Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about improving access to mental health care for children and young people

On 25th March 2019 the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a question she had tabled, on child and adolescent mental health services:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to improve children’s and young people’s access to mental health care.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care (Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford) (Con): My Lords, the NHS is on track to meet the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health commitment that 70,000 more children and young people will access treatment each year by 2020-21. Under the NHS Long Term Plan, a further 345,000 children and young people will receive support by 2023-24. Our recent Green Paper sets out our plans to pilot a four-week waiting time for specialist NHS mental health services for children and young people.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her remarks and welcome the commitment to prioritising investment in mental health care for children and young people. However, data published by the NHS in November showed that only one in four young people with a mental health disorder accessed specialist mental health services in the previous year. I welcome plans from the Government to increase this figure to 100% within the decade, but given that three-quarters of children with a diagnosable mental health condition do not currently get access to the support they need, how will the Government act to help this generation of children who will have moved on to adult services before this rollout is complete?

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Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about hate crime in schools and vandalism at Bahr Academy

On 13th February 2019 the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, received a written answer to a question on hate crime in schools and the specific case of the vandalism at Bahr Academy in her diocese:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to tackle hate crime in schools; and what assessment they have made of the recent incident of vandalism at Bahr Academy.

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Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders

On 6th February 2019 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Offensive Weapons Bill in its third day of Committee. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Chrisine Hardman spoke against Government amendments to create new Knife Crime Prevention Orders. The amendments were withdrawn following the debate, but the Minister indicated they were likely to be returned to again at a later stage:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: Before becoming Bishop of Newcastle, I was an archdeacon in south-east London. In my archdeaconry, sadly, was Eltham, where Stephen Lawrence died. I do not, therefore, underestimate the sheer heartbreak and devastation of knife crime, particularly when young people are involved. This crime is growing and growing. I have sat with families whose children have been victims of knife crime. I have officiated at a funeral where that has been the case. The circles of devastation and heartbreak just go on and on. I do not underestimate the seriousness of this problem; nevertheless, I object to this amendment and hope that it will be withdrawn, so that there is more time to reflect on it. Continue reading “Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders”

Bishop of Newcastle calls for improved rail services and infrastructure in the north east

On 23rd January 2019 Lord Teverson asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to improve rail service reliability in 2019.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, the latest quarterly statistics released from the Office of Rail and Road show that the London North Eastern Railway has suffered its worst punctuality levels in over a decade and came second—not an honour—on the list of the 10 worst train services for punctuality. As my noble friend Lord Cormack said, we had hopes for the new Azuma trains, but there is a lack of investment in infrastructure in the north—the signalling systems north of York are over 30 years old. Will the Minister tell us when the necessary infrastructure works will take place in order for these trains to run as they should to serve the people of the north-east and Scotland?

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Bishop of Newcastle asks about steps to reduce hardship in Universal Credit areas

On 12th December 2018 the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, received a written answer to a question on hardship and the impact on debt & health in Universal Credit pilot areas:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking (1) to address hardship caused in Universal Credit pilot areas, and (2) to ensure that the same impacts on debt and health are not caused by the future roll-out of Universal Credit. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks about steps to reduce hardship in Universal Credit areas”

Bishop of Newcastle supports creation of North of Tyne Combined Authority

Newcastle - Grand CommitteeOn the 30th October 2018 the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, spoke in support of the Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland Combined Authority (Establishment and Functions) Order 2018. 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I welcome this proposal for a North of Tyne combined authority. I was present when the minded-to agreement was signed and there was a real sense of purposeful energy around the room. I agree with my noble friends Lord Beecham and Lord Shipley who talked about the level of investment that this combined authority will pull in; it is good, but very modest. I hope that nobody, including the Minister, will feel that this is anything like a sufficient answer to the critical lack of investment in the north-east. This development is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a proper level of investment in the north-east economy. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle supports creation of North of Tyne Combined Authority”

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression

On Tuesday 9th October 2018 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate to seek assurances on freedom of thought and expression: 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, first I too want to say how much I am looking forward to the maiden speeches of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, and the noble Lord, Lord Tyrie. The noble ​Lord, Lord Tyrie, will be well acquainted with these Benches, having worked closely with my most reverend brother the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which the noble Lord so ably chaired.

In opening this debate, the Minister spoke powerfully and movingly about the terrible consequences of terror, the effect on people’s lives, the suffering that is lifelong for people. It is in this context that I broadly welcome the Bill. I certainly recognise the difficulty of drafting and steering this kind of legislation. It is to walk something of a tightrope, as described by the noble Lord, Lord Marks. The current national security situation is complex, as is seen so sharply in our news headlines this morning. At Second Reading, I would like us to stay alert to that tightrope we walk, to proportionality and, perhaps especially, to the danger of unintended consequences. Continue reading “Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression”