Bishop of London asks about support for almshouses to upgrade their facilities to older people

On 22nd October Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the role of alms houses in the provision of housing for the elderly.” The Bishop of London asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I declare my interests as stated in the register. The Church of England continues to provide excellent almshouses provision as a support to older people through its charities. There are over 30,000 almshouses in the UK and more than 1,000 new ones have been built in the last decade. Another 750 are in the pipeline, providing places of flourishing and support for the elderly. However, the complexities of the buildings themselves prohibit modern building standards being achieved. Will the Minister comment on whether Her Majesty’s Government will provide grants for local almshouse charities to upgrade their facilities within the complex planning frameworks associated with these buildings?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about stalled housing developments

On Monday 19th October the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on stalled housing developments:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Greenhalgh on 1 October (HL8296) and the White Paper Planning for the Future, published on 6 August, what assessment they have made of the reasons for low market absorption rates as the responsible factor for stalled developments. [HL8828] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about stalled housing developments”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government to speed up housebuilding process

On 13th October 2020 Baroness Thornhill asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the efficacy of the Housing Delivery Test.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the ambition of the White Paper Planning for the Future, to streamline planning permission and impose building targets on local authorities fails to address the existing slow build-out rate that occurs once planning permission ​has been granted. Will the Government add provisions to ensure that local authorities have adequate scope to alter centralised algorithmic targets in accordance with local supply capabilities and build-out rates? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to speed up housebuilding process”

Bishop of Rochester speaks against Government rule to resume eviction procedures

On 23rd September 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020.

Two Motions were also debated alongside the Rules. The first to annul them “because they will permit evictions of individuals who have been served a notice of eviction between 23 March and 28 August before Parliament has had an opportunity to debate the impact of the Rules on (1) homelessness, and (2) the spread of COVID-19”.

The second “that the House regrets that they…will not continue to protect tenants from eviction, and calls on the Government to amend the Housing Act 1998 to give courts temporary discretion on evictions, including on evictions arising from rent arrears”.

The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate and supported the motion to regret. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester speaks against Government rule to resume eviction procedures”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about accessible housing for elderly and those with disabilities

On 16th September 2020 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that any changes to the planning system will improve (1) building standards, (2) safety, (3) environmental impacts, and (4) the well-being of residents.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the latest English housing survey reveals that only 9% of our housing stock has key disability accessibility features. Disability in old age is frequent, and with the ONS estimating that one in four people will be aged 65 or over by 2050 it is vital that we cater for what we are going to need.

Although the recently announced government consultation into this issue is welcome, can the Minister confirm that prior to any changes in planning law, the recommendations of this consultation will be fully implemented to ensure that the vulnerable are not left behind? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about accessible housing for elderly and those with disabilities”

Bishop of Southwark presses Government on shortage of council housing and affordable homes

On 8th September 2020 Members of the House of Lords questioned the Government on their targets for new home building. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: The Minister will be aware that council housing lists are running at over 1 million, and in my diocese, private rental is a prohibitive drain on all but the most generous of incomes. Will he outline what proportion of the 300,000 new homes will be assigned to social housing? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark presses Government on shortage of council housing and affordable homes”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government to address needs of most disadvantaged in Coronavirus response strategy

On 28th July Baroness Neville-Rolfe asked Her Majesty’s Government “further to the paper by Professor David Miles, Mike Stead and Dr Adrian Heald Living with COVID-19: balancing costs against benefits in the face of the virus, published on 26 June, what plans they have to ensure that in the future fuller account is taken of the economic costs of any measures adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic such as lockdowns.” The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, asked a follow up question, focusing on those affected by the benefit cap and those housed in the private rented sector.

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, this is a complex matter, because economic, social and other community matters often go hand in hand. It is clear that many who have in these circumstances been bearing economic burdens are among those who are also the most socially disadvantaged. Bearing in mind the context of the forthcoming spending review, can the Minister give an assurance that the Government will take care to address the needs of such groups, including, for example, those affected by the benefit cap and those housed in the private rented sector, where repossession cases come before the courts again from later in August?

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Church Commissioner questions: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative

On 25th June 20202 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative. A transcript is below:

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government to increase social housing

On 16th June Baroness Sanderson of Welton asked Her Majesty’s Government “when they plan to publish the social housing White Paper“. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on the loss of social housing units.

The Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, these Benches welcome the upcoming White Paper, but we are still losing tens of thousands of social housing units annually, with a net loss of 17,000 in 2019 alone. Can the Minister confirm to your Lordships’ House that increasing social housing will be addressed in the White Paper, and is he able to give us some indication as to the steps that Her Majesty’s Government will implement to address this worrying decline?

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Bishop of Portsmouth asks the Government about housing for homeless after Covid-19

On 18th May 2020 a statement was given regarding housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow up question:

Bishop of PortsmouthThe Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, the Statement speaks of homes for all people as the Government’s vision, so I congratulate them on the funding they have made available which has allowed a huge amount to be done to support homeless people in a very short space of time. Does the Minister accept that withdrawing dedicated funding risks undermining all that has been achieved in providing housing as a first step towards the homeless having homes?

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