Lords persistent on costs of unsafe cladding
THE House of Lords has for the third time blocked the Government from passing on the cost of replacing unsafe cladding to leaseholders or tenants. During a debate on the Fire Safety Bill on Tuesday, peers rejected calls from Lord Greenhalgh not to insist on keeping two amendments on this issue which had been brought by the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, last month, and subsequently rejected by the House of Commons (News, 26 March). Dr Smith told the Lords that he had been stopped and thanked in the street for bringing the issue back for debate. The Bill will now return to the Commons again in what is known as parliamentary “ping pong”.
Aid sought for 34 million people ‘being starved’
CHRISTIAN charities, including Christian Aid, Tearfund, Caritas, and World Vision, are among 132 members of the International Council of Voluntary agencies which are calling on world leaders to offer the $5.5 billion that, the agencies say, is needed to bring more than 34 million people from the brink of famine. In a joint letter on Tuesday, they write: “Every day, we work with people who are fully capable of producing or earning enough to feed themselves and their families. These people are not starving, they are being starved. . . by conflict and violence; by inequality; by the impacts of climate change; by the loss of land, jobs, or prospects; by a fight against Covid-19 that has left them even further behind.” www.icvanetwork.org
LGBT network given charitable status
THE Open Table Network, a church partnership for LGBT people, has been given charitable status. Its first gathering was held at St Bride’s, Liverpool, in 2008, to help congregations to be more welcoming to LGBT people. It became a network in 2015, and there are now 18 Open Table Network communities. One of its patrons, the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, who was the first openly gay bishop in the Church in Wales, said that she knew from her own experience how important it was to have safe spaces in which to gather and worship. opentable.lgbt
Couple raise £120,000 for COVAX programme
THE Rector of St Andrew’s, Curry Rivel, in Bath & Wells diocese, the Revd Scott Patterson, and his wife, Rowan, have raised more than £120,000 towards the COVAX programme to provide Covid-19 vaccines in countries that cannot afford commercial prices (News, 29 January, 26 March). The Pattersons set up a Just Giving page in January with a target of £1000 to encourage people to “twin my vaccine”. justgiving.com/fundraising/rowanpatterson