Bishop of St Albans asks Government about regulation of online gambling

On 20th September 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers to two questions about the regulation of online gambling:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to regulate the use of electronic data by betting firms and their affiliates to target online advertising at specific groups.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to incorporate a review of online gambling into the Triennial Review of Gaming Machine Stake and Prize Limits. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about regulation of online gambling”

Bishop of St Albans letter to Times on need for more affordable rural housing

On 20th September 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was a signatory to a letter to The Times newspaper about affordable rural housing:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Sir, A thriving countryside needs more good quality, genuinely affordable homes (“Country Unfair”, leading article, Sep 19). Only one in ten homes in rural areas is classed as affordable, compared with one in five in urban areas. The proportion of new affordable homes is shrinking, and rural areas face a significant shortfall over the next five years. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans letter to Times on need for more affordable rural housing”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about help for those in debt

On 18th September 2017 Lord Bates answered two written questions from the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, on credit card debt and the need for a statutory ‘breathing space’ scheme.

Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to introduce measures to prevent the automatic increase of credit card limits. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about help for those in debt”

Betting firms should be forced to take drastic action to protect children from ads says Bishop of St Albans

On 14th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Chadlington, ‘That this House takes note of the effect of gambling advertisements on children.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Chadlington, for introducing this important debate, which has such implications for young people in our country.

Gambling-related advertising poses a substantial risk of harm to children.

Continue reading “Betting firms should be forced to take drastic action to protect children from ads says Bishop of St Albans”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government when housing strategy will be implemented

On 14th September 2017 the Bishop of St Albans asked a question he had tabled to Government about the Government’s housing strategy. His question and follow-up are below, as are the follow up questions from other Members of the House:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to implement the recommendations contained in the Housing White Paper, Fixing our broken housing market.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government and Northern Ireland Office (Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth) (Con): My Lords, housing is a priority for this Government. We are committed to ensuring radical and lasting reform to get homes built now and in future, and are delivering the changes needed to make that happen. For example, we have already launched a £2.3 billion ​fund, which we committed to in the White Paper, to provide essential infrastructure to support up to 100,000 new homes.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the consultation on the housing White Paper was published on 2 May and, as we know, it contained urgently needed measures to address the critical shortfall of housing here in the UK. When does the Minister expect the results of that consultation to be ready, and when can we expect a revised National Planning Policy Framework? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government when housing strategy will be implemented”

Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes

Seven bishops signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper, printed on 14th September 2017, voicing concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes. Four of the signatories were Lords Spiritual:

Local welfare assistance schemes are a vital lifeline for people who find themselves in a crisis and without basic essentials, such as food, electricity, or a working oven. It is therefore very worrying that most of these schemes have been cut back considerably in recent years and that 26 local councils have now closed them altogether, including in many areas that we represent (English councils’ local welfare schemes in ‘meltdown’, 12 September). Continue reading “Bishops raise concern about cutbacks to local authority welfare assistance schemes”

Bishop of St Albans letter to The Times on Government review of fixed odds betting terminals

On 14th September 2017 The Times newspaper published a letter from the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, about the forthcoming Government gambling review and the need to address the issue of fixed odds betting terminals:

Problem gambling

Sir, It is encouraging to read that the prime minister is putting her weight behind the reduction in stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) (“Treasury backs down on fixed-odds betting curbs”, Sep 12). The present maximum stake of £100 for an FOBT looks like an anomaly compared with the stakes permitted in other licensed gaming machine categories, which range from £1 to £5. The £100 stakes allow FOBTs to wreak disproportionate harm. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans letter to The Times on Government review of fixed odds betting terminals”