Recently the Church of England has taken some principled and difficult stances. Unlike other establishments that have covered up child abuse, the Archbishop of Canterbury has launched an investigation into every member of the clergy since 1950, alive and dead, for any indication that they knew about or were involved in child abuse. All relevant information is being handed to the police, an example I am calling on political parties to follow.
The Church of England also took a stand this week against food poverty – not in Africa, but in the UK. It has released a report warning that people are going hungry in the UK because of low pay, inequality and cruel benefits sanctions. The Government should take heed of the Church’s warnings and realise that its current policies are morally unjust. One Baroness dismissed the report and stated that people went hungry because ‘poor people don’t know how to cook.’ This is pure arrogance – the Baroness should know that most people who use food banks later donate to one. Those are British values.
I have been contacted by an exceptionally brave local person who is campaigning to make sure that local people with eating disorders are aware of the help that is available to them. Rebecca was diagnosed at the age of 11 with anorexia and at one stage her medical condition was so bad that she was hospitalised and doctors feared that her heart would stop. Her life was saved however by ‘Freed Beeches’, a charity based in Worksop. They provide a free support and counselling service and also work to educate young people about eating disorders. Early intervention, education and support save lives as Rebecca knows only too well. She is now dedicating herself to raising awareness of eating disorders and supporting Freed Beeches. Next June she is climbing Ben Nevis to raise money for the charity and I am sure that many readers will want to join me in supporting her. Please get in touch on 01909 506200 and I will pass on details of how to sponsor Rebecca. Anyone who wants more information about the treatment that Freed Beeches offers should also contact me on the same number.
This week in Parliament I pressured the Government on fracking in Bassetlaw. Most people who have contacted me in recent months agree with my proposal for no fracking wells to be drilled within two kilometres of any town or village. I called on the Government to allow local Bassetlaw communities to make the ultimate decision on whether fracking should take place at a particular site. I also pointed out that a particular issue that has to be addressed in our area is that our water comes from the local aquifer. Even the industry has identified this as a problem, pointing to the regulations, safety and its competence in how they have dealt with this elsewhere. We do not want the Bassetlaw aquifer damaged in any way and we need absolute confirmation and commitment that this will not and cannot happen. The most crucial point, however, is that the decision should rest with local people – not a department in London.