Votes: EU (Withdrawal) Bill

On 18th April 2018 the House of Lords considered amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill at its Report Stage. Two votes took place on amendments to the Bill, both of which saw bishops take part: Continue reading “Votes: EU (Withdrawal) Bill”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures

On 6th April 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to three questions about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings civil servants and ministers have had with stakeholders about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures; and what were the (1) dates, (2) locations, and (3) attendees, of each of those meetings.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether all submissions to the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures will be published alongside the review.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have commissioned small-scale qualitative research to assess the appropriate stakes for category B2 gaming machines. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about social housing supply 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”

Bishop of St Albans calls on Government to reduce stakes on ‘modern scourge’ of fixed-odds betting machines

On 22nd March 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a qurstion he had tabled about the social costs of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). A transcript of his question and those of other members in response, is below: 

Gambling: Fixed-odds Betting Terminals
The Lord Bishop of St Albans, To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the social costs of fixed-odds betting terminals.

Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen (Con): My Lords, the consultation on gaming machines and social responsibility measures closed on 23 January, and all responses are currently being considered. An impact assessment was published alongside the consultation in October and any additional evidence submitted, including on social costs related to FOBTs, will be taken into consideration. It was made clear at consultation that the stakes on FOBTs would be reduced, and the final position will be published in due course.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, these particular machines are a modern-day scourge which create misery and deepen poverty. Unemployed people are more likely to play these games than any other ​group. Citizens Advice has shown that, for every addict, six to 10 other adults are directly and adversely affected. The children and families of addicts are simply bewildered at the Gambling Commission’s suggestion that a stake of up to £30 might be acceptable. Will the noble Baroness assure the House that the needs of the vulnerable will be placed above concerns about either tax revenue or the gambling lobby, and that a £2 stake is the only answer? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls on Government to reduce stakes on ‘modern scourge’ of fixed-odds betting machines”

Bishop of St Albans receives written answer about the incarceration of a British citizen in the US

Bishop St Albans June 2015

On 5th March, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government about the incarceration of a British citizen in America:

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans receives written answer about the incarceration of a British citizen in the US”

Time to recognise mothers’ names – Bishop of St Albans and Caroline Spelman

The following article was published in the Church Times on 2 March 2018:

Time to recognise mothers’ names

Our Bill will right an injustice and lessen clergy burdens, say Alan Smith and Caroline Spelman.

THE current system of marriage registration contains a clear and historic injustice. Only the couple’s fathers’ names are formally recorded when the marriage is registered. This practice, unchanged since 1837, means that mothers are systemically overlooked on a day that celebrates the creation of a new family.

We have, therefore, chosen to introduce identical Bills in the House of Lords and the House of Commons to ensure that mothers’ names are equally recognised when marriages are registered (News, 2 February). MPs from all main parties have supported calls for reform, and a 2014 petition asking the Government to include mothers’ names received more than 70,000 signatures.

Continue reading “Time to recognise mothers’ names – Bishop of St Albans and Caroline Spelman”