The Bishop of Worcester spoke in a debate on amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill on 20th March 2023, supporting an amendment by Baroness Pinnock that would address inflation in land prices in different regions:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I support the amendment from the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, to which the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford has added her name. She regrets that she is unable to be in her place today; I wish to make some points that undoubtedly she would have contributed had she been here.
As already indicated by the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, the Government’s tabled Amendment 165 is very welcome. The review of Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972, and the correction of the omission of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime—and of police and crime commissioners generally—are necessary and positive steps. However, there remain ways in which the general disposal consent 2003 could be improved to better allow public bodies to dispose of assets for less than market value for social, economic or environmental benefit. We believe that such measures would be very much in line with the Bill’s desired outcome: levelling up communities across the country.
The Bishop of Worcester asked a question on the problematic nature of the judicial death penalty during a debate on capital punishment and UK membership of the Council of Europe on 2oth February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, in view of the comments to which the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, has drawn attention, does the Minister agree that there is something deeply ironic about a society condemning the taking of a person’s life, and in order to demonstrate exactly how strongly it does so, doing exactly that through a judicial killing?
The Bishop of Worcester asked a question about government commitment to arts education during a debate on data, digital, and financial literacy in schools on 14th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, recently I had the privilege of serving on your Lordships’ Communications Committee. What came through consistently in our inquiry into the effects of technology on the creative industries was the need for creative and artistic literacy as well as digital literacy—we need STEAM, not just STEM. I speak as a former scientist deeply committed to science and technology. Does the Minister agree and, if so, what can the Government do to enable that, given their reluctance to review the national curriculum and prioritise arts more?
The Bishop of Worcester asked a question about the Children’s Society Report on children’s wellbeing on 12th October 2022, during a debate on children in care:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, the quality of life of children in care is clearly a matter of grave concern, but I wonder whether the Minister is aware of the Children’s Society latest The Good Childhood Report,which suggests deep concern about the continuing decline in the well-being of children generally. As expected, the current cost of living crisis is having a significant effect on families: 85% of parents and carers, the report suggests, are very concerned about the future. The Children’s Society report suggests ways forward. Is the Minister aware of them? Faster rollout of mental health support, a permanent boost to social security lifelines and extended help with school lunches are among them. Will the Minister comment on that?
On 9th September 2022 the House of Lords met to hear tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose death had been announced. The Bishop of Worcester paid tribute:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, like millions of others across the globe, I was immensely sad to learn of the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I have just travelled up from Worcester and lots of people are gathering at the cathedral to pay their respects, as they are at many other parish churches. I am sure I speak on behalf of all the people in Worcestershire and Dudley in the diocese of Worcester in saying how desperately sad we are at this news.
On 1st April 2022, the House of Lords debated the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Minimum Age) Bill in its second reading. The Bishop of Worcester spoke in support of the bill, raising points regarding marriage and the age of consent:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: I welcome the Bill warmly and in doing so, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Sugg, and all those who have worked very hard on it. It takes very important steps to protect exploited young people, especially girls. Having welcomed the Bill, I want to raise one consideration that seems, so far, to have gone relatively unremarked upon during its passage. I hope that it will be noted by the Government and returned to at a later date.
The House of Lords debated the Lord Chancellor’s spring statement on the economy in Grand Committee on 31st March 2022. The Bishop of Worcester spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I first put on record my appreciation of the good things the Chancellor announced in the Spring Statement. He had an extremely difficult job on his hands when preparing it. The aftermath of the pandemic made things difficult enough before the horrors unfolding in Ukraine came on to our screens. I do not envy him the immensely difficult balancing act he has to perform to ensure that the public finances do not suffer irrevocably while giving help to those facing an unprecedented squeeze on their finances.
I pay tribute to the good things announced in the Statement, particularly in providing help for the hard-pressed. Having said that, I agree with noble Lords about the need to do more on climate change. We cannot afford to take our eye off that particular ball—the most serious crisis of our times. I was moved by the experience related by archbishops of the Anglican Communion, who, as it happens, were all in Parliament this morning, particularly those whose provinces are already being devastated by the impacts of climate change.
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