On 2nd July 2018 Lord Cameron of Dillington moved that ‘this House takes note of the Report from the Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 “The countryside at a crossroads: Is the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 still fit for purpose?” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition. I also express my gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Cameron, and his Select Committee for their excellent and timely report, The Countryside at a Crossroads. Not surprisingly, many of the points that I wanted to make have already been made, so I will cut out a number of things. I will not detain your Lordships for too long but will just underline one or two points. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans responds to report on Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act”
On 29th June 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on forestry commission land:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many hectares of land managed by the Forestry Commission in England are (1) open habitat, (2) agricultural land, (3) quarries, (4) car parks, and (5) built development. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about forestry commission land”
On 26th April 2018, questions were put in the House of Commons to Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners. Dame Caroline was asked by MPs about freedom of religion in the Commonwealth, recycling, rural schools, out of school education settings and thefts from churches. A full transcript is below.
The right hon Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: religious freedom, schools, recycling, thefts from churches”
On the 12th April the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway received a written answer to his question about teacher recruitment in rural areas.
Continue reading “Bishop of Ely questions Government about teacher recruitment in rural areas”
On 27th March 2018 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked Her Majesty’s Government “what further measures, if any, they plan to take to increase the supply of council housing stock to replace homes for rent lost through right-to-buy sales”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: May I push the Minister a little more on the whole question of rural housing? Only 12% of the rural housing stock is social housing, compared with 19% in urban areas. How exactly are Her Majesty’s Government going to increase the level of rural social housing over the coming years? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about social housing supply in rural areas”
On 14th December 2017 Lord Bird asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to address the root causes of poverty and disadvantage in the United Kingdom.” In the short debate on the question, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke about the link between poverty and mental health, and also the need for action on rural deprivation:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for this debate. I want to make just a couple of points in the time I have.
Plenty of statistics have been bandied around today, and I can quote even more: 14 million people, by some counts, are living in poverty in this country, including 4 million children. The trouble with those and other statistics is that they hide the individual lives they represent: for example, the three men, whom many of us have seen, in sleeping bags in Westminster Tube station as I came in at 8 am yesterday morning; or Joe—not his real name—whom I met this morning in St Peter’s Street in St Albans as I went out to get my morning paper. There has been a visible increase in the number of people on our streets in places such as St Albans over recent months. I have got to know a number of them, and this morning, knowing I was coming in for this debate, I thought I had to sit and talk to Joe just for a minute. I felt I could not in all conscience come and speak on a subject such as this without actually finding out his name and just a little about his story. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights mental health link to poverty, and raises deprivation in rural areas”
On 7th December 2017 Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to support councils to provide emergency housing to help those who have been made unintentionally homeless.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we have heard a great deal about urban areas in cities and the capital, but what about rural areas? What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to address the issue of homelessness in the countryside, where there has been a 52% increase in rough sleeping in our rural areas? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about increase in rough sleeping in rural areas”