The Bishop of St Albans spoke in a debate marking the 75th Anniversary of the Empire Windrush ship to Britain, highlighting the contributions made by Caribbean immigrants and the ongoing need to challenge racism:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, for this important and timely debate. I thank other Members who have spoken so eloquently about the contribution of Caribbean people to this country.
In 1948, we invited Caribbean people to come to this country to help rebuild after the terrible devastation of the war. Some were welcomed; indeed, I have an auntie and uncle who, for 40 years, offered accommodation to people coming from the Caribbean. They did it joyfully and gladly and introduced them, wherever possible, into their Methodist church. However, at the same time there were many instances where they were not welcomed and, sadly, not even welcomed into some of our churches. They experienced appalling racism, which was simply shameful.
On 28th November 2022, the Bishop of Gloucester asked what progress the government had made towards implementing the recommendations of the 2017 Lammy Review:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask His Majesty’s Government what progress they have made towards implementing the Lammy Review, published on 8 September 2017.
Lord Bellamy (Con, Ministry of Justice): My Lords, the Lammy Review, which the Government warmly welcomed, made 35 recommendations and the Government undertook actions in respect of 33 of them; only two others relating to the judiciary were left on one side. We have now completed 29 out of the 33, and outstanding actions continue in respect of the remaining four. Since the Lammy Review in 2017, our work has evolved considerably and the Government’s Inclusive Britain strategy, published in March this year, is central to this work.
On June 23rd 2022 MPs put questions in the House of Commons to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP:
Persecution of Christians Overseas
Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
What steps the Church is taking to support the implementation of recommendations in the final report of the Bishop of Truro’s review on persecution of Christians overseas. (900659)
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): The murder of 50 Catholics in church this month in Ondo state in Nigeria and the ongoing murders for alleged blasphemy are a stark reminder of why the Church of England stands foursquare behind the implementation of the Bishop of Truro’s review.
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?
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