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Faith Communities — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:24 pm on 29th May 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Opposition Whip (Lords) 12:24 pm, 29th May 2012

My Lords, in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, I welcome the many contributions, including that of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury-and we hope not for the last time-from the Bishops' Benches. I shall not repeat what has been said but I note that religious practice correlates with higher levels of volunteering and participation in civic society. I most appreciate that voluntary work in the field of alcohol misuse. The Salvation Army is there day after day, night after night, throughout the year.

Today's debate is about government support for the role of faith communities. My question was foreshadowed in the debate last week. The noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, responded but is not in her place today. Why have the Government disbanded, without consultation, the Faith Communities Consultative Council, and what do they propose to put in its place? As perhaps the only noble Lord here who has no faith, as an outsider I pay homage to the work of the faith communities, and even more to that of the interfaith communities. We need you and we hope that your work will continue.