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Faith Communities — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:14 pm on 29th May 2012.

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Photo of Lord Mawson Lord Mawson Crossbench 12:14 pm, 29th May 2012

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.