Andrew’s contribution to ‘Faith Communities’ Debate

Lord Sacks asked Her Majesty’s Government how they have recognised and supported the role and contribution of faith communities in Britain and the Commonwealth during Her Majesty the Queen’s reign. The debate was very popular and Peers were given only 1 minute to speak.

Andrew made the following contribution:

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, for introducing this important debate. I have been a minister in the United Reformed Church for nearly 30 years, serving in some of Britain’s poorest communities. One thing that I have noticed over the years is that the state tends to be utilitarian, narrow and sectional in its approach, as heard on the BBC “Today” programme in a report about how hospitals are discharging people literally on to the streets. This approach, as well as being uncaring and limited, is also bad from a business perspective because these people will simply end up back in casualty.

In contrast, faith organisations in general have a broader view of care for the whole person. They have a wider concern for those they help rather than a narrow, sectional interest, and this is why they should be involved in the delivery of public services. I hope that policymakers within government will take this point into account as we move forward with the restructuring of the National Health Service and are all encouraged to embrace a localism agenda.