On 26th April 2018, questions were put in the House of Commons to Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners. Dame Caroline was asked by MPs about freedom of religion in the Commonwealth, recycling, rural schools, out of school education settings and thefts from churches. A full transcript is below.
The right hon Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: religious freedom, schools, recycling, thefts from churches”
On the 12th April the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway received a written answer to his question about teacher recruitment in rural areas.
Continue reading “Bishop of Ely questions Government about teacher recruitment in rural areas”
On 27th March 2018 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked Her Majesty’s Government “what further measures, if any, they plan to take to increase the supply of council housing stock to replace homes for rent lost through right-to-buy sales”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: May I push the Minister a little more on the whole question of rural housing? Only 12% of the rural housing stock is social housing, compared with 19% in urban areas. How exactly are Her Majesty’s Government going to increase the level of rural social housing over the coming years? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about social housing supply in rural areas”
On 14th December 2017 Lord Bird asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to address the root causes of poverty and disadvantage in the United Kingdom.” In the short debate on the question, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke about the link between poverty and mental health, and also the need for action on rural deprivation:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for this debate. I want to make just a couple of points in the time I have.
Plenty of statistics have been bandied around today, and I can quote even more: 14 million people, by some counts, are living in poverty in this country, including 4 million children. The trouble with those and other statistics is that they hide the individual lives they represent: for example, the three men, whom many of us have seen, in sleeping bags in Westminster Tube station as I came in at 8 am yesterday morning; or Joe—not his real name—whom I met this morning in St Peter’s Street in St Albans as I went out to get my morning paper. There has been a visible increase in the number of people on our streets in places such as St Albans over recent months. I have got to know a number of them, and this morning, knowing I was coming in for this debate, I thought I had to sit and talk to Joe just for a minute. I felt I could not in all conscience come and speak on a subject such as this without actually finding out his name and just a little about his story. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights mental health link to poverty, and raises deprivation in rural areas”
On 7th December 2017 Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to support councils to provide emergency housing to help those who have been made unintentionally homeless.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we have heard a great deal about urban areas in cities and the capital, but what about rural areas? What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to address the issue of homelessness in the countryside, where there has been a 52% increase in rough sleeping in our rural areas? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about increase in rough sleeping in rural areas”
On 5th December 2017 Baroness Jones of Whitchurch asked Her Majesty’s Government “what actions they plan to take to tackle rural poverty.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, housing is a key factor in evaluating poverty. In the county of Hampshire alone, over 20,000 people are on council-house waiting lists, with over 4,000 of them in the New Forest. Given that the Government have recently announced significant new funding for new housebuilding and new affordable homes, can the Minister give us a clear indication of the expected spending on homes for social rent in rural areas? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester raises need for more social housing in rural areas”
On 16th October 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to five questions about housing, immigration, the economy and devolution in the north and Yorkshire:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of large housing developments with insufficient infrastructure and amenities on community cohesion, social capital, and social inclusion.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the level of immigration required, if any, to support the Northern Powerhouse.
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in addition to their devolution programme for cities, what steps they are taking to promote the rural economy.
(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, Time for Change: A New Vision for the British Economy, what assessment they have made of the potential for the Northern Powerhouse to restructure the national economy.
(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Yorkshire councils’ “coalition of the willing” to secure a single devolution deal for Yorkshire.
Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about economy, infrastructure and devolution in the north and Yorkshire”