On 25th March 2015 the Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in a debate in the House of Lords on NHS public contracts regulations. The Bishop raised concerns over the haste with which the regulations had been brought forward. The text of his contirbution is below, followed by the relevant sections of the Minister’s response:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, for bringing this Motion. I will speak only very briefly because he has given most of the detail and said most of what I want to say, particularly about the confusion in the tendering and commissioning process. Integrating health and social care is obviously right—I very strongly support it—but why the rush? Why not do it slowly and carefully? If I understand aright, Scotland has entered a lengthy, considered stakeholder consultation and will finalise its regulations on health and social care at the same time, by April 2016, along with the majority of EU member states. So why do we have to go so quickly? I do not understand the rush in one-half of the equation, which unbalances the whole thing.
On 25th March 2015 Lord Phillips of Sudbury asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they would establish a Royal Commission to investigate threats to community life in the United Kingdom and their effects; and to recommend counter-measures. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a supplementary quesion:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, community life struggles and suffers very much in rural areas as well as in urban areas. While welcoming the promise of a 95% rollout of superfast broadband, does the Minister appreciate that the other 5% represents more than 3 million people who are almost all in rural areas and will not have access to superfast broadband or, all too often, to post offices, gas supplies, public transport, local schools and so on? Is this not the time to have a royal commission?
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Lords Spokesperson, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills): My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is correct when he says that some of the infrastructure in rural communities, such as shops, schools, and post offices in particular, is their lifeblood. I commend the rural communities in, for example, Cumbria that have done their own social action project to make sure that broadband gets to their communities. The right reverend Prelate is right that the remaining 5% of the population do not having superfast broadband, but the Government are working on that.
“It is our duty and responsibility in this place to care for what we in the church call the “common good”—to care for the well-being of society and, not least, of young people.”- Bishop of Peterborough, 16/3/15
On 16th March the Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in a debate on the motion to approve the ‘Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015’, to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. The Bishop argued that the measure is necessary to safeguard the health of young people in the UK. The motion to approve the Regulations was passed.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I, too, was not planning to speak, but I am most grateful to the Minister for bringing this measure before us. I will make a very simple point. Packaging is designed to make the contents of the package attractive. This is about changing culture and changing the way that people think about tobacco and smoking. We all know the health arguments—they are indisputable and very clear. However, many young people, in particular, are still led astray and into dangerous behaviour—into self-harming of a very subtle but difficult sort.
On the 20th January 2015 Baroness Kidron asked her Majestiy’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that arts subjects have equal weighting in the new Progress 8 measure. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the encouragement of arts or liberal humanities subjects is for the benefit of human flourishing and is also essential for preventing the development of extremism in religion and politics, and is therefore to be positively encouraged by government?
Lord Nash: I agree entirely with the right reverend Prelate. A rich cultural education, a knowledge of history and an understanding of British values are all part of a good education and should help combat any temptation to radical ways of life.
On 11th November 2014, Lord Haske asked Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the report by the Resolution Foundation Low Pay Britain 2014.The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, now that the economy is picking up, will the Minister comment on the living wage and on whether the Government believe that the minimum wage really is enough?
Lord Ashton of Hyde: The right reverend Prelate is right to bring this subject up. The minimum wage is a minimum as a catch-all; the Government support people and businesses paying above that, if they can pay the living wage, but only when it is affordable and not at the expense of jobs. In BIS, the department I represent, we have recently increased the pay of the lowest-paid workers in the department so that everyone receives the living wage. We support that as long as it is not at the expense of jobs.
On 21st October 2014, Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to ensure a fair admissions policy in schools.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Rev Donald Allister, asked a supplementary question:
“There is great evil in the North Korean regime, which the civilised world cannot simply ignore…not to do anything about evil on this scale is to collude with it” – Bishop of Peterborough, 23/7/14
On 23 July 2014 Lord Alton of Liverpool tabled a debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government ‘what was their response to the work of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’.
The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, spoke about the importance of keeping diplomatic channels open, the situation of the Christian population in North Korea and the need to keep up pressure over human rights abuses. Drawing on his experiences of visiting South Korea, he spoke about the growth of Christianity there and the Anglican Church’s initiative, TOPIK—Towards Peace in Korea. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough highlights human rights abuses in North Korea”
On 18th March 2014 Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the findings of the United Nations commission of inquiry into human rights in North Korea.”
The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Rev Donald Allister, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, can the Minister confirm recent reports of the possible execution of 33 people for allegedly plotting to overthrow the regime by their association with the South Korean missionary, Kim Jung-wook? What efforts are being made to urge the North Korean authorities not to proceed with such executions and to respect freedom of religion?
Baroness Warsi: We are aware of these terrible reports. Of course, this relates to the suspicion that these individuals were involved with the creation of an underground church under the support of Kim Jung-wook, a South Korean who was arrested by the DPRK last year. As noble Lords are aware, freedom of religion and belief is a key priority for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and we make those views clear to the North Koreans. I am sure that the right reverend Prelate will accept that we have only so many mechanisms with which to make our opinions known on this matter.