Bishop of Chelmsford asks about private rented housing

The Bishop of Chelmsford received the following written answers on 5th September 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford asked Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to publish a response to their consultation Improving the energy performance of privately rented homes, which closed on 8 January 2021.

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Bishop of Ely supports Healthy Homes Bill

On 15th July 2022, the house debated the Healthy Homes Bill at its second reading. The Bishop of Ely spoke in the debate on this Private Member’s Bill. His speech is below, along with contributions from other peers:

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, it is a pleasure to speak in the Second Reading of this very important Bill. The lead Bishop on housing, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford, is sadly unable to be with us. However, she has asked me also to pass on her gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Crisp, for his work in bringing the Healthy Homes Bill forward.

In his book Reimagining Britain, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote that we need to reimagine housing. He said:

“Reimagined core values and practices in any housing development will be linked to health in many forms. Good communities build financial, physical, mental, spiritual and relational health.”

As the noble Lord, Lord Crisp, said, this is about linking not just housing and health but education. In my time as Bishop of Ely, when we have built church schools on crowded new housing estates I have always insisted on having space in front of the schools so that, rather than doubling the cramp that people feel, we have pram plazas rather than pram wars.

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Bishop of Chelmsford welcomes Social Housing (Regulation) Bill and urges Government to go further

On 27th June 2022 the Bishop of Chelmsford spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I also begin by congratulating the noble Viscount, Lord Camrose, on his excellent maiden speech. Clearly, he has a whole set of skills and experiences that will ensure that his contributions in this House will be highly valuable, as was apparent in his incisive and to the point speech, much of which I agree with and endorse.

Before I go any further, I declare my specific interest as the Church of England’s lead bishop for housing. Noble Lords will know that the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community has been actively working to envision how the Church, government and the nation might tackle the current housing crisis. Last year, the commission released its Coming Home report, which sets out in detail a reimagining of housing policy and practice centred on five core values, which are that housing should be “sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying.”

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Bishop of St Albans asks about housing

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 24th May 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to subject conversions and repairs on existing buildings to zero-rated VAT in-line with the VAT regime for new builds.

Baroness Penn (Con): The Government currently maintains a zero-rate of VAT on the construction of new build residential properties. This is to incentivise their construction and provide a lower burden of tax for purchasers of new homes.

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Church Commissioner Questions: parishes, freedom of religion, housing, Channel crossings, marriage, new clergy, arts and culture

On 28th April 2022 MPs asked Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, about parish ministry, freedom of religion & belief, affordable and sustainable housing, illegal migrant crossings in the Channel, families parenting and marriage, candidates entering Holy Orders, and supporting arts and culture. A transcript is below.

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Bishop of Durham asks about housing

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 27th April 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the rising cost of living, what plans they have, if any, to unfreeze Local Housing Allowance.

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum housing support for tenants in the private rented sector. The level of LHA rates is reviewed annually by the Secretary of State.

In 2020-21, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we invested almost £1 billion in the LHA which meant 1.5 million households received an average increase of £600 more than they would otherwise have received.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about housing insulation

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 25th April 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what (1) grants, and (2) subsidies, they are planning to introduce, if any, to improve the insulation of homes.

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Building Safety Bill: Bishop of St Albans speaks in debate

On 29th March 2022, the House of Lords debated a report on the Building Safety Bill, and amendments to the bill. The Bishop of St Albans tabled amendments and spoke in support of other members’ amendments. Lord Blencathra spoke on behalf of the Bishop in the first part of the debate:

Lord Blencathra (Con): I rise to comment on the disabled amendments that the Government have laid, including the one that was just moved. I will also comment briefly on Amendments 46 and 47, which have not yet been spoken to by the noble Baroness, Lady Fox of Buckley, and speak to Amendments 39 and 40 on behalf of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans, since he is unable to be with us at this time of the morning.

I commend the Government for listening to my noble friend Lady Grey-Thompson in Committee and on all the amendments that they have brought forward today. Having been bored on the train when I was heading up north last week, I counted on the Order Paper more than 220 government amendments and 50 proposed new clauses. That is an extraordinary achievement and shows the extent to which my noble friend the Minister has been listening, as well as what he has been able to drive forward—principally because the Secretary of State, my right honourable friend Michael Gove, gets it and understands what needs to be done. So, although my noble friends and I may move a few amendments today, and perhaps force them to a vote, I do not want the Minister to think that we are being churlish. We appreciate the huge distance that the Government have travelled; we just think that there may be one or two more gaps that we need to fill.

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Church Commissioners’ Question Time, 10 March 2022

On 10th March 2022 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, freedom of religion or belief overseas, family hubs, supporting Ukrainian refugees, affordable housing, the Queen’s platinum jubilee, and the Commissioners’ Scottish landholdings.

Global Summit: Freedom of Religion or Belief

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) (Con): What role the Church of England has in supporting the global summit to promote freedom of religion or belief, to be hosted by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in July 2022. (905957)


The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church is making every effort to support that important summit to promote freedom of religion or belief. A debate was held on the lack of global religious freedom at last month’s General Synod and I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce), in her capacity as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, was able to brief Synod members on the huge cost of following Jesus in many parts of the world.

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Bishop of Blackburn asks Government about fire safety costs for leaseholders

On 24th May 2021 the Bishop of Blackburn asked a question on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, on fire safety costs for leaseholders.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the (1) current, and (2) future, incidence of leaseholder bankruptcies attributable to remedial fire safety works and interim fire safety costs.

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, on behalf of my right reverend colleague, I ask the Question standing in his name on the Order Paper.

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