Sewel Convention

Debate between Lord Griffiths of Burry Port and Lord Greenhalgh
Monday 13th June 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh (Con)
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My Lords, I always consider the interventions of the noble Lord to be consistent, and to require a straight bat. We do understand when it is a reserved matter and when it is a devolved matter, and we will obviously look very carefully at how the Scottish Government spend their money.

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Portrait Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Lab)
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My Lords, as part of promises made during the debate about leaving the European Union, an assurance was given to Wales that it would not suffer one penny less in terms of the money that had come from Brussels when it fell to the British Government to supply that money, but I am constantly bemused by the fact that this simply has not happened and is not happening. Although the Minister’s reply to my noble friend’s Question was perhaps what it ought to be, she quoted a Minister in the Senedd who said something quite contradictory. There is a difference of view that I think this House would benefit by understanding in greater depth.

Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh (Con)
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My Lords, it is important that we get the Sewel convention to work, and that is why it is one of two items on the agenda for the upcoming inter-ministerial steering committee. We have had a working group on the Sewel convention. I cited the figures in response to another question; considerable sums are going through the UK shared prosperity fund, and it is important that we use those funds for the benefit of all four nations.

Covid-19 Lockdown: Homelessness and Rough Sleepers

Debate between Lord Griffiths of Burry Port and Lord Greenhalgh
Thursday 12th November 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh (Con)
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My Lords, we want to build on what works. I will take away this idea, make sure we give it due consideration and find out how we can support the Salvation Army in its policy ideas—and potentially scale them up, if they are working well.

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Portrait Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Lab)
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My Lords, we have almost a repeat scenario of the situation we discussed earlier this month relating to free school meals. A very good government initiative earlier in the year—Everyone In—was widely praised, but now it is no longer in that form the responsibility is being passed, through the funding agreements that have been mentioned, to local authorities. That is the answer we got about free school meals. But, as we see in this morning’s press, local councils are facing widespread financial failures and are terrifically strapped for cash. A previous question supposed that the money had to be hypothecated for people suffering from homelessness and rough sleeping—but local councils have so many priorities that will match that. This will be another postcode lottery, if we are not careful. Why can the Government not have another Marcus Rashford moment, and do a U-turn? This month of lockdown is already under way, and the Question is about this month.

Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh (Con)
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My Lords, I was, unfortunately, a local council leader during a previous Administration under the leadership of Gordon Brown, when there was no Government more focused on ring-fencing every fund. My point was that if a fund is specifically for rough sleepers, it is right and proper that it be targeted on those who are sleeping rough. Most of the money that we are providing—the £6.4 billion—is non-ring-fenced money for local councils to put where their local communities need it most.

Covid-19: Places of Worship

Debate between Lord Griffiths of Burry Port and Lord Greenhalgh
Tuesday 3rd November 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh (Con)
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My Lords, I thank my noble friend for the focus on evidence. Following the meeting that I chaired on behalf of the Prime Minister of the Covid-19 places of worship task force, Public Health England is looking at the evidence around places of worship and proliferation of the virus. I am aware that a tremendous amount of effort has been put into ensuring that places of worship are Covid secure.

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Portrait Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I am glad to hear the Minister’s recognition that churches have acted diligently in making sure that things are safe. Over the last 10 weeks, I have either led or attended acts of worship in three different churches, and meticulous attention has been given to all aspects of proper behaviour in such circumstances. Methodists are even reduced to not singing our hymns: we are reduced to humming behind our masks or, indeed, some kind of Trappist silence. On behalf of the many elderly people for whom the act of worship is the only social activity they have from one week to another, when can their needs be taken seriously into account so that they can enjoy a sense of well-being, even in these difficult times?

Covid-19: Churches and Places of Worship

Debate between Lord Griffiths of Burry Port and Lord Greenhalgh
Thursday 9th July 2020

(4 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh
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I note the comments on the financial state of the abbey and St Margaret’s. We are looking to see what we can do. As I mentioned in my previous answer, there are a number of schemes available to churches to support them during the pandemic.

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Portrait Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, apart from cathedrals and larger parish churches, what about the ordinary street-corner churches? These offer community services, and in the case of the one I attend, concerts and cultural events, visits to care homes, accommodation for rough sleepers during the winter months, and art classes, with some 10% of the income it raises given away to charities. Will the Government recognise that if, as the Minister says, there are indeed avenues of help available, they must be well enough known for those in need to take advantage of them?

Lord Greenhalgh Portrait Lord Greenhalgh
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My Lords, my department, MHCLG, is making that information available to all faith communities and places of worship. It should be noted that the Prime Minister has asked Danny Kruger to look into how we can support those that provide many of the community services referred to by the noble Lord, and the social action that has been so helpful during the recovery phase of Covid-19.