The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 8th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to improve water quality in Hertfordshire.
Lord Benyon (Con): Improving water quality remains a government priority. We have set new targets under the Environment Act to address major pressures on water. This will significantly reduce pollution from agriculture, wastewater treatment works and abandoned metal mines pollution.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 8th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address issues with the egg supply chain.
Lord Benyon (Con): The UK egg industry operates in an open market and the value of egg commodities, including the farm gate egg price, is established by those in the supply chain including farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about government discussions with water companies regarding pollution on 1st March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask His Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with water companies regarding water pollution.
Lord Benyon (Con): My Lords, the current environmental performance of water companies is unacceptable. In December 2022, the Water Minister and the Secretary of State met with CEOs of lagging water companies—as identified by Ofwat’s recent assessment—to outline the Government’s expectations that performance must improve significantly. Furthermore, in January, my colleague Rebecca Pow met with the CEO of South West Water. She will be meeting the CEOs of all lagging companies individually every six months and she expects to see significant progress. Most recently, I also met CEOs of water companies with Minister Pow to highlight the importance of addressing water pollution and reaching their net-zero goals.
The Bishop of St Albans asked about support for domestic businesses such as market gardens, during a debate on rising food prices on 27th February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, security is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of any Government, yet with huge hikes in the cost of food from overseas, our domestic market is declining. Take, for example, the outstanding market garden sector in the Lea Valley in my diocese. About 10% of them had to close in the last year because of the cost of heating. What are the Government going to do to ensure that those market gardens are able to sustain themselves, to guarantee our basic food security in this country?
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 27th February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the measures they would need to implement to ensure the UK is compliant with international human rights obligations to migrants in the event of withdrawal from the ECHR.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): Further detail regarding the new legislation to tackle small boats will be set out in due course.
The Bishop of St Albans spoke in a debate on British-Iranian relations on 23rd February 2023, emphasising the importance of holding the Iranian regime to account, and the critical role played by media services such as BBC Persian:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for obtaining this debate, for his superb introductory talk and not least for his powerful call that we should oppose the persecution of Baha’is and Christians. I will raise just two issues in the few moments I have.
First, as we conduct British-Iranian relations, it is vital that we support loudly and clearly those who are demonstrating for their freedoms, in particular those who face the most opposition: the young and the women who are being opposed by their own Government. They are rightly demonstrating for freedom of speech and for their rights to an education and a job.
It is difficult to know exactly how many people have been caught up in the demonstrations although it is widely reported that, so far, between 600 and 800 protesters have been killed, more than 30,000 have been arrested and more than 40 have been executed. Those are probably very modest figures. I echo the question to the Minister from the noble Lord, Lord Alton: what attempts are being made to record the regime’s crimes so that they can be taken to the UN Security Council? What representations have His Majesty’s Government made to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Does the Minister agree that Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi should be held to account?
The Bishop of St Albans took part in a debate on healthcare in rural areas on 23rd February 2023, highlighting issues of age, access and infrastructure:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, for obtaining this debate. She is a powerful champion for these issues; we are grateful that she continues to raise them. I also add my thanks to and appreciation of all those who work on the front line in our rural areas. They often have to drive huge distances, sometimes along quite difficult roads; it is not always easy and is certainly not always as wonderful as our memories of remote rural areas from our holidays. I declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition.
Although many people in this country dream of retreating to the rural idyll that is deeply embedded in the English psyche, they do not always realise that, if their dream comes true, they may face many challenges in living in rural areas: poor access to banks and cash; patchy broadband; sporadic mobile signal; virtually non-existent public transport; and little childcare. Then, of course, there is the topic we are exploring today: the stresses on the healthcare system, which is primarily and unsurprisingly designed for an urban context. Rurality faces a unique challenge in the delivery of healthcare, demanding that the Government adopt a clear strategy for improvement. I welcome His Majesty’s Government’s promise to rural-proof our healthcare system; my hope is that that promise will be able to deliver what is needed.
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 23rd February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what further steps they will be taking to protect vulnerable people during the cold weather.
Lord Callanan (Con): The Government has set up a number of Energy Affordability schemes to support vulnerable people with the cost of their energy bills during the cold weather. The Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical household in Great Britain £900 this Winter. The Energy Bills Support Scheme provided households with £400 non-repayable Government discount paid in instalments to UK households from October 2022 to March 2023. Households using alternative fuels will be also entitled to a £200 Alternative Fuel Payment.
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