On 27th January 2022 MPs asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons chamber:
Churches and Cathedrals: Sustainability
Jerome Mayhew (Broadland) (Con)
What assessment the Church of England has made of the steps needed to put the maintenance of churches and cathedrals on a sustainable basis. (905258)
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The Church estimates that over the next five years at least £1.14 billion of maintenance and repairs are needed for churches and cathedrals. The Church is very grateful that 550 churches and cathedrals have already benefited from the culture recovery fund, but there remains an urgent need for predictable and sustainable sources of funding, which enable us to keep skilled builders and craft people in work.
On 18th May 2021 the Bishop of Manchester asked a question about antisemitism on university campuses, following a spate of attacks targeting Jewish people.
The Lord Bishop of Manchester [V]: Is the Minister aware that the Union of Jewish Students has raised serious concerns that Jewish students and societies are now being targeted with really quite disgusting anti-Semitic abuse due to the conflict in the Middle East? Will he reassure Jewish students that the Government will clamp down on all forms of campus anti-Semitism and encourage all universities not just to adopt but to implement the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism?
On 23rd November 2020 Lord Dholakia asked the Government “what progress has been made in settling claims under the Windrush Compensation Scheme”. The Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Windrush protests are a wake-up call to all of us and to every institution in this country. Indeed, the Church of England has set up an antiracism taskforce to look at this issue and to achieve change. Is it correct that the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is investigating this issue with regard to the Home Office, does not have a single black commissioner on the current board? What do Her Majesty’s Government plan to do to make the EHRC more representative so that it can undertake this work? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about diversity on Equality and Human Rights Commission board”
During the Parliamentary recess the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to questions on the Windrush Compensation Scheme:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what assessment they have made of the efficiency of the rate of compensation payments to those affected by the Windrush Scandal; and what targets they have set for compensating the individuals involved.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government why Anthony Bryan is yet to receive full compensation under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
On 2nd July an answer to an Urgent Question in the Commons on the Lammy Review was given in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on data analysis.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one of the important ideas found in the Lammy report is the use of relative rate index analysis, which provides important data on the way decisions at various points of the criminal justice system take place. This is the sort of tool we will need if we are to address this deeply embedded problem. Will the noble and learned Lord tell the House whether this relative rate index analysis has been a repeated and whether the lessons are being implemented?
On 24th June, the Bishop of St Albans asked a question following a Government statement on the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we are all implicated in the conscious and unconscious bias which bedevils our society. It will change only if we all take responsibility to make that change come about. Due to the age of those who came on the “Windrush”, time is of the essence in gaining compensation. Some of them have already died. What specifically is being done to speed up the process? On the more general issue, what is the relationship between the various groups, such as this cross-government working group and the race equality commission, and is the Minister sure that these groups will complement each other and expedite matters rather than confuse them?
On 15th June the Lord Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of ongoing protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the consequent removal of statues and monuments”.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office): My Lords, I understand the strength of feeling around the death of George Floyd and peaceful protest remains a vital part of a democratic society. However, coronavirus remains a real and present threat to all of us and mass gatherings for whatever reason risk spreading the disease. I condemn all forms of illegal activity. Changes to the urban architecture should be affected through democratic processes and not by criminal damage.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for her response. Racism is deeply embedded, and it affects every part of society, including the Church. We all have much to do to confront it. Indeed, it is possible to remove statues from public places without dealing with the fundamental nature of the problem. Will another commission be any more successful in stopping the demolition of statues than the Lammy review, the Angiolini review, the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, and the review from the noble Baroness, Lady McGregor-Smith? Would it not be cheaper and quicker for Her Majesty’s Government to implement the recommendations of those reviews, committing proper resources and leadership to drive through the change we so desperately need?
On 6th May 2020 the House of Lords debated a Government motion to take note of the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the Minister for allowing this virtual debate. Almost two years ago, the Windrush scandal astounded this country. The hostile environment policy operated by the Home Office was shown to be discriminatory and damaging. It had neglected a critical principle that is foundational to my Christian faith: human dignity.
Process must support people. This needs to apply not only to our migration policy and departments, as clearly set out in the lessons learned review, but to the way we do what we have committed to do, such as the Windrush compensation scheme. From that standpoint, we need to evaluate how accessible the scheme is to those who are trying to rightfully claim underneath it, and that it is a process that honours their human dignity. Continue reading “Bishop of London highlights failings with Windrush Compensation Scheme”
On 19th March 2020 the Home Secretary made a statement on the publication of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review. The statement was repeated in the House of Lords and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, responded:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, the publication of this Statement is very welcome indeed. The heartfelt nature of the apology was notable.
I have a couple of questions about the recommendations to put to the noble Baroness. First, one of the historic failures of the Church of England—in many ways as bad as the hostile environment—was the terrible reception that we gave the Windrush generation, the vast majority of whom were Anglicans, when they came here. They were often turned away from Church of England churches, or were given a very weak welcome or no welcome at all. As a result, they went off and formed their own churches, which have flourished much better than ours. We would be so much stronger had we behaved correctly. I have apologised for that, and I continue to do so and see the wickedness of our actions. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Home Office Windrush Lessons Report”