On 14th December the Bishop of St Albans asked a question during exchanges on a statement about the Government’s Gambling Review:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]:
My Lords, it is true that we cannot cost the human hurt and pain, but the Statement praised the tax receipts and employment benefits that come from the gambling industry but did not mention any of the financial costs of gambling-related harms. Will the Minister assure the House that, as part of the evidence-based approach, the review will include research into the cost of gambling-related harms—for example, for the 14 clinics dealing with gambling addictions, the cost of trials and imprisonment, the cost of JSA claims and the terrible cost of suicides—to ascertain whether the gambling industry is really a net contributor to the Treasury, as the Government claim?
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On 10th December the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on whether Uighur forced labour had been used in production of PPE bought by Government for use in the UK:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether Uighur forced labour was used in the production of personal protective equipment purchased by the UK from Medwell Medical Products; and what plans they have to implement due diligence checks to ensure that items purchased by the UK have not been produced using such forced labour. [HL10106]
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On 8th December the Bishop of St Albans responded to a Government statement on its Agriculture Transition Plan:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]
: My Lords, I declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition and pay tribute to the Minister, who has worked so hard on getting this through.
In the ELMS policy discussion document, Her Majesty’s Government recognised the bureaucratic burden that the CAP had placed on farmers and administrators. We were optimistic that the rollout of rural broadband would help a great deal, although the comprehensive spending review seems to have drawn back, and many people in rural areas are deeply concerned about how these new processes will be worked through.
Can the Minister outline the plans for the ELMS application process and how it is intended to reduce bureaucratic constraints? Can he assure the agricultural community that there will be adequate helplines staffed by those who have been fully trained in these new processes?
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On 7th December the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Trade Bill. Three votes on amendments were held in which Lords Spiritual took part. All three amendments were passed:
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On 7th December the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishop of St Albans sponsored and spoke in support of amendment 6 from Lord Purvis of Tweed on parliamentary approval of future trade deals:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V] :
My Lords, I support Amendment 6 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Purvis of Tweed, and the revision he has made as he has engaged with the Government. I am grateful for his very clear exposition and will be concise in my support.
Modern trade agreements affect huge swathes of public policy, including consumer and workers’ rights, environmental legislation, food standards, health, public services and international development. MPs, who represent constituencies and work with a variety of stakeholders, deserve the right to assess the consequences of an agreement, as does your Lordships’ House.
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On 7th December the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on Ethiopia, armed conflict and food shortages:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to African members of the Commonwealth to encourage them to ensure a peaceful solution to the conflict in Tigray. [HL10708]
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On 3rd December 2020 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on the effect of quantative easing on wages and house prices:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effects of quantitative easing on the increase in house prices compared to increases in wages. [HL10488]
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On 2nd December 2020 in the House of Lords the Bishop of St Albans responded to a Ministerial statement about the cut in overseas aid:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, I ask the Minister to answer the question from the noble Lord, Lord Collins: will Her Majesty’s Government include a sunset clause in any legislation amending the International Development Act?
Secondly, do the Government intend to produce and publish any impact assessment of the reduction in spending on official development assistance?
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On 2nd December 2020 the Bishop of St Albans asked a question in the Lords during exchanges on a question from Lord Alton about the announcement by the Ethiopian Government on 30 November about military operations in the northern Tigray region:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]:
Prior to the conflict, Tigray was a safe haven for Eritrean refugees afraid to return home because of fear of persecution. With Eritrea’s rumoured involvement in the conflict against the TPLF, what assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of the validity of claims that the Eritrean military are forcing refugees into trucks and abducting them back to Eritrea?
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