Bishop of St Albans asks about impact of gambling advertising on young people

On 12th October 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on gambling advertising and young people:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the long-term effects of gambling advertising on young people and their future participation in gambling activities. [HL8688] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about impact of gambling advertising on young people”

Bishop of Blackburn: covid provides chance to reset priorities, not just going ‘back to normal’

On 9th October 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020. Alongside that it also debated a Motion from Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, “that this House regrets that the Regulations include further restrictions for the hospitality sector without introducing the additional measures which are needed to ensure (1) financial support for the businesses, and (2) the retention of the jobs of employees affected by the restrictions”. The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I am very exercised, as I imagine we all are, with the challenge of not just restrictions but possible shutdown and closure of different industries. Hospitality is but one: there are also entertainment and cinema, theatre, concerts and opera, aviation and travel, to name but a few. Those closures and threat of closures and the way they have been communicated are bringing grief, anxiety, debt and mental health issues to many lives and families, especially, I would say, in the north.

Continue reading “Bishop of Blackburn: covid provides chance to reset priorities, not just going ‘back to normal’”

Week in Westminster 5th – 9th October 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Rochester and Blackburn.

Across two days eleven bishops supported successful amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, on:

  • Child refugees & family reunion
  • Detention time limits
  • Children in care
  • Modern slavery victims
  • Social care impact
  • Right to return for UK nationals
  • Documentary proof of status

The Bishop of Southwark spoke in favour of several of these during the Lords debates. He also called on Government to resume the refugee resettlement programme, suspended in March. Continue reading “Week in Westminster 5th – 9th October 2020”

Trade Bill: Bishop of Blackburn supports amendments on sustainable development goals, environmental, health and food standards

On 8th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in committee. The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in support of amendments that would:

  • require parliamentary approval of both negotiating objectives and of free trade agreements before the UK becomes a signatory to any agreements, to safeguard food, environmental, animal welfare and health standards.
  • ensure trade agreements cannot be implemented, signed or ratified unless they are consistent with the provisions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Bishops’ speeches are below and the full text of the amendments beneath.

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, having made my maiden speech a week or so ago at Second Reading of the Bill, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, for proposing Amendment 35, to which I wish to speak, without, I have to say, the expertise of other contributors, but I shall speak in favour of the amendment on two counts, only simply, as I do not wish to repeat what has already has been said. Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of Blackburn supports amendments on sustainable development goals, environmental, health and food standards”

Bishop of Blackburn asks Government for increase in universal credit to help families struggling because of covid

On 8th October 2020 Baroness Sherlock asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on (1) low-income families with children, and (2) the support provided to them by the social security system.” The Bishop of Blackburn asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, a recent report by the Church of England and the Child Poverty Action Group highlighted the “disproportionate impact” of the pandemic on low-income families with children, saying that:

“Without a radical change in policy direction, the prospects for many families are likely to deteriorate further through the remainder of this year as unemployment rises”

and more families become reliant on the welfare system. Following Prime Minister’s Question Time in the other place yesterday, will the Government do more than consider? Will they commit to making the temporary uplift in universal credit permanent? Will they also commit to a commensurate increase in the level of support for children, to reflect the additional needs of families with children? Continue reading “Bishop of Blackburn asks Government for increase in universal credit to help families struggling because of covid”

Bishop of Coventry raises case of Nigerian detained without trial

On 8th October 2020 the Bishop of Coventry received a written answer from Government about the detention without trial of Professor Richard Solomon Tarfa in Nigeria:

Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about the arrest and ongoing detention without trial of Professor Richard Solomon Musa Tarfa. [HL8624] Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry raises case of Nigerian detained without trial”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government how it will factor rural interests into future spending priorities

On Wednesday 7th October 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to two questions on how the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review will consider rural affairs:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what requirements have been placed on departments by Her Majesty’s Treasury to ‘rural proof’ their submissions to the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review; and how each of those departments have fulfilled these requirements. [HL8549]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the report by the Select Committee on the Rural Economy, Time for a Strategy for the rural economy, published on 26 March 2019 (HL Paper 330), what plans they have to ensure that each department’s Comprehensive Spending Review settlement will be conditional on ensuring that nobody living in a rural area is unreasonably disadvantaged by where they live. [HL8550] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government how it will factor rural interests into future spending priorities”

Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans backs amendments on food and environmental standards

On Tuesday 6th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in Committee. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of amendments on securing food and environmental standards in future trade deals:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]:  My Lords, I plan to say a few words on Amendment 20, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. I am also sympathetic to Amendments 23, 25 and 26.​

Food production and environmental standards, as well as the safety that they enshrine, are crucial to a healthy agricultural sector that seeks to mitigate the dangers arising from poor practices and the low-quality products they produce. Ensuring continuity has been a big priority for a number of Members. Issues surrounding the responsible administration of antibiotics to livestock, for example, are not national issues but global public health ones. Despite the Bill covering existing trading arrangements, we should not forget that the raison d’être for leaving the European Union was the assertion of our sovereignty. Continue reading “Trade Bill: Bishop of St Albans backs amendments on food and environmental standards”

Bishop of Rochester welcomes Government plans for breathing space for those with problem debt

On 6th October 2020 the House of Lords approved the Government’s Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. The Bishop of Rochester spoke in the debate, in support of the aim of the Regulations:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate, and I broadly and warmly welcome the provisions in these regulations. While the effects of the pandemic certainly give increased importance to these provisions, the issues are, of course, of very much longer standing. I pay tribute to organisations, including the Children’s Society, which have long campaigned on these matters, as well as to the honourable Member for Rochester and Strood, Kelly Tolhurst, my own Member of Parliament, who, before she was made a Minister, proposed a Private Member’s Bill in the other place to address some of these issues. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester welcomes Government plans for breathing space for those with problem debt”

Bishop of Rochester voices concern about effect of covid ‘rule of six’ on family life

On 6th October the House of Lords approved the Government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020. A further motion to ‘regret’ the Regulations was put by Lord Lamont of Lerwick on grounds of “the failure of Her Majesty’s Government adequately to consult the public in the preparation of the Regulations and the impracticality of enforcing the measures”. The Bishop of Rochester spoke in the debate on both Motions:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, like others, I tend to think that carrots are more effective than sticks. It is, therefore, vital, if people are to behave as the Government might wish, that they understand and assent to the reasons for particular restrictions.

My understanding of the rationale for the rule of six is that is about restricting the mixing of households. I understand that, and I seek, in my role and personally, to abide by that principle. But what the Minister has said notwithstanding, the anomalies do not help to gain that consent. If I have understood things correctly, I may, in a given period, be a part of more than one group of six, and thereby, I am multiplying the households with which I have contact. Yet, as many have observed—and there are other examples—a couple with three children cannot meet with two grandparents at the same time, even though that would only be two households in most instances. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester voices concern about effect of covid ‘rule of six’ on family life”