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.
On 30th March 2022 the Bishop of Worcester asked a question in support of returning ancient sacred tabots held in the British Museum to Ethiopia.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, apart from the way in which these artefacts were obtained, and the responsibility of the British Museum and its independence, I wonder whether the Minister would agree that what sets these artefacts apart, as he has intimated, from any others in the British Museum and other museums across our land, is that they are sacred. As such, they relate to a living faith—the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Whereas these tabots mean very little to anyone here except as stones of limited historical value, and no one is able to see them anyway, they are of profound religious significance in Ethiopia. Would not the Minister agree that they should therefore be returned to those who understand them to be holy and will cherish them as such?
The Bishop of Worcester asked a question concerning Church of England schools and the government’s Schools White Paper on 29th March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I echo the noble Lord, Lord Storey, in his thanks for the White Paper. In doing so, I declare my interest as president of the Woodard Corporation. In expressing gratitude, I appreciate in particular how the White Paper recognises the vital role the Churches have played in the educational landscape of this country for more than 200 years and that it sets out how the role needs to continue to be enabled in the future development of the school system. I will focus on two questions regarding the move towards the fully academised educational landscape set out in the White Paper and invite the Minister to agree that it requires two key things.