Live updates

Bishop of Carlisle 'delighted' by women bishop vote

The Bishop of Carlisle has welcomed the news that women can now become bishops within the Church of England.

The General Synod voted in favour of the move yesterday after almost five hours of debate.

“Much prayer and careful consideration has gone into this process. We recognise that at times this has been a painful process for those in favour and those against the creation of women bishops.

“Our priority is growing disciples in Christ and we hope that this decision will help the mission of the church.

“Finally, I would reiterate my personal delight that our excellent women clergy now have parity with their male colleagues and that as we move forward, following this vote, we will continue to be guided by God in all we do.”

– Rt Rev James Newcome, The Bishop of Carlisle

Thirty-seven bishops voted in favour with two against and one abstention, while 162 clergy approved with 25 against and four abstentions.

In the House of Laity, there were 152 votes in favour, 45 against and five abstentions.


Bishop of Carlisle to lead investigation into welfare reforms

The Bishop of Carlisle is to lead Cumbrian commission on welfare reform. The Rt Rev'd James Newcome will chair a county Commission which will review the impact of current and proposed Welfare Reforms.

This is a vitally important body of work and one which I'm sure will demonstrate directly the frontline impact of welfare reforms. It's our Christian duty to ensure all in society are cared for and protected and that any reforms do not unfairly penalise people.

– Bishop James

The Commission has been established at the request of the Cumbria Leaders Board which is made up of key public and third sector leaders in the county. Evidence from charities, community organizations and individuals will be collected over the coming months.


Church buildings will feel the impact of the VAT changes

St Brigets Chirch near Cockermouth Credit: ITV Border

The Archdeacon of West Cumberland Richard Pratt has spoken out against the changes to the VAT exemptions for listed buildings. The extension at St Bridgets in Bridekire near Cockermouth would have cost £50,000 more under the budget changes.He said:

Archdeacon Richard Pratt Credit: ITV Border

"Previously it was only repair work, such as to the roof, which was subject to VAT now any alteration and restoration work will also have to pay it.

We understand the government is between a rock and a hard place on this issue because of the economic climate but we fund everything ourselves through volunteers so I hope they will reconsider."

He added: "The extension here at Bridekirk probably wouldn't be here if it had to pay the tax. It cost £250,000 to build. VAT would push that figure to £300,000 so the congregation would probably still be raising the money."

Tax changes could hit Church of England hard.

Carlisle cathedral Credit: ITV Border

In last month's budget George Osbourne removed tax exemptions for improvements, alterations and restorations on listed buildings. There are suggestions this could cost the Church of England who have 12,500 listed buildings up to £20million. Currently buildings only incur VAT on routine repair work.