Why are there foodbanks in a rich country?
15 October 2018 by Ben Foley
Quakers seek to engage with politicians across Britain, at the local, national and international level. We can help Quakers to understand more about the UK government in Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the European Parliament, and local councils.
Parliament has recently passed the European Union Withdrawal Bill, sometimes referred to as the Great Repeal Bill. The Parliamentary timetable remains dominated by legislation and debate on issues related to leaving the European Union.
Sally Hamwee (offsite link), a member of the House of Lords, is sponsoring a Private Member's Bill on Refugees and Family Reunion (offsite link). A similar bill (offsite link) is being taken forward in the House of Commons by SNP MP Angus MacNeil (offsite link). If you are interested in the debates, or simply wish to offer thanks and support, please do email them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The government is consulting onproposals for changes to society lotteries (offsite link - PDF), increasing the limits that apply to sales and individual prizes. Quaker Action on Alochol and Addiction (QAAD) responded to the Government's call for evidence on the “changing lottery landscape" in 2015, which was part of the background to this consultation. The deadline for responses is 7 September 2018.
The government is also consulting on possible changes to the Gender Recognition Act (offsite link). The aim is to make the process for trans people seeking legal recognition of their acquired gender less intrusive. The consultation seeks views on a wide range of issues, including the way any change might affect equalities legislation. It closes on 19 October.
An Immigration Bill is expected around the turn of the year. We are likely to be asking for four things to be included in it: family reunion, clarification on right to work, limits to detention, and changes to the standards of proof for those who have experienced torture or persecution.
Consultations and debate regarding the UK's human rights framework are expected within the next year. Some consultation has already taken place. The government's explanatory notes say that it will include measures to reform and modernise the UK human rights framework, which would "better protect against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws and would restore common sense to their application" and "be based on those set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, while also taking into account our common law tradition".
In 2016-17 Ruth Cadbury MP (Labour, Brentford & Isleworth) sponsored a Private Member's Bill on Peace Tax (offsite link). Due to the end of that parliamentary year (as well as the election afterwards), the Bill ran out of time and was withdrawn. Please do contact Ruth (offsite link) to thank her for raising the issue.
Housing and Planning Act 2016: Download the Quaker briefing about the Housing and Planning Act (PDF) or read more about Quaker work on the Housing and Planning Act – Nov 2015 (PDF)
Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016: Download the Quaker briefing about the Welfare Reform and Work Act (PDF) or read more about Quaker work on the Welfare Reform and Work Act – Nov 2015 (PDF)
Immigration Act 2016: Download the Quaker briefing about the Immigration Act (PDF)
In 2017 we attended the Conservative, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat party political conferences.
If you have a question about Westminster, email Claire Cooper email@example.com.
Militarisation in schools: Quakers in Scotland have been working with Forces Watch and submitted a petition on armed forces visits to schools (offsite link) to the Scottish Parliament. Find out more about our work on militarisation.
There is currently a Social Security Bill (offsite link) at Stage 1, which will make provision about social security following the devolution of further powers to the Scottish Parliament.
John Finnie MSP has secured the right to introduce the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) Bill (offsite link). It received the support of 31 MSPs.
We expect a Member's Bill from Claudia Beamish MSP (Labour) on prohibiting fracking. There was previously a consultation on this proposed fracking Bill (offsite link).
In late spring 2017 the Scottish government consulted on the future of energy in Scotland (offsite link). Submissions were made by South Edinburgh Local Meeting (offsite link) and by South East Scotland Area Meeting (offsite link).
In early spring Parliament consulted on destitution and asylum seekers in Scotland. One submission was made jointly by Britain Yearly Meeting, General Meeting for Scotland, and the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (offsite link).
In 2017 we attended the Scottish National Party political conference.
If you have a question about the Scottish Parliament, email Mairi Campbell-Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing has been issue for the Welsh government in recent months. The Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights Bill (offsite link) became law on 24 January 2018. The Regulation of Registered Social Landlords Bill (offsite link) is a technical piece of legislation which reclassifies social landlords, and became law on 13 June 2018.
The Welsh government is currently consulting on changing the rules that apply to labelling low alcohol drinks. The consultation closes on 19 September 2018.
In its Programme for Government (offsite link) the Welsh government committed to legislation "to protect local facilities, to prevent unnecessary closures and to help communities take ownership of community assets".
We expect legislation to stop landlords and estate agents from charging unfair, up-front fees to tenants and prospective tenants in the private rented sector.
Wales Act 2017: A piece of legislation in Westminster, which has now passed. Read the full text of the Wales Act (offsite link).
The current MEPs will continue to sit in the European Parliament until the UK leaves in March 2019.
To find out more about what Quakers are doing at a European level, visit the Quaker Council for European Affairs (offsite link).
Many local councils across England elected some or all of their councillors on 5 May 2016. Local councils in Scotland and Wales electedcouncillors in May 2017.
All local councils are different. In your area, you may be represented by more than one council. If you want to find out more, email Mairi Campbell-Jack at email@example.com.
There is more information on elections, as they happen, on our special elections website: www.quakervote.org.uk.
For Westminster, Wales, local councils and the EU:
Parliamentary Engagement Officer
020 7664 1107
Scottish Parliamentary Engagement Officer
07419 991 246