Church Commissioners’ Questions – Food Poverty, Rural Church Growth

On the 20th July 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered two oral questions to the Church Commissioners  in the House of Commons, on food poverty and on growing the rural church. A transcript of the questions and follow-up questions by MPs on other issues, are reproduced below.

The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked

 Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab):  What steps the Church of England is taking to tackle food poverty. [900618] 

Seventy-five per cent. of churches collect food, 38% provide volunteers, 29% help to manage a food bank, and 21% distribute food vouchers. Churches also work in partnership with organisations such as Citizens Advice and Christians Against Poverty to tackle the underlying causes of food poverty.

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Bishop of Peterborough calls for more effective delivery of mental health services

On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke during the final day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech, highlighting the need for a more effective approach to delivery of mental health services:

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, it is perplexing, given Mrs May’s commitment to mental health, that there is no mental health Bill in the Queen’s Speech, not least given the very strong commitments that were made about the need for legislation and the fact that this would happen. What there is in the Queen’s Speech about mental health is good, though it is vague. I hope that it is translated into more money for mental health, but it also needs to be translated into better delivery and accountability. That is what is lacking and what I want to think about for a moment. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough calls for more effective delivery of mental health services”

Bishop of Peterborough asks about human rights abuses in North Korea

On the 26th June 2017, Lord Alton asked ‘what action they are taking, in collaboration with the International Criminal Court, or through the creation of appropriate tribunals, to bring to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity’. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister asked a further question relating to North Korea.

PeterboroughFeb2017a

Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, in 2014 the United Nations commission on human rights abuses in North Korea declared that these were without parallel in the modern world, citing numerous cases of murder, rape and disappearances. Yet nothing has been brought to the international court or to any other regional tribunal. Why is nobody being held accountable? Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough asks about human rights abuses in North Korea”

Bishop of Peterborough raises concerns about changes to bereavement benefits for parents of children

On 6th April 2017 Baroness Altmann asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they will reconsider changes to bereavement benefits for parents with dependent children.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question. The Bishop had been amongst the signatories of a letter from all sides of the House calling on the Government to reconsider its proposals.

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I too signed the letter to the Secretary of State. I fully accept that the system needed reform, but those of us who spend a lot of time looking after people in bereavement know that a widowed parent may sometimes have to spend several years giving considerable extra time, attention and care to the children. In practice, that may necessitate working only part-time for a number of years while children are still at home. Previously in this House there was an assurance that income-related benefits would be there to support such parents, but under universal credit that is not so simple. Can the Minister reassure us that bereaved parents will not be subject to the in-work conditionality requirements that apply under universal credit? Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough raises concerns about changes to bereavement benefits for parents of children”

Votes: Higher Education Regulations 2016

On 5th April, a vote took place on a Regret Motion tabled by Labour’s Lord Stevenson of Balmacara to two Regulations changing student loan terms and amounts. The Bishop of Peterborough took part. Continue reading “Votes: Higher Education Regulations 2016”

Bishop of Peterborough asks about long term support to rebuild Syria

PeterboroughFeb2017aOn 5th April 2017, Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they are intending to respond to the chemical attack seemingly carried out by the Syrian Government on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about future international efforts to rebuild Syria after peace is secured in the area.

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough My Lords, as the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday, we on these Benches mourn with the people of Idlib and we pray for justice and an end to violence. However, if and when peace is finally secured in the region, the scale of suffering and damage experienced by the people of Syria over the past six years will demand enormous and costly international effort if Syria is to be rebuilt. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit not just to supporting the people of Syria in the short term but to supporting the decades-long process of restoration that will inevitably be needed once the present crisis is over? Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough asks about long term support to rebuild Syria”

Bishop of Peterborough asks Government about progress towards eradicating leprosy

14.02 PeterboroughOn the 3rd April 2017, Baroness Hayman tabled a debate in the House of Lords, asking the Government “what is their assessment of progress made in combating neglected tropical diseases since the London Declaration made in January 2012.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, highlighted the lack of progress towards the eradication of leprosy. Lord Bates responded on behalf of the Department for International Development.
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