Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east

durham-230117On 26th June 2017, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He argued for the importance of investment in the North-East of England and including all groups in discussions around Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse and the Industrial Strategy.

Bishop of Durham: My Lords, perhaps I may add my welcome from these Benches to the noble Lord in his role as Minister. I also look forward to hearing the maiden speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Colgrain and Lord Mountevans, which will be made during this debate.

Since arriving in Durham, I have been struck that life feels more precarious for many in the north-east than it does elsewhere. There are lots of reasons for hope, not least the social regeneration in my home town of Bishop Auckland, but the sense of precariousness persists due to deep structural disadvantages that the region has faced for decades, even centuries. It is against this backdrop that some of the changes to welfare in the last Parliament felt particularly acute and remain of very deep concern. It is also against this backdrop that the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiation is felt. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east”

Bishop of Chester asks Government about London-Chester rail service

ChesterOn 23rd February 2017 Lord Shipley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to ensure that HS2 will maximise links between cities in the north of England and with Scotland.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, currently there is an excellent two-hour direct service at 125 miles an hour between London and the city of Chester. Will being able to get to Manchester—wherever Manchester is—in an hour call into question the current excellent direct service between London and Chester? Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks Government about London-Chester rail service”

Votes: High Speed (London–West Midlands) Bill

On 24th January 2017 votes took place in the Lords on amendments to the Government’s High Speed Rail Bill. The Archbishop of York and Bishop of Chester took part. Continue reading “Votes: High Speed (London–West Midlands) Bill”

Bishop of Leeds calls for greater integration and connectivity in northern communities

 The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, many of the points I wanted to make have already been made, and I will not repeat them, but I do want to emphasise one or two points. When we talk about the north, I sometimes think it is a bit like the way we talk about Africa, as if it was one monolithic place. The north is not. It is very diverse, differentiated and complex. For example, we have heard about Bradford having a very young population, 23.6% being under the age of 16. Where are the jobs for them?

Bishop of Bristol asks government about regulation of hands-free mobiles in cars

Bristol160226 cOn 5th December 2016, Lord Jordan asked the Government “what steps they are taking to reduce the incidence of mobile phone use whilst driving.” The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a supplementary question.


The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, your Lordships’ House will appreciate that this is quite a difficult subject to regulate. I am grateful to the Minister for outlining the Government’s plans. Given that motoring organisations seem to be extremely dubious about the safety of using hands-free equipment in a motor car, do the Government have any plans to regulate car manufacturers’ ability to produce this equipment, which is distracting, I believe, and can cause accidents? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks government about regulation of hands-free mobiles in cars”

Bishop of St Albans leads debate on impact for rural communities of reduced bus services

On 24th November 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a short debate in the House of Lords on rural bus services. His opening speech is below, along with the Minister’s response. The speeches of the other eight Peers who took part can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of research published by the Local Government Association showing that subsidised bus services in England have reduced by more than 12% in the past year, what assessment they have made of the sustainability of rural communities.

St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords contributing their considerable expertise to this debate, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope, whose wealth of experience is a welcome addition to this House. I declare an interest as president of the Rural Coalition and bishop of a diocese with large rural areas, some of which have seen considerable cuts in bus service provision in recent years.

As many noble Lords in this House will know first-hand, rural bus services provide a lifeline for rural communities, creating vital routes of connection to other parts of the country. For anyone who struggles to drive themselves because of age or a disability, or because they do not have a car, buses are often the only means of transport that connects rural residents with work, friends and family. With an increasing number of local services cut from rural towns and larger villages, the need to be able to connect with urban areas only increases. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on impact for rural communities of reduced bus services”

Votes: Bus Services Bill

On 24th October 2016 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Bus Services Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, took part in a vote on an amendment to the Bill tabled by Labour Peer Lord Kennedy of Southwark to remove Clause 21 , which sought to prohibit local authorities from forming companies to provide local bus services. Continue reading “Votes: Bus Services Bill”

Bishop of Bristol asks Government about regulation of the drone market in the UK

Bristol160226 cOn 27th April 2016 the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Michael Hill, received a written answer to a question on whether the Government will regulate the private drone market in the UK.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the need to regulate or license the private drone market in the UK. [HL7729] Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government about regulation of the drone market in the UK”

Bishop of Coventry questions the Government about the HS2 Bill

Bp Coventry May 2015

On the 14 April 2016 the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth spoke during the second reading debate on the HS2 Bill. The Bishop spoke about the impact the line would have on his diocese, the local communities, environment and business. Lord Ahmad responded for the government and addressed some of the questions asked by the Bishop Christopher.

Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry questions the Government about the HS2 Bill”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for rural transport

On 22nd March 2016 Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the levels of service provision and council tax following local authority budget decisions for 2016–17.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question about rural bus services.

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, recently the Campaign for Better Transport has estimated that local authority subsidies for rural bus services are likely to be cut this year alone by £27 million. In Hertfordshire, where I live and work, there have been cuts since 2010 of 62%. Forty rural bus services have seen radical declines and 14 have gone altogether. While I recognise some of the things the Government are doing, not least the serious increase in the rural services delivery grant, will the Minister tell your Lordships’ House the long-term plans of Her Majesty’s Government to engage with local authorities to ensure that we have proper rural transport as one of the essential elements of rural sustainability? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for rural transport”

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