Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes

Seven bishops signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper, printed on 14th September 2017, voicing concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes. Four of the signatories were Lords Spiritual:

Local welfare assistance schemes are a vital lifeline for people who find themselves in a crisis and without basic essentials, such as food, electricity, or a working oven. It is therefore very worrying that most of these schemes have been cut back considerably in recent years and that 26 local councils have now closed them altogether, including in many areas that we represent (English councils’ local welfare schemes in ‘meltdown’, 12 September). Continue reading “Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Portsmouth says Government plans show modesty of ambition

portsmouth-180117-bOn 26th June 2017, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster, contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He used his speech to implore the government to use this parliamentary session to do more for those in his diocese and around the country.

Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, the Prime Minister has spoken of the awful events of recent weeks as signs of a society not at ease with itself. Yet amidst the tragedy and the pain, we see hope and the victory of hope. We have seen a remarkable depth of love and shared resolve, especially between faiths. We have been deeply moved by how people have responded to evil with generosity, openness and humility. I was struck by the force and feeling with which the Prime Minister used that last word in the debate in the other place on the gracious Speech. Humility is not a term frequently associated with politicians by the public. True, circumstances have left the Government with little choice but to take the humbler part, but that is no reason for cynicism. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Portsmouth says Government plans show modesty of ambition”

Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about child poverty, two-child limit and benefit support

On 7th April 2017 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, received three written answers from Government about levels of child poverty, the two-child limit and benefit support:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the impact of the recent increase in inflation on the number of children in poverty; and what plans they have for protecting low income families against the rising cost of basic essentials. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about child poverty, two-child limit and benefit support”

Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – that the Bill should not proceed

On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Third Reading. A vote was called on a Liberal Democrat motion that the Bill should not pass.Six Lords Spiritual took part in the vote. 
Continue reading “Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – that the Bill should not proceed”

Votes: EU (notification of Withdrawal) Bill – parliamentary approval of Brexit deal

On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report. A vote was called on a cross-party amendment to give parliament an approval vote on a negotiated Brexit deal. Ten bishops took part.  Continue reading “Votes: EU (notification of Withdrawal) Bill – parliamentary approval of Brexit deal”

Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth moves amendment on support for students with disabilities

portsmouth-180117-bOn 18th January 2016, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Portsmouth spoke to propose an amendment on behalf of the Bishop of Ely about giving special consideration for those with disabilities within the criteria for approving and reviewing student protection plans. The amendment was withdrawn after the debate, following encouragement from the Minister that the issue deserved greater inspection. Below is his speech and a section of the Minister’s reply.

The Lord the Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, my colleague and right reverend friend the Bishop of Ely is unable to be in his place, but has asked me to bring before your Lordships Amendment 134A. I and he welcome the Minister’s assurances thus far for disabled students. It is very welcome that he intends to publish guidance to ensure that higher education institutions are best able to fulfil their duties to disabled students.

Continue reading “Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth moves amendment on support for students with disabilities”

Bishop of Portsmouth calls for review of defence priorities in light of changing global situation

On the 12th January Lord Robertson of Port Ellen hosted a debate “that this House takes note of the future capability of the United Kingdom’s armed forces in the current international situation”. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster,  highlighted the need for a new Strategic Defence and Security Review, alongside recognition of new partnership and leadership roles.

BishPortsspeechtaxcreditsThe Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, agree with it or not, Brexit was a decision to determine our own path. This debate requires us to consider critically whether we have the capacity to determine our own strategic path in the realm of defence and security. The extent of our global reach must reflect our economic and strategic interests as well as our security and military concerns in these changing times, which now make these considerations, as one analyst has put it, “supercharged”.

My anxiety is that there is a gap, if not sometimes a gulf, between rhetoric about our concerns and ambitions on the one hand and our constrained capability on the other.

Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth calls for review of defence priorities in light of changing global situation”