On 11th December 2013, Lord Selsdon asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to regulate the issue of payday loans to those without a regular income.
The Bishop of Truro asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, what consideration, if any, has been given to introducing a real-time database of payday loans in order to ensure that the proposed FCA rules can be properly monitored and enforced and, in particular, to avoid the problem—a special one at this time of year—of people being able to take out multiple loans from different companies at the same time?
Lord Newby: My Lords, a real-time database is one of the things that the FCA will be looking at. In some of the countries and US states where they have effective caps on the cost of payday loans, such systems have been seen to work efficiently and be very effective.
On 9th December 2013, the Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to improve the official information available, including on the United Kingdom Border Agency website, for long- and short-term visitors to the United Kingdom, and in particular artists and entertainers.
The Bishop of Truro asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I do not wish to argue that all clergy are entertainers as that would not be true in my experience. But can the Minister comment on the frustration felt again and again by Christian people—clergy and others, especially from Africa—who are invited by dioceses in this country with expenses guaranteed? They have to travel long distances and are not always able to access websites to apply for a visa and are then faced with delay or refusal based on the assumption that they will not return home to their families and responsibilities.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I am sure the right reverend Prelate will be aware of the responsibility on all Border Agency staff to deal judiciously with these matters. However, they can act only on the information that they have when people present themselves for entry. I hope that the new website will make it much easier for everybody to come here. If anybody is organising an event which involves people coming from overseas, they have an opportunity, in a spirit of partnership, to make sure that everybody is aware of the documentation they require. There is no difficulty getting that documentation provided the application is made.
On 4th December 2013, the Bishop of Coventry received an answer to a written question on Syria.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Amnesty International’s report of 31 October on Growing Restrictions, Tough Conditions: The plight of those fleeing Syria to Jordan.
Baroness Northover: The Government is committed to ensuring those affected by the crisis in Syria can get assistance wherever they seek refuge. We are providing multi-year financial and technical support to neighbouring countries, and for them to keep borders open. To date the UK has allocated £105.1 million to Jordan to support refugees and host communities. DFID also recently announced £12 million of development funding over the next two years to help local Jordanian municipal governments maintain and improve public services. Neighbouring countries have been extremely generous in hosting Syrian refugees, and we urge them to continue to show that generosity by welcoming those seeking safety keep their borders open.
On 2nd December 2013, the Bishop of Derby recieved answers to two written questions on human trafficking. The Bishop served as a member of the Joint Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill during its pre-legislative scrutiny in 2014.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial support they have provided in each year since 2009 to support programmes overseas to tackle human trafficking.
Continue reading “Human trafficking – written questions”
On 2nd December 2013, the Bishop of Worcester received answers to three written questions related to the situation in the West Bank.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the West Bank such as the confiscation of humanitarian aid and the prevention of access to communities in need of emergency assistance.
Baroness Northover: We are concerned at reports that the Israeli military authorities have blocked the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. Where humanitarian aid is needed, Israel is obliged under international humanitarian law to facilitate the work of humanitarian relief schemes. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised this issue with the Israeli National Security Adviser and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Continue reading “Israel and Palestine: West Bank – Written Questions”
On 2nd December 2013, the Bishop of Chester asked a question in the House of Lords on energy bills, following a Governmnet Statement on the subject.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, there is much in the Statement that I welcome, particularly a point that has not been commented on directly. The move in support for the social aspects of the programme from energy bills to general taxation will have some impact on the poorest and on fuel poverty and is entirely to be welcomed. The renewables obligation payments are still going to be collected through energy bills. When will the expected increases in those precepts on bills eat up the £50 which has been announced today?
Continue reading “Bishop of Chester responds to Government Statement on energy bills”
On 28th November 2013, Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the outcome of the talks held earlier this month regarding the proposed Geneva II peace conference on the conflict in Syria.
The Bishop of Wakefield asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, much as I am encouraged by the recent UN announcement that the Geneva talks are to take place on 22 January, I would welcome the Minister’s reassurance that this was born not out of an understandable desperation and frustration, but that there is a real and clear diplomatic plan for progress. Am I right in assuming that the Free Syrian Army, which is one of the largest rebel groups taking part in the war in the moment, will be represented at those talks?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Our view is that it is important that the date for Geneva II was set, and I am the sure that the whole House welcomes that it has been determined. Her Majesty’s Government’s view is that the national coalition and the current Syrian national coalition, led by President Ahmad Assi Jarba, will be central to the delegation representing the opposition at the talks.