On 12th May 2021 the House of Lords debated the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Durham spoke, focusing on its impact on children and young people, and on the proposals for immigration.
“My Lords, it is a privilege to be the first to speak from these Benches on Her Majesty’s gracious Speech. I look forward to the valedictory speech of my colleague, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Portsmouth, who has served the House so well during his years as a Lord spiritual. I also look forward to the maiden speeches of the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, and the noble Lord, Lord Lebedev.
“I make my comments within a very specific framework: are the measures contained in the gracious Speech good for the children and young people of our land? At the outset of her tenure as Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza commented: ‘I want to see childhood right at the top of the Government agenda. That means every speech from the Prime Minister and Chancellor mentioning children, and every Government department constantly pushing to improve the lives of children’— so it was good to hear a range of references to children. Having the best start in life by prioritising early years is essential. There is no debate any longer that the months in the womb and the first 1,001 days of a child’s life are absolutely critical to lifetime development. Much deeper investment in all aspects of early years well-being—mental, physical, social and spiritual—is essential.
Continue reading “Queen’s Speech – Bishop of Durham on children, young people and immigration”
On 18th November the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to two questions on problem gambling and young people:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings from the Gambling Commission’s 2020 Young People and Gambling Survey; and what steps they are taking to reduce problem gambling among 11 to 16-year olds. [HL10105]
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Gambling Commission and Ipsos Mori Young People & Gambling 2020 Technical Report, published in August, in particular its finding that the number of 11 to 16 year-olds classified as problem gamblers had risen from 1.7 per cent in 2019 to 1.9 per cent in 2020; and what discussions they have had with the Gambling Commission about ways in which problem gambling by children can be reduced. [HL10245] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about problem gambling by young people”
On 12th October 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on gambling advertising and young people:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the long-term effects of gambling advertising on young people and their future participation in gambling activities. [HL8688] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about impact of gambling advertising on young people”
On 24th September 2020 questions were put to Government in the House of Lords about provision of mental health support to young people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I spoke last week with a young person whose father, sadly, died recently of Covid-19, and she told me about the impact that experience has had on her own mental health. I am therefore grateful for the reassurance from the Minister that Her Majesty’s Government will be strengthening access to mental health services in our schools and, I hope, in our colleges and universities. Are there any plans for bereavement support and counselling to form part of that provision? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks about COVID-19 bereavement support and counselling for young people”
On 10th September 2020 MPs asked questions of the Church Commissioners, represented by Andrew Selous MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner. A full transcript is below:
The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Covid-19: Mental Health
James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con): What steps the Church of England is taking to support mental health during the covid-19 outbreak. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): This is a timely question from my hon. Friend, on World Suicide Prevention Day. The Church’s healthcare chaplains work in both acute and community mental health services. The diocese of Manchester provides mental health wellbeing youth workers, to provide mental health first aid, and the parish of Goudhurst in Kilndown in Kent provides subsidised mental health counselling in 13 schools. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: covid-19, mental health, debt advice, youth work, online worship, overseas aid, racism”
On the 6th Feb 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Mr Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question about youth work in the Church of England:
Jim Shannon MP (DUP, Strangford) : To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate the Church of England has made of the number of church-based youth clubs; and what assessment he has made of effect of those clubs on the wellbeing of the young people that use them. Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ written answer – Youth Workers”
On 9th January 2020 the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, spoke during the fourth day of debate in the House on the Queen’s Speech, about serious youth violence:
Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I wish to raise the issue of local services that are likely to have a positive impact on serious youth violence, in particular knife crime. I appreciate that the criminal justice system was key to yesterday’s debate on the gracious Speech, and indeed the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester touched briefly on knife crime in that context. However, I wish to concentrate not on policing per se, nor on the actions of the courts, prison or probation services, but on those of other local agencies. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark responds to Queen’s Speech – serious youth violence”
On 9th July 2019 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what is their response to the report by The Children’s Society, Counting Lives: responding to children who are criminally exploited, published on 5 July”. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, following up on that last question, the grooming patterns of children and young people, whether for sexual exploitation or criminal exploitation, are almost exactly the same. It took us ages to achieve a proper definition of exploitation of children in the sex industry. We should not make the same mistake again. It seems that what we need to do, and I ask the Government to consider this, is create a legally binding definition of child criminal exploitation that makes it absolutely clear that the vast majority of these children, some as young as 10 years old, are victims.
Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford calls for legal definition of child criminal exploitation”
On 27th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Paddick, “That this House takes note of the impact of government policy on knife crime”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for obtaining this debate and for his excellent analysis of some of the causes and, indeed, the work that has been done on how we might address them, which is a holistic approach. I am also delighted that a number of experts in policing are speaking in this debate. I come to this with little knowledge of that, but I have knowledge through the 136 schools in my diocese—I have been to two this week—and in many of the urban areas across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, which seek to bring together groups of young people to reflect on how this can be addressed.
This debate looks at the impact of government policies on serious youth violence. As the causes are many and varied, we need to look at a wide range of different issues. We are all aware that access to lethal weapons has escalated and intensified conflict. Demonstrably, when the year to March 2018 represented the highest number of knife homicides in England and Wales since 1946, it is all too clear to us that it is too easy to obtain weapons, notwithstanding the Offensive Weapons Act 2019. Indeed, from previous problems, for example acid attacks, we are aware that simply removing one way of attacking other people does not necessarily immediately solve a problem. I am therefore delighted that government action in reducing weapon accessibility has had some success, with Operation Sceptre taking some 10,000 knives off the streets. Yet piecemeal approaches will never be enough.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans says community-led approach is crucial in tackling serious youth crime”
On 26th June 2019 Lord Bird asked the Government, “by what means, if at all, they require public bodies to act, and to demonstrate how they act, in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, it has been a real privilege today—as the noble Lord, Lord Bird, mentioned—to spend time with some of the 16,000 people, many of them young, representing all faiths and none, who have come to say to Parliament that the time is now on climate change. I very much support the proposal from the noble Lord, Lord Bird. Does the Minister agree that the issues of climate change, both in the material sense and the perceived sense—public opinion—are absolutely the pressing priority for the future generation? Following the commendable adoption of the net zero by 2050 target, will the Minister share with the House what the Government’s next three priorities are in combating climate change?
Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford asks Government for its climate change priorities”