“We live in a culture that is rightly concerned about safeguarding. We are concerned rightly about the safeguarding of children at the moment. We have to get up to speed with the safeguarding of vulnerable adults, many of whom are in exploited forced labour.”
On 30th October 2014, Baroness Kennedy of Cradley led a short debate in the House of Lords to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to combat slavery in supply chains nationally and internationally. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, a former member of the Joint Select Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill, spoke in the debate. He argued that there is a deep underlying tension between economic activity and treatment of the individual, which the modern slave trade has exploited. He also asked the Minister a number of questions regarding the strengthing of reporting and best practice in supply chains.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, for securing this debate and for her excellent introduction that laid out the ground clearly. I want to make some remarks from my experience of working with victims, the police and other agencies within our national context. We have just heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, about the sheer horror of the way in which human beings are being treated in our own country.
I begin by welcoming Karen Bradley’s recent announcement that there will be amendments to secure proper reporting and disclosure. The key will be the level of reporting and the size of the company. I also welcome the strong support from many leaders in our industries. On the Select Committee, the people who represented Primark and Tesco, for instance, were supportive of a framework to require proper reporting and accountability, which would help their business case and standing in the community. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on slavery and its use in supply chains”
On 18th August 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received answers to five written questions on the topics of housing benefit, human trafficking and forced labour.
Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase the availability of suitable housing for housing benefit claimants eligible for the under-occupancy charge who are willing but unable to move to smaller accommodation due to a lack of social housing available.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon): The 2015-18 Affordable Housing Programme encourages housing providers to build social homes of sizes that match local household needs. Of the successful bids so far, 77% have been for 1 and 2 bedroom homes. This will make more housing available for households in social housing who wish to downsize.
The Government has also taken steps to support mobility among tenants in the social rented sector. Our social housing reforms have given councils and social landlords much more flexibility in the allocation of housing. Our statutory guidance on social housing allocations encourages local authorities to prioritise under-occupying tenants wishing to move, and to consider whether there are provisions in their allocation scheme that might make it difficult for under-occupiers to move. In February, we issued a guide to help landlords facilitate mutual exchanges; the guide highlights various steps landlords can take to make mutual exchange a more attractive and viable proposition for tenants. The introduction of the national HomeSwap Direct scheme has made it easier for tenants wanting to move to find a suitable property. Since its launch in October 2011, tenants have carried out over 18 million searches of the property data held on HomeSwap Direct. The Government has also made clear its intention to introduce a Right to Move for social tenants who need to move to take up a job or be closer to work – we intend to consult soon on proposals.
In addition, many social landlords (both housing associations and councils) are helping affected tenants to move to more suitable accommodation by holding “mutual exchange fairs” (where tenants who want to downsize can meet with tenants who want a larger property), running transfer incentive schemes, and repairing properties which are being swapped through mutual exchange.
On 21st July 2014, the Church of England’s Foreign Policy Adviser, Dr Charles Reed, gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee for the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The transcript of the evidence session, at which Dr Reed and Cecilia Taylor-Camara (Head of the Bishops Conference Office for Migration Policy, Catholic Bishops for England and Wales) gave evidence, is reproduced in full below.
Q24The Chair: For this session we have until 4.45 pm. Will the witnesses please introduce themselves for the record?
Cecilia Taylor-Camara: I am Cecilia Taylor-Camara, senior policy adviser to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
The Chair: I ask the witnesses to speak up a little. This is rather a large room and the sound is not brilliant, so please shout if necessary.
On 17th July 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a number of questions on the floor of the House of Commons, during the monthly Church Commissioner Questions slot. He answered questions on food banks, church and cathedral repairs, human trafficking and women bishops. He also answered a written question on Church Commissioners ICT. A full transcript of the session is reproduced below:
Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): What support the Church of England is giving to food banks.
“Our challenge will be: how does the state craft a strategy that delivers mercy?” – Bishop of Derby, 9/6/14
In the fourth response from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, on 9th June 2014 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, welcomed the Modern Slavery Bill and, as a former member of the committee that examined the draft bill, made some suggestions for how it could be improved even more.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I should like to offer some comments on the welcome proposal set out by the Government in the gracious Speech to introduce the modern slavery Bill. I had the privilege of serving on the Joint Select Committee with other Members of your Lordships’ House under the superb chairmanship of Frank Field MP, and we all came to an agreement on a number of important issues. I want to comment on and offer some suggestions as to how we might handle the debate on this important topic, not least because much of the world is looking to see the terms in which such a Bill might be couched and how it is introduced. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby welcomes Modern Slavery Bill during Queen’s Speech debate”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed the publication today of the report and draft Bill by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery.
The Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, was a member of the Joint Select Committee, and the report can be read in full here. In March 2014, the Archbishop also gave his backing to the Global Freedom Network, an ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. You can read more about the Global Freedom Network here.
Archbishop Justin said: “I strongly welcome the report and draft Bill published today by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Modern Slavery, which has cross-party support. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Committee’s members for their efforts, and I would like to extend particular thanks to my colleague Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby, for his participation in the Committee’s work.