Votes: UK Internal Market Bill

On 9th December 2020 the House of Lords again considered the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill, after the Commons had considered – and rejected – amendments passed by the Lords.

Votes were held on Motions to disagree with the Commons and propose further amendments in their place. The Bishops of Leeds and Newcastle took part in two of those votes, details below: Continue reading “Votes: UK Internal Market Bill”

Bishop of Newcastle asks about effect on malaria vaccine of cut in development aid

On 9th December the Bishop of Newcastle asked a question in the House of Lords during exchanges on funding for developing a malaria vaccine:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his answers, but I am concerned that he cannot give a specific commitment that the cut in development aid funding will not affect the development of this vaccine.
Does the Minister accept that now is not the time to slacken our efforts in the search for a malaria vaccine? We have heard of hopeful improvements before, but history has shown that complacency and slacking off will lead to resurgence.
Does the Minister also accept that it has taken us more than four decades to recover the ground lost since the 1970s, when anti-malaria funding dried up, and that we must not allow that to happen again?

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Bishop of Worcester calls for national child poverty strategy

On 7th December 2020 the Bishop of Worcester asked a question of Government on social mobility and the need for a national child poverty strategy:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester [V]: My Lords, I speak today on behalf of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle, who has been delayed travelling to London. Like her, I am very aware of the relationship between child poverty and a lack of social mobility, but she has a special interest as independent chair of the North of Tyne Inclusive Economy Board. Child poverty is central to the Government’s levelling-up agenda. Since 35% of children in the north-east of England live in relative poverty, would the Minister tell us if Her Majesty’s Government will work with the Social Mobility Commission to develop a national child poverty strategy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about coastal communities in the North East

On 13 July the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, received a written answer to a question from Lord Greenhalgh on the Coastal Communities Fund.

Lord Bishop of Newcastle: HL6244 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of the Coastal Communities Fund has been spent since 2012 on regions (1) in the North East of England, and (2) north of the River Tyne in England.

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about PPE procurement approach

On 30th June the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, received a written answer to a question from Lord Bethell on the Government’s approach to PPE procurement.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: HL4148 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Bethell on 23 April (HL Deb, col 90), whether their approach to personal protective equipment procurement remains one of collaboration with local initiatives following the report in the Financial Times on 4 May that procurement is being nationalised.

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about post-lockdown rules on hymn singing in church

On 24th June Lord Farmer asked Her Majesty’s Government “when weddings will be able to take place in venues which enable social distancing and comply with other COVID-19 precautions”. The Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, asked a follow up question focusing on hymn singing in churches.

 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it is with great delight that we received news yesterday that weddings will once again be permitted. This will be an enormous joy to many couples and families all across England. As the Minister will know, hymns are most often a focal point of a wedding service. Given yesterday’s announcement about live performances, can he give us any more detailed guidance about singing in churches, both choral and congregational?

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about poverty in coastal areas

On 22nd June Lord McNally asked Her Majesty’s Government ” what measures they are taking to ensure that seaside resorts can respond to any increased demand for holidays in the United Kingdom.” The Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, asked a follow up question focusing on poverty in coastal areas.

 

Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, my diocese boasts some of the UK’s most beautiful coastline, and I welcome the Minister’s reassurances on the significance of tourism and the measures to be taken to aid it. However, many of the coastal communities in the north-east, in common with coastal towns elsewhere, are among the 10% most-deprived areas in England. What action do the Government propose to ensure that the present crisis will not make the inequality with non-coastal areas even greater?

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Bishop of Newcastle asks about mental health support for social care workforce

On 18th May 2020 the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, received a written answer to a question on mental health support for the social care workforce:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: HL3834 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans are in place to provide mental health support for the social care workforce (1) during, and (2) after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Covid-19: Bishop of Newcastle praises local efforts to produce PPE and asks Government about devolved production power

On 23rd April 2020 in a virtual sitting of the House of Lords Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked the Government “how many United Kingdom manufacturers are in place to ensure that an adequate supply of personal protective equipment is made available to (1) the National Health Service, and (2) carers, to all regions of the United Kingdom; and what direct contact they have had with such manufacturers based in the North of England.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, in view of the inability to supply sufficient PPE to where it is needed, despite the very best efforts of central government, will the Minister take note of the achievements of the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with Wingrove Motor Company, Northumbria University, Barbour and many others, to produce and deliver PPE directly to hospitals and hospices in the region? Will the Minister consider devolving more power to the regions and those on the front line?

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about safety of staff running care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices

In a House of Lords virtual sitting on 22nd April 2020 Baroness Wheeler asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the analysis by Care England which suggests that there have been significantly more deaths caused by Covid-19 in care homes than have been reported.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it is not just care homes facing these very serious challenges; I have learned that it is also hospices and sheltered accommodation, among other places. Managers responsible for those organisations are under enormous pressure trying to ensure safe staffing levels and the safety of their staff. I hope that sufficient PPE will soon be secured and distributed. Although I recognise the enormous challenge and the efforts that are being made towards that, in the immediate context where we do not have that, can the Minister tell us how the Government aim to advise and support those responsible for running our care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices, who are having to make such difficult decisions now and many of whom feel abandoned and rather lonely in that responsibility?

Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about safety of staff running care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices”