On 22nd July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question, from Gregory Campbell MP, regarding problem gambling:
Gregory Campbell (DUP): 278399 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to tackle problem gambling.
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On 18th July 2019 Lord Addington (Lib Dem) asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that lottery providers who operate on a national basis, other than the National Lottery, spend a minimum of 25 per cent of their profits on the funding of good causes, which are currently funded by the National Lottery”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research shows that not all lotteries that operate on a national scale make it clear that they are neither charities nor not-for-profit organisations. People often do not realise that. Does the Minister agree that making it mandatory to declare on each ticket the minimum percentage of each pound spent on charity, for both draw-based and instant-win games, would ensure that users really understand just where their money is going?
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On 16th July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans asked the Government “what action they are taking to assist local communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to deliver health advice on the Ebola epidemic, which has now spread to the city of Goma”. The Bishop then asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for her response and for all that DfID and others are doing. If we are to prevent further spread of the disease, we need more grass-roots health education and disease prevention. My colleague, the Bishop of Hertford, is currently using his sabbatical to do just that, working through churches, local community leaders and faith groups, and his health educational material, translated into Swahili, is being delivered through the Anglican dioceses and by 800 Baptist pastors in every part of the DRC. Will the Minister explore how we can support this grass-roots work with indigenous leaders and communities, including the churches, and will she meet me to see how we can build on this initiative?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about assistance with Ebola epidemic in Democratic Republic of Congo”
On 16th July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government, about the Bet Regret campaign:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL16962 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 2 July (HL Deb, col 1346), on what evidence they based their claim that the Bet Regret campaign is showing promising results.
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On 15th July 2019 the Bishop of Newcastle moved an amendment on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill: “(f) delivering regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom in regard to gambling”. The amendment was accepted by Government and agreed by the House without a vote.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans has been unavoidably detained in his diocese, so has asked me to speak to his amendment. This is a probing amendment attempting to address an issue that causes regulatory anomalies, in that Northern Ireland does not have the same standards for gambling as Great Britain. This amendment is an opportunity for the Government to enable greater harmony in gambling regulation and legislation. The existing lack of alignment has appeared piecemeal in nature since the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and has led to confusing quirks. For brevity’s sake, I will quickly outline the differences the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans has identified as being of difficulty to the people of Northern Ireland, who do not have a well-regulated gambling industry with safeguards for all.
Northern Ireland does not use the Gambling Act 2005. Instead, it relies on the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans has suggested that this outmoded basis for a modern gambling industry has led to a lack of safeguards. As the Department for Communities writes on its website, one in 50 Northern Irish adults has a gambling-related problem, which is,
“three times higher than in GB”.
Continue reading “Bishops propose gambling amendment to Northern Ireland Bill”
On 8th July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Sir Oliver Heald on theft from churches:
Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire): 269594 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Commissioners will make an estimate of the number of thefts of lead from church buildings in (a) the diocese of St Albans and (b) England in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019 to date. Continue reading “Church Commissioners written answer: Metal theft from churches”
On 4th July 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Bird “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the role of job security and reducing inequality in tackling the prevalence of mental illness.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for bringing forward this debate, for his distinctive introduction of a kind that we always enjoy when he speaks in the House, and for his tireless work in trying to support people who, for all sorts of reasons, find themselves disadvantaged. I pay tribute to him.
Inequality, unemployment and mental ill health are three interconnected, intersecting areas which are important to address if we are to have a flourishing and thriving society in which all can participate. As we know, mental ill health is one of the two main disabilities affecting participation in work. I am glad that the Government have decided that the NHS long-term plan will assist people with mental health issues into work. That plan recognises that mental health problems disproportionately impact on people living in poverty and those who face various forms of discrimination. This is a huge step forward in the visibility and awareness of this issue, and I hope that it really will help us move ahead.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans on links between inequality, unemployment and mental ill health”