On 4th February 2015, Liberal Democrat Peer Lord German led a question for short debate in the House of Lords, to ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the results of the review into the setting of universal credit conditionality when children are in distress. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, took part in the debate. Speaking from personal experiences, the Bishop spoke of the need to provide greater flexibility and generosity in the suspension of conditionality of universal credit payments when children are in distress, particularly in circumstances where a child has lost a parent.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord German, for prompting this debate about the review of universal credit when children are in distress. I speak this evening particularly about the distressing and challenging circumstances of the death of a parent, carer or sibling. I speak not only because I have experience as a priest alongside parents in such situations, as do so many of my clergy colleagues, and because I now support clergy in my diocese of Portsmouth ministering to those facing such deaths, but because of personal experience in my family. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth speaks in debate on Universal Credit conditionality”
On the 22nd January 2015 the Bishop of Portsmouth spoke during a debate on the Local Government Finance Settlement. Bishop Christopher spoke about the issues of local welfare provision and thanked the Government for including notional provision for the continuation of local welfare provision in the current settlement. The Bishop went on to ask the Government to maintain or ring-fence the local welfare allocation to ensure that those in crisis need are helped.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I welcome this debate on the implications and challenges of the local government settlement. On these Benches, and indeed in the whole House, we look forward to the maiden speeches of the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, and of my colleague and friend, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark. I look forward to that for many reasons, not least that he was a senior curate in the diocese that I now serve. He is the most recent in this House of a long line of able clergy nurtured and grown in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth speaks about the Local Government Finance Settlement”
“I pray, and not just hope, that, as we approach further substantial cuts in public spending, the aspiration for the nation will be enjoyed by the many and not just those who now benefit from the welcome but modest steps that the Chancellor has taken.”
On 4th December 2014 the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in a take-note debate in the House of Lords on the Autumn Statement and measures to promote economic growth and to support businesses in the United Kingdom. In his speech, the Bishop welcomed the Chancellor’s wish to back the aspiration of many to save, work and own a home, but noted that there are still many barriers to this being possible for all.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, it is a pleasure to add to others’ my welcome to the noble Lord, Lord Rose, in eager anticipation of his maiden speech. The Statement of the right honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer has been welcomed and applauded in some quarters and criticised in others for its emphasis on what it means for individuals and families, as well as for the national economy. I am glad to see specific, though limited, encouragement for some individuals and welcome support for some often overlooked but important groups in society. The most noticeable and eye-catching announcements yesterday highlighted the changes to stamp duty, ISAs, fuel duty and air passenger tax. For some in our communities, these will be welcome news after an extended and extending period of fiscal tightening and often reduced disposable income. There will, however, be changes—as those on these Benches serving all parts of England know—that will make little or no difference to many who would echo the Chancellor’s wish to back the aspiration to save, work and own a home. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth responds to the Autumn Statement”
On 15th November 2014, three bishops voted on an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendment, tabled by Labour peer Lord Adonis, sought to create a National Infrastructure Commission, based on recommendations made by Sir John Armitt in his independent review into national infrastructure for the Labour Party.
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, and the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, voted ‘content’ with the amendment. No bishop voted ‘not content’.
There were Contents: 195 | Not Contents: 235 | Result: Government Win.
On Thursday 6 February 2014, Christopher Richard James, Lord Bishop of Portsmouth, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Bishop of Chester and the Bishop of Wakefield, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.