Week in Westminster, 27th-31st July 2020

Parliament met this week from Monday to Wednesday, with the Bishop of Rochester beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishop welcomed the Government’s plans for targeted human rights sanctions and stressed the need for consistency in approach, including towards China. He also asked about elderly domestic abuse, help for the disadvantaged in the coronavirus response strategy, and the UK’s commitment to poverty reduction when DfID and the Foreign Office merge.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about setting up regional travel corridors.

The Bishop of Bristol received written answers to questions on overseas domestic workers, and seasonal workers, and the Bishop of Southwark received written answers to questions on Israel and Palestine.

Parliament rose for its summer recess and will return in early September. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 27th-31st July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 20th-24th July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online, with the Bishops of Chichester and Southwark beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishops of Southwark and Bristol spoke in a debate on the Government’s Immigration Bill, raising issues of modern slavery, EU citizens, the right to work, visa costs and eligibility.  The Bishop of Southwark also asked Government to take action on reports of human rights abuses in China. The Bishop of Chichester asked a question about the impact of student loans on recruitment and retention in public services, and also about support for children who are victims of domestic abuse.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about action against rising levels of knife crime. He also asked a question about guidance on singing and compulsory wearing of face masks in places of worship. The Bishop also spoke to amendments on maintaining food security during debates on the Government’s Agriculture Bill, and voted on two amendments to the Government’s Business and Planning Bill.

The Bishop of Winchester asked Government about student eligibility for free college meal vouchers and the Bishop of Durham asked Government about training and apprenticeship funding for disadvantaged students.

The Bishop of Salisbury received written answers to questions on the Russia Report and the Green Home Grants Scheme. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 20th-24th July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 13th-17th July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishop of Birmingham began each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers. He also asked questions in the Chamber about pay and conditions in UK trade supply chains, and reports of plans to move the Lords to York.

The Archbishop of Canterbury asked Government about preventing use of digital platforms for incitement to hatred and violence. The Bishop of Bristol asked Government about Covid-19, modern slavery and agricultural workers.

The Bishop of Salisbury asked a question about aid for Sudan and South Sudan. The Bishop of Durham asked Government about the impact of the two-child limit on poverty in working families. The Bishop of St Albans supported amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill on food security, and also asked Government about small businesses and Brexit transition. The Bishop of Newcastle received a written answer to a question on Coastal Communities funding for the north-east.

Both Houses of Parliament passed motions to approve for Royal Assent the Church of England Channel Islands Measure.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 13th-17th July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 6-10 July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishops of Carlisle and St Albans began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. They also asked questions in the Chamber about social care, reform of Gift Aid rules to help churches and charities struggling financially, human rights in Bahrain, COVID-19 infection rates in abattoirs, and antibiotics in US farmed beef.

Answers were published to written questions from the Bishop of Durham on children’s benefits, the Bishop of St Albans on gambling, and the Bishop of Birmingham on mineral supplies for green industries. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 6-10 July 2020”

Week in Westminster 29th June – 3rd July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishop of Coventry began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. He also asked Government questions about involving faith communities in mental health care, data sharing as part of the pandemic response, support for asylum seekers, and religious persecution in China.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions about singing and music in churches, data on racial bias in the criminal justice system, local council funding, and he voted on an amendment to the Government’s Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill.

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry published its findings. The Bishop of St Albans had served as a key member of the Committee.

The Bishop of London asked Government about mental health support for care workers.

The Bishop of Winchester asked Government about access and retention in higher education institutions of those preparing for key public service roles.

Answers were published to written questions from the Bishop of Rochester on Covid-19 in prisons, the Bishop of Newcastle on the Government’s approach to PPE procurement, the Bishop of Southwark on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation, and the Bishop of Salisbury on the publication of the ISC Russia report.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered two written questions, on reopening of churches and financial support.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster 29th June – 3rd July 2020”

Time to act to reduce gambling-related harm, says Lords report

On 2nd July 2020 the House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry published its findings. The Bishop of St Albans had served as a key member of the Committee. The press notice from the Committee website is reproduced below:

Time to act to reduce gambling-related harm, says Lords report

2 July 2020

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry today warns that more needs to be done to prevent gambling-related harm. The liberalisation of gambling by the Gambling Act 2005, the universal adoption of smart phones, and the exploitation of soft-touch regulation by gambling operators has created a perfect storm of addictive 24/7 gambling. The Committee expects the Government and the regulator to make changes now. Many of the report’s recommendations do not need legislation, and all of them are urgent if consumers are to be protected and lives saved.

The report can be downloaded from the Parliament website here.

Continue reading “Time to act to reduce gambling-related harm, says Lords report”

Week in Westminster 22nd-26th June 2020

 

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishop of Newcastle began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. She also asked Government questions about post-lockdown rules on hymn singing in churches, and on poverty in coastal areas.

The Bishop of Gloucester asked a question on violence against women and the Domestic Abuse Bill.

The Bishop of St Albans responded to Government statements on the attack in Reading and on the Windrush Compensation Scheme. He also asked Government about freedom of religion in China, child refugees in Greece, and took part in two votes on the Government’s Fisheries Bill.

The Bishop of Southwark asked Government  about Commonwealth citizens who have resided a long time in the UK but without documentation.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster 22nd-26th June 2020”

Week in Westminster, 15th-19th June 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online.

The Bishops of Durham and Peterborough began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. They also asked Government about, respectively, the situation of children in families with no recourse to public funds, and for Government commitments to overseas aid in light of the merger of Government departments.

Eight bishops opposed Government Regulations on abortion in Northern Ireland in a vote in the Lords to approve them. The Bishop of Carlisle set out his concerns about the implications for abortion on grounds of disability.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government whether they would implement the findings of past reviews into racism and discrimination following recent public protests. He also asked about freedom of religion in China, and about future social housing provision.

The Bishop of Gloucester received answers to questions on COVID-19 in prisons, cell sharing, shielding and deaths. The Bishop of Rochester also asked about coronavirus in prisons, and about the role of smaller charities in providing probation services.

The Bishop of Salisbury asked Government about emissions reduction targets, and the Bishop of Winchester asked about the retention of nurses in the NHS. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 15th-19th June 2020”

Week in Westminster, 8-12 June 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online.

The Bishop of Derby began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers, spoke in a debate on the  COVID-19 recovery strategy and asked Government about protecting children from online harms.

The Bishop of Oxford also spoke in the debate on the COVID-19 recovery strategy, on the need for digital access for all.

The Bishop of Worcester asked Government whether G20 countries would write off the debts owed by the world’s poorest countries.

The Bishop of St Albans spoke in a debate on the Government’s Agriculture Bill, and asked questions on child poverty, and business rates for small high street shops.

The Bishop of Carlisle asked Government when routine health checks for the over-75s would resume, the Bishop of Gloucester asked about COVID-19 levels in immigration removal centres, and the Bishop of Rochester asked about the same in prisons.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question on plans for reopening of church buildings for individual prayer.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 8-12 June 2020”

Week in Westminster, 1-5 June 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online.

The Bishop of Chelmsford began each virtual sitting day in the Lords with prayers, spoke in a debate on the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked Government about reducing poverty by raising universal credit payments.

The Bishop of St Albans spoke in a debate on protests in Hong Kong, asked Government about the links between mental health and gambling, and supported Regulations on direct payments to UK farmers. The Bishop of Winchester asked Government about the impact of COVID-19 on apprenticeship schemes.

During the preceding recess week, written answers had been given to questions from the Bishop of St Albans on free school meals, the Bishop of Salisbury on coal and renewable energy in India, the Bishop of Bristol on modern day slavery, and the Bishop of Durham on the two-child benefit limit. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 1-5 June 2020”