Archbishop commends response of faith communities and emergency services to Grenfell Tower Fire

On 22nd June 2017 the Leader of the House of Commons repeated a Government statement on the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke after the statement:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome the Statement and the eventual comprehensive response, and I particularly welcome the speech given by the noble Baroness, the Leader of the Opposition, which was especially powerful and helpful. Having been with voluntary groups at the Grenfell Tower during the day following the fire, I have two questions.

First, one of the fire officers we were talking to said, “This is the third once-in-a-generation event in a few weeks”. The number of emergency service people, who for the third time in a very few weeks put their lives on the line and found themselves in a situation of the most absolute horror, seeking to save the victims who were caught in the fire as well as in the previous terrorist incidents, is much higher than would normally be expected. Continue reading “Archbishop commends response of faith communities and emergency services to Grenfell Tower Fire”

Bishop of St Albans asks about local business rates

stalbans190117On 1st March 2017, the Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question to Lord Kennedy of Southwark’s oral question on business rates. Lord Kennedy asked what action the government proposed to take in light of concerns expressed about the increases in business rates.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, will the Minister inform the House whether Her Majesty’s Government would look at the feasibility of setting the threshold of business rate relief at a local level, thereby protecting small independent businesses, many of which are now at risk, especially in high-value areas? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about local business rates”

Bishop of Birmingham speaks in Lords debate on Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

On 29th November 2016, Lord Young of Cookham moved that the House take note of the economy in the light of the Autumn Statement. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke in the debate:

Bishop of St Albans asks about localism and Starter Homes

Bishop St Albans June 2015On 7th March 2016, Lord Shipley asked the Government “what is their definition of affordable housing.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question and Baroness Williams of Trafford responded. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about localism and Starter Homes”

Bishop of Derby speaks in debate on local democracy

On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Shipley “that this House takes note of local democracy in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.

Derby 191115cLord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, it is a great privilege on behalf of the House to welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, and to thank her for an expert and excellent speech—a great harbinger of what she will bring to the House.

 I feel connected with all the maiden speeches today. I was once Bishop of Spalding and worked with great joy in the area of South Holland, where the noble Lord, Lord Porter, was leader of the district council, and I had the privilege of serving with the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, on a Select Committee, so it is good to welcome both of them too. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks in debate on local democracy”

Bishop of Durham praises local partnerships in the north east

On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Shipley “that this House takes note of local democracy in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate about the local authorities in the Durham diocese and partnership work with voluntary and civil society organisations.

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, on his excellent maiden speech and I look forward to listening to other maiden speeches later. What right does a bishop have to say anything about local democracy? Let me give some quick history. I was a curate in Wandsworth in the 1980s when the borough became either a cause celebre or something else, depending on how you thought about it. I then moved to the London Borough of Newham and experienced a democratically elected autocracy that avoided dictatorship because of the extremely fine leadership of Stephen Timms, who now, of course, serves as an MP in the other place. I then moved to the London Borough of Waltham Forest and worked both as team rector and as area dean on issues of social cohesion, through creating an interfaith project and through working on children’s and young people’s issues and on housing and homelessness. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham praises local partnerships in the north east”

Bishop of Derby on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill

On the 8th June 2015 Peers debated the Government’s Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate. He raised the potential for inequality arising from urban areas being prioritised over rural ones, the changing role of London and the reality of people’s growing involvement in local politics. The text of his speech is below:

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for her very clear introduction to the Bill and for showing us how it can be a creative, flexible way into the future. It ticks many of the boxes that we are concerned about today: localism, devolution, inclusivity, electoral accountability and enabling growth. I will make three very short points and ask three questions of the Minister. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill”

Prayers at Council Meetings – Bishop of Leicester speaks in support of Bill in the Lords

On 13th March 2015 the House of Lords debated the Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill, a Private Members’ Bill from Jake Berry MP, sponsored in the Lords by Lord Cormack.

The Bill, which has already completed its passage through the House of Commons, would “make provision about the inclusion at local authority meetings of observances that are, and about powers of local authorities in relation to events that to any extent are, religious or related to a religious or philosophical belief.” 

The Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, spoke in support of the Bill during a debate on a series of amendments to it, tabled by opponents. The Bill passed through Committee unamended.

ThLeicestere Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, perhaps I should declare an interest, having just led the Prayers in this Chamber. Continue reading “Prayers at Council Meetings – Bishop of Leicester speaks in support of Bill in the Lords”

Bishop of Truro leads debate on local welfare assistance for those in crisis

On 10th February 2015, the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Tim Thornton, led a debate in the House of Lords on local welfare assistance schemes and help for those in crisis. The full text of his speech is below, followed by those of Peers who participated. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster, also spoke in the debate towards the end.

Welfare Assistance Schemes

Question for Short Debate

7.30 pm

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Truro

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that local welfare assistance schemes provide effective support to people in crisis and will continue to be able to do so.Bishop of Truro 20.6.13

The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed for this opportunity to raise a very important issue by putting some questions to the Government on, and raising matters relating to, local welfare assistance schemes. In doing so, I declare my interest that I am chair of the Children’s Society, a national charity which has conducted quite a lot of research in this area and to which I shall refer. Continue reading “Bishop of Truro leads debate on local welfare assistance for those in crisis”

Bishop of Worcester calls for greater communication over local welfare assistance schemes

On 10th February 2015, Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government what has been the response to their consultation on the future financing of local welfare assistance schemes. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked a supplementary question:

WorcesterThe Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, the Minister might be aware that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Truro has secured a debate on this issue this evening, which I welcome. In the mean time, in the absence of ring-fencing, will the Minister undertake to write to local authorities to highlight the £129 million allocation for local welfare provisions within the local government settlement, and the additional £74 million to which reference has been made, to ensure that local authorities have the resources they need to assist those most in need, and to encourage them to use them?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: In response to the right reverend Prelate, as I said earlier, I am of course aware of the debate and look forward to that later today. It is for local authorities to set their priorities, and we have been responding directly to local authorities; it was part of the consultation after the initial settlement. I myself met with several local authorities. The issue of welfare provision was high on their list, and the Government have responded accordingly.