On 24th June 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, recieved an answer to a written question on off-grid energy supply.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress was made towards improving the security and affordability of off-grid fuel supply at the third ministerial roundtable meeting on heating oil and liquid petroleum gas supply on 21 May.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): My Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Energy chaired the third Ministerial Roundtable meeting on heating oil and LPG supply on 21 May. My rt. hon Friend the Minister of State for Climate Change joined the roundtable discussion on off gas grid fuel poor households and support for off gas grid consumers. This continued the useful discussions government has had at the previous two Roundtables with representatives from industry, consumer groups, oil buying groups and others on how to improve heating oil and LPG supply to UK consumers.
Issues covered at the third roundtable included the promotion of the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers’ Customer Charter, the messaging to consumers on buying oil early ahead of the winter and an update on the action government is taking more broadly to help fuel poor off-grid households. Full details of the meeting can be found in the minutes of the meeting which has been placed in the Library of the House.
On 18th June 2014 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the report Cedars: two years on by Barnardo’s; and what plans they have to implement the recommendations made in that report.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Chief Inspector of Prisons has written a subsequent report on Cedars. It describes a worrying incident where an arrest team arrived in full protective clothing and spent three minutes battering down the door of a house; there was no awareness of whether there was a child or children in the house, which could have been deeply traumatic for those young people. Does the noble Baroness agree that we need to have a full review of arrest procedures to try to prevent such situations?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: I thank the right noble Prelate for his question. I am sorry—I was so focused on the answer that I forgot the right reverend Prelate’s title. I think that there are lessons learnt from situations like that, and I know that refresher training is going on. I hope that, again, the specialist teams will provide that more consistent journey and that the lessons learnt will enable a better arrest and removal procedure in future.
On 17th June 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on climate change.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in securing a deal on the European Union’s 2030 climate change reduction package, in advance of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The European Council in March 2014 discussed the 2030 climate and energy framework and agreed to make a final decision on the Framework no later than October this year.
The UK believes that the EU should urgently adopt a domestic emissions reduction target for 2030 of at least 40% on 1990 levels, moving to 50% in the context of an ambitious global climate agreement.
I am determined to continue working closely and intensively with all my colleagues in Europe to ensure that the EU is in a position to play a leading role at the Ban Ki-Moon Climate Summit in September.
On 16th June 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to two written questions on financial education.
Financial Services: Education
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure that financial education is taught, to a high standard, in non-state-maintained secondary schools.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): Independent Schools in England do not have to follow the national curriculum, though they do have to have a curriculum which gives pupils experience in linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human and social, physical and aesthetic and creative education.
We will shortly be consulting on strengthening the standards which independent schools must meet, but there are no plans to introduce a requirement on financial education.
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“Subsidiarity must be a key principle in any reforms—working towards a more participatory democracy, in which all people feel that they have a stake in a shared society and want to engage in the democratic process….We have to insist that people do not retreat into an unthinking, uncaring nimbyism that refuses to address the real problems facing us”- Bishop of St Albans 05/06/14
On 5th June 2014 in the third contribution from the Bishop’s Benches in response to the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke about the rural economy and the impact that a wide range of issues, including housing, energy security and the Government’s plans for forestry, would have on its future.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I, too, congratulate my colleague the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester on his maiden speech. From these Benches, I can say that we are delighted that he will bring a great deal of insight and experience, not least into housing and prisons, into our debates. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2014: Bishop of St Albans on the rural economy”
On 13th May 2014, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received answers to written questions on petroleum gas and oil, consumer credit advertising, and Iran.
Energy: Petroleum Gas and Oil
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure the continuing affordability of liquid petroleum gas and oil for those households which are not on mains gas supply.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Her Majesty’s Government is acutely aware of the difficulties people have experienced with the price of liquid petroleum gas and heating oil. The price of LPG and oil is influenced by a range of factors, including crude oil prices (the major factor), refinery capacity, stock levels, distribution costs and retail margins.
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On 12th May 2014, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received answers to three written questions on benefits, electricity and housing.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on people on low incomes of uprating most cash benefits and tax credits by one per cent from April 2013 rather than in line with inflation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): For 2013/14, the main rates of working-age benefits, statutory payments and tax credits were up-rated by one per cent in the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2013. The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013 provided for the one per cent increase to apply for 2014/15 and 2015/16. Both of these were accompanied by Impact Assessments.
As part of his ongoing public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010 to monitor impacts on “protected groups”, the Secretary of State continues to monitor the impacts of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013 in light of any changes to the underlying rate of inflation. The underlying rate of inflation for increases in 2014/15 is similar to that forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility and used in the Impact Assessment. It is therefore likely that the impacts on affected households will be broadly similar to those detailed in the Impact Assessment.
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