Places of Worship: Protective Security Funding - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:18 pm on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 7:18 pm, 7th May 2019

I thank the right reverend Prelate for those questions. Starting with his last question first, the real benefit of the consultation is that people—including, I am sure, the right reverend Prelate himself—can point out some of the wider risks that we have not perhaps considered in deliberating on the security of not just places of worship but the people who worship there and those who lead people in worship.

He mentioned the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, which I neglected to deal with—that is, the balance between security and being welcome and open. People go to places of worship for such a wide range of reasons. We all know the role that the Church has played throughout history through the various operations it facilitates for people who are hungry, homeless, need refuge for the night or just an ear to listen, which is one of the most important things the clergy does. It is always so sad when a church or other place of worship is closed for security reasons. The right reverend Prelate has made a very good point. I know that he is not making a pitch but an offer from the Church of England, and I thank him for the help that it has given with the administration of funding so far.