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Bishop Pete discusses adult social care, Israel and Gaza in House of Lords

Bishop Pete in House of Lords

Bishop Pete used a recent House of Lords appearance this week to ask key questions on matters surrounding adult social care; Israel and Gaza and partnerships with local schools.

Speaking in the Upper House yesterday (Monday 16 October), Bishop Pete praised local partnerships within the Diocese of Sheffield on producing music whilst asking the Government if they could be replicated further.

Later on in the day’s session he spoke about the situation in Israel and Gaza, condemning the actions of Hamas and asking for assurances that innocent people in Gaza would be able to return home after the immediate conflict.

Finally, Bishop Pete spoke on the report from the Adult Social Care Committee, praising dementia cafes in Sprotbrough and Handsworth.

In his question to Baroness Barran on revitalising music, art, craft and dance – and recruiting teachers for state schools, Bishop Pete said:

“My Lords, many Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals regularly send professional musicians into schools to support them with singing and at minimal charge. For example, by 2026 Sheffield Cathedral plans to support 30 schools a year with high quality curriculum based music teaching – mostly in our most deprived communities. Does the noble lady, the minister, think there may be scope for partnership with Government to maximise the potential of such schemes?”

Next, Bishop Pete gave this statement and question to the House on the conflict in Israel and Gaza:

“There is no justification for the truly shocking atrocities perpetrated by Hamas nine days ago, a shock exacerbated for many of us by the fact that these attacks took place on the Sabbath. Nor is there any justification for the cancers of antisemitism and Islamophobia that stalk our own streets. We on these benches condemn both unequivocally. It is plainly also true that no one in this House questions Israel’s right to self-defence, or that this right must be exercised judicially in accordance with international humanitarian law.

“I pray this consensus will hold in the coming weeks for the sake of the cohesion of the communities across Britain, including South Yorkshire where I serve. In view of the unfolding and escalating humanitarian tragedy – and looking to the future – may I simply ask the noble lord, the minister, what assurances the Government has sought and been given that the innocent people of Gaza will be able to return to their home neighbourhoods after the immediate conflict?”

On the report from the Adult Social Care Committee, he said:

“My Lords, I start by paying tribute to the noble Lady, Baroness Andrews, and to all the members of the adult social care committee for the excellent report they produced last year; full of thoroughly perceptive and practical recommendations to Government and speaking to the longing that we all have to live a life of joy and fulfilment and purpose. The committee undertook its work in precisely the same period as the Archbishop’s Commission on Reimagining Care, and it is very heartening to see the very considerable amount of overlap in the values proposed and in the conclusions reached. Both contribute to the growing consensus that we cannot any longer tinker around the edges of the existing system. We must reset and reimagine the way social care is understood, organised and delivered. The committee report identifies, quite correctly, the importance of making social care a national imperative. Yet the committee report notes the widely held perception that social care is something that affects other people and that many only begin looking for information about support available once they have reached a crisis.

“The Archbishop’s Care Commission argued that it will only be possible to re-imagine social care if we rethink our attitudes fundamentally in society, where too often we are inclined to treat people as if their value was determined by factors such as age or gender or ability, rather than affirming and celebrating the dignity of all human beings valued for who they are – and not for what they do. At best, social care is the means by which people are enabled to live a full life, and this is not the responsibility of the government alone. Churches, for example, have an important part to play in supporting people to flourish in community. I think, for example, of the hugely valuable dementia cafes currently organised and hosted by Church communities in my own diocese, for example, in the parishes of Sprotbrough in Doncaster and Handsworth in Sheffield, both run in partnership with local authority wellbeing services.

“The primary recommendation of the Archbishop’s Commission to Re-Imagine Care is the development of a national care covenant, which would clarify the roles and responsibilities for social care to be shared across society. My Lords, the language of covenant encourages us to move away from ideas of contracts and rights towards powerful notions of partnership and interdependence. We all stand to benefit from a society where our dependence upon one another is recognised, celebrated, and promotes the flourishing of all, so that each one of us does indeed have the best possible chance to live a gloriously ordinary life.

“May I ask the noble Lord, the Minister, how far the concept of a National Care Covenant has been found useful by the Government in its ongoing efforts to re-imagine social care?”

The full questions and responses can be found here at Parliament TV.

Timestamps: 3pm, 7.07pm and 7.56pm