Mental health, Armenia, gambling, Ethiopia

On 18th January 2021 in the House of Lords the Bishop of Bristol asked a question about mental health, the Bishop of Coventry asked about Armenian heritage.

Meanwhile the Bishop of St Albans and the Archbishop of York received written answers to questions on gambling-related harm and Ethiopia.

Full text below.

Mental Health

The Bishop of Bristol, Viv Faull, said: “I join fellow Members in welcoming the Statement and the response to the significant report by Sir Simon Wessely.

“As the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, noted and as the Minister commented, the evidence is that minority ethnic individuals are 40% more likely than white Britons to come into contact with mental health services through the criminal justice system.

“Will the Minister explain how the proposed framework will address the underlying attitudes and practices that led to this statistic, which at best are described as a failure to understand the culture and at worst are a reflection of racist views?”

Foreign policy

The Bishop of Coventry said: “Thousands of Armenian monuments and cultural heritage sites are now under Azerbaijan’s control, including ancient churches, monasteries and cemeteries.

“There is evidence that Azerbaijan has already begun to deny the Armenian heritage of these sites, so what steps are the Government taking to support UNESCO in drawing up an inventory of the most significant cultural monuments, and have conversations been had with Azerbaijan about its responsibilities under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict?”

Gambling-related harm

The Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 3 November 2020 (HL9440), what resources are available for training new officers in the British Armed Forces to identify those under their command who are experiencing financial difficulties caused by gambling.

Baroness Goldie answered: “Trainee Officers in the UK Armed Forces are provided with briefing to identify the various indicators that personnel under their command may be experiencing financial difficulties, including those caused by gambling.

“We also provide our Officers with briefings from the Royal British Legion MoneyForce initiative which aim to assist all Service personnel, their partners, families and dependants, to be better equipped to manage their money and financial affairs. When problemgambling is identified, Officers are equipped with information and advice on where to signpost their personnel to receive help, including through specialist military welfare staffs (SSAFA), Service charities, the NHS Problem Gambling Clinic, Gamcare, the Gordon Moody Association and Gamblers Anonymous. Officers can also signpost their personnel to the Joining Forces Credit Union which supplies bespoke products to move Service personnel away from Payday Loan Companies. Joint Forces Credit Union has also set up a specific COVID-19 support package.

“In addition, The Money and Pensions Service have also run a financial awareness campaign with the British Forces Broadcasting Service to highlight everything from savings/loans to pensions.”

Ethiopia

The Archbishop of York: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in Tigray; and what steps they are taking in response to any such assessment.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon responded: “The UK has been at the forefront, liaising closely with the UN and partners, in calling for sustained, free and unfettered humanitarian access across Tigray, in line with the guiding principles laid down by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Two joint UN and Government of Ethiopia assessment missions to Tigray have taken place, with assessment reports expected soon. We continue to press for the supply of humanitarian assistance to all those who need it. UK supported livesaving assistance including health, nutrition, non food items (such as blankets, shelter and cooking equipment) and water and sanitation has reached some of the conflict affected areas.

“We continue to work with the UN to promote and monitor access and the delivery of humanitarian support to all those who need it, including to civilians in contested areas.”