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Faith Communities — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:57 am on 29th May 2012.

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Photo of Lord Haskel Lord Haskel Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 11:57 am, 29th May 2012

My Lords, I too thank the Chief Rabbi, the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, for his inspiring words. I agree with them absolutely. My one-minute message is this: God helps who help themselves. Perhaps that is a little audacious in a debate with such religious luminaries, but the point I want to make is that nowadays faith communities that function well as faith communities function well in society as a whole. For this, we need social capital.

In the Jewish community we have an organisation called Jewish Policy Research; I declare an interest, as the honorary president. This organisation works for all strands of the community, from secular Jews to the ultra-orthodox. It provides information about deprivation, the elderly, child poverty, education in Jewish schools and patterns of charitable giving. It takes a snapshot from the national census. These trends and information enable the community to create social capital; this is essential if the community is to contribute to the inclusive society that we all seek. We cannot have an inclusive society if the faith communities themselves are not inclusive.