Bishop of St Albans highlights Church investor pressure on companies without female directors

On 5th March 2019 Baroness Nye asked the Government “what steps they are taking to address the gender pay gap.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, this week the Church Investors Group, which has assets of £21 billion, will vote against the chairs of boards of big firms that have poor policies on tax and climate change. From now on, the 67-member group will put pressure on companies that have no women directors. Does the Minister agree with that approach? Does she also agree that it is a welcome step that companies can no longer get away with such dire records of female representation in management positions?

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans for beef farming sector after Brexit

On 12th February 2019 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the Government “what plans they have to achieve net zero carbon emissions in farming.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one point that the NFU made is that our wonderful British beef farmers are already two and a half times more efficient than the world average and four times more efficient compared with the beef from South America, so surely one of the most important things that Her Majesty’s Government could do is to put their weight behind British beef farming. What plans do they have for that sector post Brexit? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans for beef farming sector after Brexit”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for young gambling addicts

StAlbans051218On 5th February 2019 Lord Clark of Windermere asked the Government “when they intend to publish the NHS Workforce Implementation Plan which was announced in the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January”. Rt Revd Alan Smith,  Bishop of St Albans, asked a follow up question about the support services made available to young people with gambling addictions.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is encouraging to hear that the long-term plan will include funding for services for those with gambling addictions. With 430,000 gambling addicts in this country, of which 55,000 are teenagers, this is a really urgent matter. Can we press Her Majesty’s Government please to move on this quickly?

There is only one NHS clinic available at the moment. If funding is an issue, will the Government explore the possibility of introducing a mandatory levy on the gambling industry to pay for the cost to the NHS, which Simon Stevens suggests is £1.2 billion?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about support for young gambling addicts”

Bishop of St Albans – resources needed to ensure successful fly-tipping prosecutions

On 31st January 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government on fly-tipping. The exchanges are below:

Fly-tipping

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact caused by fly-tipping on areas of outstanding natural beauty, following reports that the Woodland Trust has spent over £1 million on cleaning up fly-tipping over the past five years.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con): My Lords, the impact of fly-tipping is grave wherever it occurs. It blights local communities and the environment, and tackling fly-tipping is a government priority. Defra’s recently announced resources and waste strategy outlines our approach to tackling waste crime, including specific proposals to prevent, detect and deter fly-tipping. This month, we gave local authorities and the Environment Agency powers to issue financial penalties to householders who fail in their duty of care and pass waste to fly-tippers.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. Having said that, the statistics from local authorities show that over half of them have not had one successful prosecution for fly-tipping. They say that it is not about a lack of law, regulation or anything else; it is a lack of resource. They simply do not have the ability to use the powers they have already got. What can Her Majesty’s Government do to break through this impasse and address this terrible problem, which we face right across the country?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – resources needed to ensure successful fly-tipping prosecutions”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about gambling treatment in NHS long term plan

On 29th and 30th January the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received four written answers to questions on the NHS and gambling related harm and rehabilitation:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many dedicated gambling clinics will be established as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January; where those clinics will be; what are the expected (1) capital, and (2) annual running costs of those facilities; and when they will be opened to patients. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about gambling treatment in NHS long term plan”

Bishop of St Albans welcomes Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill

On 18th January 2019 the House of Lords considered the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank Tim Loughton MP and the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson of Abinger, for bringing this Bill forward in the Chamber today. It is a complex Bill because it brings together a number of different issues and therefore the danger is that it could fall because a group of people does not like one particular bit of it. I know just how hard it has been working on just the focused registration of marriage part of it, let alone the other focuses. For that reason, I will resist the temptation to widen the debate beyond the scope of the Bill; for example, to explore the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury. I do so because I want us to focus absolutely on what we are trying to deliver. That does not preclude us from having other debates on the points he has made but I do not believe that they are relevant today. Indeed, the danger is that it will confuse matters if we go beyond the scope of what we are trying to do.

As has already been spelled out, the proposals in Clause 1 reflect almost exactly my own Registration of Marriage Bill, which passed through this House with support from your Lordships. Perhaps I may say how grateful I am to the considerable number of people who were immensely helpful. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans welcomes Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill”

Bishop of St Albans – ban online gambling adverts and monitor games to reduce harm to young people

On 17th January 2019 Baroness Kidron led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion “that this House takes note of the relationship between the use of digital technology and the health and well-being of children and young people.” 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 Baroness, Lady Kidron, for raising this subject and for her outstanding introduction to this debate.

Fifty-five thousand children in this country are classified as problem gamblers. The Gambling Commission’s report, Young People and Gambling, published in November, shows that gambling participation has risen, with 14% of 11 to 16 year-olds having spent their own money on gambling. That is a greater proportion of young people than have drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes or taken illegal drugs. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – ban online gambling adverts and monitor games to reduce harm to young people”