Bishop of St Albans asks Government about data on racial bias in criminal justice system

On 2nd July an answer to an Urgent Question in the Commons on the Lammy Review was given in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on data analysis.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one of the important ideas found in the Lammy report is the use of relative rate index analysis, which provides important data on the way decisions at various points of the criminal justice system take place. This is the sort of tool we will need if we are to address this deeply embedded problem. Will the noble and learned Lord tell the House whether this relative rate index analysis has been a repeated and whether the lessons are being implemented?

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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.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about performing music during Covid-19

On 1 July Lord Berkeley of Knighton asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their response to reports that orchestras and cultural venues are facing permanent closure as a result of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on performing music during Covid-19.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is not just the performance venues that are suffering but many churches and halls rented out for rehearsal space. Will the Minister update the House on the progress of research undertaken into singing and playing woodwind and brass instruments, to see how these activities might be safely undertaken while minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19?

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Vote: Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill

On 29th June 2020 a vote was held in the House of Lords on an amendment to the Government’s Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill, during its Report Stage: Continue reading “Vote: Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about local council income in Luton

On 29th June Baroness Pinnock asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their response to reports that five of the largest councils in the United Kingdom may have to issue a notice under section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, as a result of a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question focusing on local council income in Luton.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is not only these five councils who are facing severe challenges. Luton Borough Council in my own diocese, which is one of the most innovative and forward-looking councils in the country, owns Luton Airport. Due to the lockdown, the collapse of this income stream is resulting in a massive hole in the council’s revenue. What conversations have Her Majesty’s Government had with Luton Borough Council? What are the Government intending to do to support Luton?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about child refugees in Greece

On 25th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question on child refugees in Greece.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5618 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conditions for child refugees in Greece; what humanitarian and medical aid they have provided to those refugees; and what plans they have, if any, to allow them to come to the UK.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about speed of Windrush Compensation Scheme

On 24th June, the Bishop of St Albans asked a question following a Government statement on the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we are all implicated in the conscious and unconscious bias which bedevils our society. It will change only if we all take responsibility to make that change come about. Due to the age of those who came on the “Windrush”, time is of the essence in gaining compensation. Some of them have already died. What specifically is being done to speed up the process? On the more general issue, what is the relationship between the various groups, such as this cross-government working group and the race equality commission, and is the Minister sure that these groups will complement each other and expedite matters rather than confuse them?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about reassurances to minority communities following Reading attack

On 23rd June 20202 the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a question following a statement from the Government on the terrorist attacks in Reading on 20th June.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: The Minister has referred to the extra £90 million for counterterrorism. Is this ring-fenced and will it be continued in future years? Secondly, what reassurances and protections are being given to minority communities, which will be feeling very vulnerable at this point?

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about restrictions on Christian preachers in China

On 23rd June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question  on religious freedom in China.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5718 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that priests in China have been forced to preach Chinese nationalism in return for the opening of religious spaces.

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