On 4th April 2019 the House of Lords considered the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill, which sought to require the Prime Minister to request a later exit date from the European Union and a further extension of the Article 50 period. Continue reading “Votes: European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 5) Bill”
On 3rd April 2019 the Minister for Equalities, Baroness Williams of Trafford, repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, about the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, responded with a follow up question about religious literacy in determining asylum applications:
Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, while grateful for the Statement and the compensation scheme, I have a particular concern to raise with the Minister. We have recently seen publicity about very poor decisions on immigration made in the Home Office, suggesting that decisions are being made by staff who are perhaps too junior or not adequately trained. Can we be assured that there will be enough staff working on this scheme who are of sufficient seniority and adequately trained?
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord McInnes, for raising this important Question. I draw attention to my non-financial interest as a vice-president of the Leprosy Mission. I hasten to add that, to the best of my knowledge, that excellent organisation has not been infected by the scourge of corruption.
However, all of us involved in third sector aid must be vigilant and realistic about the temptations even for those whose careers and lives are essentially altruistic. The diocese I serve used to have what the Anglican Communion calls a companion link with a diocese in a very poor area of a very poor African country, where corruption is rife at all levels. We found it extremely difficult to support church work, rural clinics, schools and so on without significant amounts of money going astray—despite our best efforts as required by the Finance Act 2010 and by our own ethical standards.
On 1st April 2019 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Government “whether they will take immediate steps to tackle the issue of rough sleeping.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I thank the Minister for the answers he has given so far and for the Government’s investment. In the city of Peterborough we have seen, as in many other places, a large increase in rough sleeping. The third sector groups, including the churches, have been doing a great deal to support rough sleepers, but one of the problems we are very conscious of is how tight money is for local government. Does he agree that local government financial settlements could be part of the solution, with targeted money to local government specifically to help rough sleepers?
On 27th November 2018 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL]. Two bishops took part in a vote on an amendment from Baroness Watkins of Tavistock: Continue reading “Votes – Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill”
On 25th June 2018 Lord Fox tabled an oral question ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Apprenticeship Levy.’ The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, is the Minister aware that for small businesses and voluntary organisations the process of drawing up the standards is very complicated and time-consuming, that there is little guidance on this and no financial help for it from government, and that since the levy was introduced the grant for apprenticeships has fallen from £6,000 for an 18-year-old to £2,500, so the YMCA tells me? That makes it unviable for the YMCA to offer apprenticeships. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough questions effectiveness of Apprenticeship levy”
On 12th June 2018 the House of Lords voted on a motion from the Senior Deputy Speaker (Lord McFall of Alcluith):
“that Baroness Anelay of St Johns be appointed a member of the Select Committee in the place of Lord Balfe, resigned.” Continue reading “Vote: International Relations Committee Appointment”