Bishop of St Albans asks about provision of services to rural areas

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 31st January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent the closure of rural bus routes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con): The Government has provided nearly £2 billion of support since March 2020 through emergency and recovery grants to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the bus sector. This includes a six-month extension to the Bus Recovery Grant to provide up to £130 million to continue supporting bus services in England outside London until the end of March of this year.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about provision of services to rural areas”

Bishop of Exeter asks about crime prevention in rural areas

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answers on 29th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked His Majesty’s Government:

  • what assessment they have made of the rising levels of crime and low conviction rates in rural areas.
  • what consideration they have given to setting up rural crime units.
  • what steps they are taking to increase the conviction rate for rural crime.
  •  what guidance they plan to issue to farmers to protect themselves from violent crime.

Lord Benyon (Con): The Statistical Digest of Rural England, published in August 2022 by DEFRA, states “average crime rates (police recorded crime) are lower in rural areas than urban areas”. However, we recognise that some crimes are unique and specific to rural areas.

Continue reading “Bishop of Exeter asks about crime prevention in rural areas”

Church Commissioner Questions: Parish Ministry, Coronation, Rural Clergy, and Support over the Winter

On 17th November 2022, MPs put questions in the House of Commons to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP:

Parish Ministry

Jerome Mayhew MP (Broadlands, Con):

2. What recent discussions he has had with the Church on strengthening its parish ministry.

Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Parish Ministry, Coronation, Rural Clergy, and Support over the Winter”

Bishop of St Albans speaks in a debate on the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill

On 14th June 2022, the House of Lords debated the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill in committee. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I declare my interest as a vice-president of the Local Government Association and president of the Rural Coalition. I shall speak to Amendment 9, which stands in my name, but I also want to give my broad support to Amendments 6 and 7, which also deal with regional inequalities, and to echo the importance of getting biodiversity and nature into the Bill.

It is telling that London, as the most productive region of the UK, receives a larger per capita amount of public spending compared to other regions of the UK. Productivity relies as much on public investment as it does on private investment but, at the same time, it makes sense economically, from a private perspective, to invest in those areas that receive significant public backing, particularly in areas such as transport. The reality is that government transport spending by region remains heavily skewed towards London, at nearly double the UK average. Hence, it certainly holds that public expenditure is a significant contributory factor to productivity, even if other factors, such as economies of scale and private investment, also play their part.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans speaks in a debate on the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill”

Bishop of St Albans asks about the rural economy

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 24th May 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the APPG for Rural Business and Rural Powerhouse Levelling Up the Rural Economy: An Inquiry into rural productivity, published on 27 April.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about the rural economy”

Bishop of St Albans asks about productivity in rural areas

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 24th May 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to close the 18 per cent productivity gap in rural areas.

Lord Benyon (Con): Latest statistics show rural areas in England contributed over £260 billion to our economy in 2019. There are over half a million businesses registered in rural areas.

There are many successful rural businesses, providing high levels of employment, and vital supply chains. However, we know that productivity in some rural areas has fallen behind other parts of the country.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about productivity in rural areas”

Bishop of St Albans speaks in a debate on international agreements

The Bishop of St Albans spoke in a debate on the Working Practices – International Agreements Committee Report on 19th May 2022:

My Lords, I declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition. Although I am not a member of this committee, I am very grateful for this report and enjoyed reading it, including its stress on the role of Parliament, not just in approving what has been decided but in the issues we are discussing now.

I found the previous speech very helpful. Why is there such reluctance to allow Parliament—both its Houses—to engage at a much earlier stage? This House is renowned for its extraordinary levels of experience, both in international diplomacy and negotiation and in the actual substance of many of the areas in which we are trying to get treaties and memoranda of understanding. Surely all it will do in the long run, if we can simply go ahead and give Parliament time, is to allow that experience to come out and be brought together. This is precisely what we should be doing.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans speaks in a debate on international agreements”

Queen’s Speech: Bishop of St Albans speaks about rural affairs and levelling up

On 11th May 2022, the House of Lords debated the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I declare my interests as president of the Rural Coalition and a vice-president of the Local Government Association. I, too, welcome Her Majesty’s Speech and the Government’s commitment to implementing the levelling- up agenda; although, as other noble Lords have, I note the Secretary of State’s comments about the difficulties of levelling up in a period of high inflation.

The scope of the Government’s 12 levelling-up missions is ambitious, but they now need to be accompanied by a determination to deliver them, which will be costly. Cautious as the Government may be about fulfilling these mission statements, expectations are high among those in left-behind communities, even if, to date, some of the most deprived areas are still not receiving the funding that they had hoped for and expected. The BBC programme has been referenced by others; it was telling when we looked at how the money has so far been allocated.

Continue reading “Queen’s Speech: Bishop of St Albans speaks about rural affairs and levelling up”

Bishop of St Albans asks about broadband access in rural areas

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 27th April 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of rural communities’ access to reliable broadband on the fiscal wellbeing of businesses in those areas.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about broadband access in rural areas”

Church Commissioners written answer: rural parish support

24th May 2021

Rt Hon Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on what steps the Church of England is taking to support the diocese of (a) Hereford and (b) Lichfield; and what plans the Church of England has to support dioceses with large rural parishes.

Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire): Diocesan resourcing of mission and ministry is supported by congregational giving, historic investments and other income. Additional support is provided from national funds generated by the investments of the Church Commissioners and distributed by the Archbishops’ Council.

Continue reading “Church Commissioners written answer: rural parish support”
%d bloggers like this: