On 20th June 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government on serious youth violence:
The Lord Bishop of St Alban: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address youth violence.
Baroness Barran (Con): My Lords, with the leave of the House, before I respond to the right reverend Prelate I am sure that the Chamber will join me in feeling profound regret at the recent tragic events and note that our thoughts are with the families of those who have been affected on our streets. The Government are taking steps to address all aspects of youth violence, from prevention to enforcement. Diverting young people away from crime is at the heart of our approach, which is why we are investing more than £220 million in early intervention schemes to steer children and young people away from serious violence.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, last weekend at least four people were killed through serious violence on the streets of the capital, and on Tuesday a young person in Luton, in my own diocese, was stabbed more than 20 times. Among all those who are trying to work on this problem, the churches have been involved, and indeed one church has produced a public statue of a phoenix made from 500 knives that had been reclaimed through a knife amnesty—a question of turning swords into ploughshares. Can the Minister tell us whether Her Majesty’s Government have made an assessment of the effectiveness of weapons amnesties in reducing the number of weapons on the streets, and whether more such initiatives are being planned?
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On 20th June 2019 MPs asked questions of Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked about serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, the contribution of cathedrals to the local economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, and persecution of Christians:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Serious Youth Violence
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con)
1. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)
7. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church was represented at the knife crime summit organised by the Prime Minister at No. 10 earlier this year, and the General Synod will be debating this subject at its session next month. There is no question but that this issue is of the utmost seriousness, as too many young lives are being lost.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, cathedrals and the economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, Christian persecution”
On 29th March the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on youth services in rural areas:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report State of Rural Services 2018, published by Rural England in February, and in particular of the impact of the closure of youth centres on young people; and what impact access to services has on young people’s engagement in risky behaviour compared to those living in urban areas. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about youth centres in rural areas”
On 27th October 2014, Lord Horam asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made with the Troubled Families programme. The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, tomorrow morning the Prison Reform Trust will publish the latest edition of its well regarded Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile. Among other things that will show the continuing correlation between exclusion from school, being brought up in care and offending behaviour. In the light of this and of other responses already given, can the Minister give an assurance that the Troubled Families programme is being well co-ordinated with the Ministry of Justice’s young offenders policy?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: I can give the right reverend Prelate that assurance. Indeed, in a previous incarnation when I was the Whip for the justice department, I saw the importance of many rehabilitation programmes directly through visits programmes. He raises an important part of the mix that defines troubled families. As he is well aware, one of the key elements is youth crime and targeting youth crime and anti-social behaviour. Again, what we are seeing, for the first time I believe, is not just departments working together, but people at a local level working well together to ensure that all people involved, whether in youth crime, those involved in not attending school, as my noble friend said, or those who are not in employment, get sustainable solutions for the long term.
On 30th July 2014 Baroness Sherlock asks Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to reduce levels of youth unemployment following the recent closure of the youth employment contract incentive scheme. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, a significant part of the problem is that there are some posts suitable for young people, but they are often in parts of the country where accommodation is prohibitively expensive or the cost of commuting simply precludes them from taking those jobs. In the light of that, have Her Majesty’s Government considered embracing the concept of the living wage for all people of working age?
Lord Freud: Obviously we have looked at the living wage. If the figure suggested for the living wage were to be adopted, we would have to consider the impact on unemployment and the particular impact on youngsters, who would be hit worst. The NIESR estimated that adopting the living wage as opposed to the minimum wage would knock 300,000 youngsters out of work.
On 24th July 2013, Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: The Minister will be aware of the good practice of the multi-agency response to homelessness among 16 and 17 year-olds in Birmingham at the St Basils Youth Hub but, with the recent support expressed by the Housing Minister for the End Youth Homelessness Alliance, how will the Government meet the alliance’s challenges for family support, employment and affordable, safe housing for that category of people?
Baroness Hanham: I am aware of what the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham is talking about. The policies of the Government will support the question that he has asked.