Week in Westminster, 5th-9th February 2018

The Bishop of St Albans was on duty in the House of Lords throughout the week and asked questions on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, plastics recycling, the Taylor Review of working practices, and women’s centres. Parliament rose for recess and will return on 20th February. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 5th-9th February 2018”

Bishop of St Albans asks about investment in women’s centres as an alternative to prison

On 8th February 2018 Lord Lee of Trafford asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the size of the prison population and conditions within prisons.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question about women in prison:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research by the Ministry of Justice shows that women’s centres have a statistically significant effect on decreasing reoffending rates, are substantially cheaper than keeping women in custody and often allow families to stay together. Will the Minister use his department’s evidence to invest in women’s centres that treat women holistically as the best way forward for many women? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about investment in women’s centres as an alternative to prison”

Bishop of St Albans responds to government statement on Taylor Review of modern working practices

On 7tStAlbans161117h February 2018, the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Henley made a statement regarding the Taylor Review of modern working practices. The  Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, a number of things are to be welcomed in the Government’s response to the Taylor report but perhaps I may pick up on one small thing. One recommendation is that the Government should develop a free online tool to provide individuals with an indication of their employment status and rights. However, do the Government not realise that a large proportion of the workers who are most vulnerable to exploitation are the very ones who will have least access to that sort of digital connectivity? Will the Minister make a commitment that the question of how more vulnerable people can access this information will be looked at closely when implementing this recommendation? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans responds to government statement on Taylor Review of modern working practices”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plastics recycling

On 7th February 2018, Baroness Neville-Rolfe asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what action they are taking to reduce the use of plastic and to ensure that the maximum amount of plastic can be recycled.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith asked a follow-up question: 

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, last year the Environmental Audit Committee recommended a legislated deposit return scheme for plastic drink bottles, which has proved extraordinarily successful in the US, Norway and Germany in improving collection rates and reducing littering. When do the Government plan to do the same in this country? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plastics recycling”

Bishop of St Albans asks government about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

St Albans 2On 5th February 2018, Lord Roberts asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘whether they intend to ensure that every failed asylum seeker, and anyone facing removal from the United Kingdom for whatever reason, has access to adequate legal advice.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research by the Children’s Society shows that unaccompanied and separated children are particularly vulnerable. Only 12 grants for exceptional case funding were made in 2015-16, fewer than 1% of the expected number of cases under the previous system. Hundreds of children are being left without a legal safety net. Can the Minister confirm that the situation of these children will be specifically considered within the review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks government about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children”

Week in Westminster, 29th January – 2nd February 2018

This week in Parliament bishops spoke in debates on the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and on the environment. They asked questions about income inequality, and the Rohiynga in Burma. In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner spoke in a debate about the renovations of the Palace of Westminster, suggesting Church House Westminster might be a suitable alternative venue. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 29th January – 2nd February 2018”

Caroline Spelman on advantages of Church House, Westminster hosting Parliament during renovations

On 31st January 2018, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP spoke in the House of Commons during a debate on a report of the Joint Committee about the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. Dame Caroline spoke twice, raising the possibility of adding Church House to the list of buildings which could be used to accommodate Parliament during the restoration of the Palace.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way—she is getting a lot of requests. On the subject of decanting, and just for the record—I will speak to this later—the House should know that until very recently there was a contract with Church House, under which, should we have needed to decant at short notice in an emergency, which can happen at any time, Church House had always stood ready to accommodate Parliament, as it did during the second world war. Continue reading “Caroline Spelman on advantages of Church House, Westminster hosting Parliament during renovations”