will enable a better arrest and removal procedure in future.