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”

Week in Westminster, 18th – 21st May 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online.

The Bishop of Portsmouth began each virtual sitting day in the Lords with prayers, and asked Government about coronavirus tests for the armed forces, the contact tracing app trials on the Isle of Wight, housing for the homeless, and setting up a Royal Commission on social care.

Throughout the week Lords Spiritual  raised the impact of COVID-19 across a range of policy areas: The Archbishop of Canterbury asked about partnership with faith groups in delivering support to refugee camps, the Bishops of London and Newcastle asked about mental health support for NHS workers, and the right to remain of NHS migrant workers.  The Bishop of Winchester asked about local discretion in reopening schools, and student courses . The Bishops of Durham and St Albans spoke in a debate about the international response.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner Andrew Selous MP answered questions from MPs on the clergy discipline process, and the effects of coronavirus on access to worship, family life, funerals, schools, and hospital chaplaincy. He answered written questions from MPs on coronavirus and the reopening of churches, including for weddings, baptisms and funerals,

The Bishop of St Albans also asked Government about demolition of churches and arrest of Christians in China. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 18th – 21st May 2020”

Week in Westminster, 11th-15th May 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online.

The Bishop of Durham began each virtual sitting day in the Lords with prayers, and also asked COVID-19 related questions of Ministers on rough sleepers, the job retention scheme in the north-east, the two-child benefit limit, school reopening plans and the rollout in schools of relationships education, and the need to include spiritual social and mental wellbeing in the Government’s response strategy. He also raised the situation of migrant children after Brexit.

Throughout the week Lords Spiritual  raised the impact of COVID-19 across a range of policy areas: The Bishop of St Albans called for more help for farmers and for rural transport. The Bishop of Gloucester asked about testing in prisons, and the Bishop of London asked about the effect on immigration detention and removals. The Bishop of Winchester asked about support packages for universities in the UK, and about food insecurity in Africa.

The Bishop of Leeds received answers  on suspending debt payments from poorer countries during the pandemic. The Bishop of Worcester received  answers on the UK’s contribution to the UN pandemic response plan, the WHO and African Union, and the impact of coronavirus on both press freedoms abroad and UK military operations. The Bishop of Coventry received answers  on the impact of COVID-19 on religious minorities overseas including Saudi Arabia, on food aid, and the situation of Baha’i prisoners in Yemen.

The Bishop of Southwark also received answers to written questions on Israel and West Bank settlements.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 11th-15th May 2020”

Week in Westminster, 27 April-1 May 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. 

The Bishop of St Albans began each virtual sitting day in the Lords with prayers, and also asked questions of Ministers on the pressures facing charities because of the coronavirus. He also raised the situation of dairy farmers, and the humanitarian needs of people already vulnerable in Syria.

The Bishop of Durham called on Government to suspend the benefit cap and two-child limit, which he said was contributing to a rise in child poverty during the Covid-19 restrictions. He also received an answer to a written question on the impact on early years childcare provision. The Bishop of Gloucester asked a question about support for vulnerable children during lockdown. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 27 April-1 May 2020”

Week in Westminster, 20-24 April 2020

Parliament returned from Easter recess this week in physical and virtual forms, with much of procedure moving online in response to the social distancing requirements caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  Both Houses also sat for a reduced period, of three days in the week.

The Bishop of Newcastle began the first virtual meeting of the House of Lords with prayers, and asked questions of Ministers on provision of protective equipment in sheltered housing and hospices, and on regional successes in the north-east to produce PPE for local NHS use.

The Bishop of Gloucester also spoke in a Lords debate held online about prisons and coronavirus.

During the Easter recess written answers had been published to questions from the Bishop of London on Covid-19 health support to those in immigration removal centres, the Bishop of Durham on the immigration health surcharge, and visa requirements for religious workers, and the Bishop of St Albans on domestic food production and reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 20-24 April 2020”

Bishop of Newcastle leads prayers in first virtual sitting of House of Lords

On 21st April 2020 the House of Lords began to sit virtually for the first time, using online facilities to enable its procedures to continue during the period of social distancing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The House of Commons also combined virtual and physical proceedings, with some MPs present and others using technology to participate.

In the Commons Chamber physical proceedings began as usual with prayers, read in person by the Speaker’s Chaplain. In the House of Lords the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, began the first ever virtual sitting by reading prayers for those taking part in online proceedings, using a modified form of the usual Prayers for Parliament. She did so in her capacity as duty bishop for the week. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle leads prayers in first virtual sitting of House of Lords”