Universal Credit petition sent to the PM
A PETITION calling on the Government to fix the “design flaws” of Universal Credit was handed in to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. The petition, organised by the End Hunger UK coalition, has been signed by almost 18,000 people, including more than 30 bishops (News, 19 October). It was presented by Tony Carson and Sue Rimington from York, who spent several weeks living in a tent this summer after being moved on to Universal Credit, surviving on £4 a day between them.
Dr Smith challenges Government over knife crime
AFTER four fatal stabbings in London in the course of one week, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, asked the Government on Monday what action was being taken to address the “dramatic rise in knife crime”. He asked the Home Office Minister, Baroness Williams of Trafford, whether she agreed with the Mayor of London’s call “for a long-term public health approach”. Lady Williams outlined the Government’s serious-violence strategy, including new legislation in the Offensive Weapons Bill, new community funding, the #knifefree media campaign, and continuing police action under Operation Sceptre. Southwark Cathedral is hosting a summit on violent crime on Tuesday.
Green light for Newcastle’s multi-million-pound plan
NEWCASTLE CATHEDRAL has secured planning permission for a large-scale renovation project, The Chronicle reported this week. Plans for the project, called Common Ground in Sacred Space, include removing the cathedral’s pews, installing underfloor heating, renewing the floors, landscaping its south and eastern churchyards, and transforming the basement beneath the cathedral hall into new visitor facilities. Last year, the Chapter secured £358,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the project, estimated to cost £5.8 million in total.
Wealthy in Westminster — some of them — cough up
TOP-band taxpayers in Westminster have contributed almost £400,000 to a voluntarily scheme that invites them to pay extra council tax to fund help for rough sleepers. Launched in March this year, the scheme also helps young people gain skills or training and combat loneliness. A further 15,000 letters are being sent out this week. Cllr Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “The hundreds of thousands of pounds being allocated today shows they do care — and they are quite specific what they want this money to go towards.” Westminster City Council charges the lowest council tax in the country.
Correction: St Nicholas’s, Bristol, is not a plant from Holy Trinity, Brompton (News, 2 November). The Revd Toby Flint has brought a core team with him from HTB, where he served as a curate, but the church is fully funded by the diocese, which had designated it for reopening before his appointment.