Bishop of Durham responds to spending round with need for focus on society’s most vulnerable

19.01.07 durham bOn 25th September 2019 the House of Lords took note of the Government’s Spending Round 2019. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate:

Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, like others, I welcome the fact that we are able to hold a debate on the spending round 2019. When the political point-scoring is redacted from the Chancellor’s original Statement, as I note it is on the GOV.UK website, there are aspects to welcome in the overall spending increase and some of the specific commitments. I am pleased that the Chancellor recognised in his speech that in the nation there are anxieties and divisions,

“between regions and communities, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old”,—[Official Report, Commons, 4/9/2019; col. 180.]

and between black and white. The test for me is always around the impact of spending on the most vulnerable in our society. It is this that leads me to ask some questions.

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Bishop of Leeds highlights support for One Yorkshire devolution deal

On 17th October 2018 Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘whether they will respond to the One Yorkshire proposals for devolution to a Combined Yorkshire Authority.’ The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question: 

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, we take the point about the Sheffield city region, but it leaves the rest of Yorkshire wondering where it fits in, and when this will improve for it. We have failing rail infrastructure. In Yorkshire, we have almost total, widespread support for the One Yorkshire devolution deal. A report produced by the Institute for Government has referred to Yorkshire as,

“the hole in the northern powerhouse”.

Although delighted that Sheffield might thrive, the rest of Yorkshire wonders what will happen to it. We are falling behind Manchester and Liverpool in our ability to flex in the economics of the country. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds highlights support for One Yorkshire devolution deal”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about economy, infrastructure and devolution in the north and Yorkshire

On 16th October 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to five questions about housing, immigration, the economy and devolution in the north and Yorkshire:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of large housing developments with insufficient infrastructure and amenities on community cohesion, social capital, and social inclusion.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the level of immigration required, if any, to support the Northern Powerhouse.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in addition to their devolution programme for cities, what steps they are taking to promote the rural economy.

(iv)  To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, Time for Change: A New Vision for the British Economy, what assessment they have made of the potential for the Northern Powerhouse to restructure the national economy.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Yorkshire councils’ “coalition of the willing” to secure a single devolution deal for Yorkshire.

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Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east

durham-230117On 26th June 2017, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He argued for the importance of investment in the North-East of England and including all groups in discussions around Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse and the Industrial Strategy.

Bishop of Durham: My Lords, perhaps I may add my welcome from these Benches to the noble Lord in his role as Minister. I also look forward to hearing the maiden speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Colgrain and Lord Mountevans, which will be made during this debate.

Since arriving in Durham, I have been struck that life feels more precarious for many in the north-east than it does elsewhere. There are lots of reasons for hope, not least the social regeneration in my home town of Bishop Auckland, but the sense of precariousness persists due to deep structural disadvantages that the region has faced for decades, even centuries. It is against this backdrop that some of the changes to welfare in the last Parliament felt particularly acute and remain of very deep concern. It is also against this backdrop that the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiation is felt. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east”

Bishop of Leeds calls for greater integration and connectivity in northern communities

 The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, many of the points I wanted to make have already been made, and I will not repeat them, but I do want to emphasise one or two points. When we talk about the north, I sometimes think it is a bit like the way we talk about Africa, as if it was one monolithic place. The north is not. It is very diverse, differentiated and complex. For example, we have heard about Bradford having a very young population, 23.6% being under the age of 16. Where are the jobs for them?

Archbishop of York calls for investment and devolution for the north of England

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Queen’s Speech: Bishop of Newcastle gives maiden speech

On 25th May 2016 the House of Lords held its fifth day of debate the Queen’s Speech. During the debate the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, gave her maiden speech, becoming the second female bishop to speak in the House of Lords. As well as introducing herself to the House she addressed the Government’s life chances strategy, and regional growth in the North. Her speech is below in full, alongside responses from Peers.Newcastle 5

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, the theological understanding of grace is of the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to deserve it. In these early days in your Lordships’ House, it is grace that I have experienced—wonderful kindness and a warmth of welcome from your Lordships, the staff and all who work in this place. It has been entirely undeserved but a truly heart-warming experience. It will be no surprise to your Lordships that one of the loveliest and warmest welcomes came from the late Lord Walton—a fine and godly man, and a distinguished son of the north-east.