“In general, the question of whether or to what extent a particular type of economic activity is a legitimate driver of economic growth is a moral one that should not just be subsumed under a catch-all principle that regulators should promote economic growth. The prevention of damaging or unjust economic activity, surely, is equally germane to their mission.” – The Bishop of Truro, 07/07/14
On 7th July 2014, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Deregulation Bill, led by Lord Wallace of Saltaire. In his speech he welcomed many of the measures, but raised concerns about two areas covered by the Bill – the work of employment tribunals and provisions that would require regulators to have regard for promoting economic growth.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I think that I need to begin with an apology. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, for drawing our attention to matters relating to dog collars. I was not going to refer to them but I will make sure that one of my colleagues does when we get to Committee.
I have no more interest than any other Member of this House in regulation for its own sake. In fact the New Testament, on the principle that,
“where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”,
Written Questions, answered on 24th and 25th March, 2014:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the recent announcement by the Jerusalem municipal authorities of their approval of building permits for 558 new units in East Jerusalem, in Har Homa, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev.
On 11th December 2013, Lord Selsdon asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to regulate the issue of payday loans to those without a regular income.
The Bishop of Truro asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, what consideration, if any, has been given to introducing a real-time database of payday loans in order to ensure that the proposed FCA rules can be properly monitored and enforced and, in particular, to avoid the problem—a special one at this time of year—of people being able to take out multiple loans from different companies at the same time?
Lord Newby: My Lords, a real-time database is one of the things that the FCA will be looking at. In some of the countries and US states where they have effective caps on the cost of payday loans, such systems have been seen to work efficiently and be very effective.
On 9th December 2013, the Bishop of Truro spoke in favour of Lord McColl’s amendment to the Government’s Children and Families Bill, during its Report Stage. The amendment sought to create child trafficking guardians for children who may have been victims of human trafficking. The amendment was later voted on – see here for more details.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I support the amendment and declare an interest as chairman of the Children’s Society. The noble Lord, Lord McColl, has already mentioned the report, Still at Risk, published jointly by the Children’s Society and the Refugee Council.
On 9th December 2013, the Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to improve the official information available, including on the United Kingdom Border Agency website, for long- and short-term visitors to the United Kingdom, and in particular artists and entertainers.
The Bishop of Truro asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I do not wish to argue that all clergy are entertainers as that would not be true in my experience. But can the Minister comment on the frustration felt again and again by Christian people—clergy and others, especially from Africa—who are invited by dioceses in this country with expenses guaranteed? They have to travel long distances and are not always able to access websites to apply for a visa and are then faced with delay or refusal based on the assumption that they will not return home to their families and responsibilities.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I am sure the right reverend Prelate will be aware of the responsibility on all Border Agency staff to deal judiciously with these matters. However, they can act only on the information that they have when people present themselves for entry. I hope that the new website will make it much easier for everybody to come here. If anybody is organising an event which involves people coming from overseas, they have an opportunity, in a spirit of partnership, to make sure that everybody is aware of the documentation they require. There is no difficulty getting that documentation provided the application is made.
On 9th December 2013, the House of Lords offered tributes to the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who passed away on 5th December 2013, aged 95. The Bishop of Truro spoke during the tributes on behalf of the Lords Spiritual.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am keen to associate myself and all my colleagues who sit on these Benches with the tributes paid to Mr Mandela here and throughout the world. The focus on one man is extraordinary, but it is entirely right, for he was extraordinary. My thoughts and prayers go to all his family and friends and indeed to everyone in the whole country of South Africa, who have lost a father.