Financial Services and Markets Bill: Bishop of St Albans highlights issues in rural communities

The Bishop of St Albans spoke during the debate on the Financial Services and Markets Bill on Tuesday 7th March 2023, raising concerns on access to cash and the lack of digital connectivity in rural communities, and the impact on businesses and individuals:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I will not detain the Committee for very long but perhaps I could say one or two things. Briefly, I come at this by thinking about rural sustainability and rural business. I declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition.

Before I say anything on that, a month ago I had my wallet stolen on my way into Parliament and I learned a lesson: do not keep all your cards in your wallet but have some different ones. I was, to use a theological term, absolutely stuffed that morning. Fortunately, I had a member of staff at home. I went back and cancelled the cards then phoned up my bank, which said, “Yes, come up—we can give you some cash”. When I got up there, I was told, “No, the system’s got it wrong and we aren’t able to give you cash here”. I then had to get someone to take me six miles to get some cash. When I eventually got into London for some meetings, I went to four places before I could find somewhere to buy lunch because I had only cash. This is actually quite a complex thing.

Continue reading “Financial Services and Markets Bill: Bishop of St Albans highlights issues in rural communities”

Bishop of St Albans asks about support for domestic businesses amid the rising cost of living

The Bishop of St Albans asked about support for domestic businesses such as market gardens, during a debate on rising food prices on 27th February 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, security is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of any Government, yet with huge hikes in the cost of food from overseas, our domestic market is declining. Take, for example, the outstanding market garden sector in the Lea Valley in my diocese. About 10% of them had to close in the last year because of the cost of heating. What are the Government going to do to ensure that those market gardens are able to sustain themselves, to guarantee our basic food security in this country?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about support for domestic businesses amid the rising cost of living”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about a review of business rates

On 9th June Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government “what discussions they have had with the Local Government Association on how national and local government can work together to promote economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question, focusing on business rates for large online retail companies and small high street shops.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I declare my interest as a vice-president of the Local Government Association. What discussions have taken place about reviewing business rates, so that large online retail companies, which perhaps have no actual shops and many of which pay relatively small amounts of tax, do not have an unfair advantage over our small shops in our high streets which are under threat at the moment?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about a review of business rates”

Bishop of St Albans praises role of small business in UK economy

On 3rd February 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part in a question for short debate in the House of Lords, led by Conservative Peer Lord Risby, on what steps the Government are taking to encourage the growth of small businesses. The Bishop focussed his brief remarks on support for new small businesses, in particular regarding advice and funding. He suggested that more could be done to support the development of community finance initiatives. 

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, there is no doubt that we need to create a culture in which entrepreneurial skill is encouraged and supported. Small businesses form a vital part of our national landscape and are integral to the flourishing of our society. The social capital that we all seek depends on strong partnerships: partnerships between manufacturing, finance and chambers of commerce; between new entrepreneurs and established businesses; and between local and national government and the universities, as well as the voluntary and faith sectors. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans praises role of small business in UK economy”

Bishop of Peterborough highlights collaboration between churches and local enterprise in Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill debate

On 2nd December 2014, the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. In his remarks, the bishop highlighted a number of examples of churches and cathedrals working local businesses for the common good of the community. He strongly welcomed the Bill, particularly noting the inclusion of measures to introduce a Register of Persons with Significant Control. However, he also highlighted a number of ways in which the Register could be strengthened, and called on the Government to review the proposed legislation.

14.02 PeterboroughThe Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, like others I welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Harding, and look forward to hearing her maiden speech when I sit down.

I warmly welcome the Bill. Small businesses and local enterprise are part of the life-blood of communities and play a major part in enhancing the life opportunities of many people. Granted, there are areas where the Bill could go further, but every initiative to support small businesses is to be welcomed. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough highlights collaboration between churches and local enterprise in Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill debate”

Bishop of Oxford calls for more intentional support for the rural economy and rural schools

“I very much hope that the Department for Education will not resort to a philosophy of “the weakest to the wall” with these small schools because small rural schools are so often worth their weight in gold, as the heart and hub of our rural communities. The Church of England will publish a report very soon on how to support our rural schools effectively” – Bishop of Oxford, 3/7/14.

On 3rd July, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, took part in a debate on the rural economy, lead by the Earl of Shrewsbury. The Bishop spoke about the need for intentional support for the many micro-businesses that make up the rural economy, and also for greater personal investment in rural schools, particularly through an increase in the number of foundation govenors supporting rural schools.

Bishop of OxfordThe Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Shrewsbury, for giving us this opportunity to debate this matter. We all approach this important subject from different angles. I want to emphasise one that is economic and the other that is personal in the sense of our own personal investment and commitment. I serve a diocese which is largely rural although it has large centres of population such as Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes and Slough. However, the rural expanses of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire are considerable, with 815 churches and 650 clergy, all of whom are strongly connected to the all-round flourishing of our diverse communities. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford calls for more intentional support for the rural economy and rural schools”

Bishop of Derby – Graduate Entrepreneurs and Tax Transparency

On 15th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received answers to written questions on the topics of graduate entrepreneurs and tax transparency.

Businesses: Graduate Entrepreneurs

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what resources are available for graduate entrepreneurs for start-up businesses.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): We want more businesses to develop in the UK in order to drive economic growth and innovation. We are intervening early to drive ambition by encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset in young people through activities in schools, colleges and universities. The experience of enterprise through education helps give young people the knowledge and awareness of what it means to run a business.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can also help to bridge the gap into the world of business. For example, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provides £160m per annum through Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) to English HEIs to enable them to work with businesses and others. This can also be used to support student and academic enterprise, including start-ups and spin-outs. The latest Higher Education-Business and Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCI) indentified that, in 2011/12, 2,359 graduate start-ups were generated from English HEIs and 2,315 Graduate start ups were still active after at least three years. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby – Graduate Entrepreneurs and Tax Transparency”

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