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Andrew speaks out on global warming in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

If we cannot make money out of saving the planet then it is not going to be saved. The business of saving the environment has to be our business and it has to be a commercial enterprise or it will mean nothing to many.

My Lords, I want to focus on Part 1 of the Bill concerning the Green Investment Bank. The Americans have a polite expression that denotes deep scepticism. The phrase is "horse feathers" and it may replace a less polite phrase of which your Lordships might officially disapprove. I come to this issue as someone who has been involved in finding and making common ground between the Government and social action as we have attempted to apply business principles to challenging social issues. I am aware that there is a lot of equine plumage around. I hope not too much in our case.

My record and that of my colleagues has been founded on taking a different approach. The result has invariably been less talk, more action and more money in the bank for everyone, including the most disadvantaged in our society. I recognise a familiar danger in all our talk of global warming and climate change. There are many out there who would sceptically use "horse feathers" to describe it. Such scepticism is serious but there is one horse that is totally featherless and I want encourage your Lordships to think of it as a runner, although perhaps not a dead cert.

If we cannot make money out of saving the planet then it is not going to be saved. The business of saving the environment has to be our business and it has to be a commercial enterprise or it will mean nothing to many. We are in danger of running scared at the awful vision that researchers, scientists and climate change experts confront us with daily. We are tempted to pour our money on to catastrophes in some kind of ritual gesture in the sad hope that this will absolve us of responsibility and they will disappear.

However, there is an alternative, practical solution. A host of companies is already making the running. The horse feather merchants have long disappeared. Among the survivors is one very interesting firm called Solarcentury. Its chairman is Jeremy Leggett. He is an ex-oil man. He was once full of the jet-setting, can-do romance of the industry, especially in its cutting-edge research capability. Then he saw what the oil world was doing to the natural world so he changed businesses. He is now a leader among many private companies researching and installing solar energy. The account of what he has done in a comparatively short time-frame is impressive.

Solarcentury began with domestic installations and this now numbers 9,000. It has recently begun much more ambitious commercial schemes such as on the Co-operative Insurance Tower, a skyscraper in Manchester, where it developed solar cladding to replace the old conventional cladding. Those who know that rain-kissed city will acknowledge that this is a serious challenge to the notion of solar power. The company has also developed a vast solar-powered waste disposal plant in Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire and its Blackfriars Railway Bridge project will see the bridge became Britain's biggest solar bridge with more than 4,400 photovoltaic panels. Solarcentury has been in profit since 2006 and has created charities in Africa which use solar power for schools, community centres and clinics, creating a clean environment and new jobs.

These are one company's achievements. The approach of this and many other companies is to be both creative and sustainable. We need to be creative. We need to make changes in directions that now seem unimaginable. These firms are in the business of imagining the future. That future needs to be sustainable; we must use the vast resources of the market to find out who is doing what, how well they are doing it and, above all, at what price. In the area of solar power there are many firms doing good business or going broke on our behalf. They are finding out what does and does not work.

Somewhere in the background I hear somebody growl, "subsidy". There is no such thing as an absolutely free lunch, but this one is as free as makes no difference. The companies find what works for us and are making it happen. If it does not work, then they go bust.

My final point is best illustrated by a story; apologies to those who have heard it many times before. A man in New Jersey spent his days raising money to spend on gambling. The game was bent. A friend said to him, "Why do you do this? The game is rigged." The gambler replied, "I have to do it. It's the only game in town."

However, this is not the only game in town. Thousands of firms worldwide are pursuing the challenge of climate change. For example, the recent environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro was described as a damp squib: the usual shed load of talk followed by no action because there was no public money available. But 1,500 business people turned up; whereas, previously, almost nobody from the commercial sector had bothered. According to New Scientist,

"some 1500 business leaders had attended the summit, and had stumped up half a trillion dollars of corporate cash to fund various UN agendas ... Among the new corporate actors at the heart of UN policymaking on the green agenda is Chad Holliday, chairman of the Bank of America and former president of DuPont. He is now also co-chair of the Sustainable Energy For All initiative". We might well ask, "Does Chad Holliday know something we don't know?" What kind of dark future in oil product is DuPont betting on?

My intention has emphatically not been to argue about climate change figures. It has been to show that business people of some importance have made a serious commitment to the climate change challenge. In the case of Jeremy Leggett of Solarcentury, that commitment has been radical. In the case of Chad Holliday, the head of the Bank of America, the change is conventional but significant.

Climate change is an idea whose time has come. The Government should take the courage to act in good faith. So if the proposed UK Green Investment Bank is to play a role in all of this what should it be looking out for? First, the Government need to be clear from the outset with this bank and must not keep changing the goal posts. Continuity is the name of the game, and businesses soon lose interest if they doubt your credibility and commitment: game over. Secondly, do not try to oversell it. If the terms are not better than those commercially available, do not pretend that they are: get real.

Thirdly, this bank needs to be run by practical people. We can set up whatever legislation we want, but the bottom line will lie with the individual who is in charge of this bank. Practical people are not yes men. If an idea does not work, they are not afraid of changing the design. Do not make the mistake that is so often made by government and invest in spin: in someone who looks and sounds good to the media. Get an awkward customer, who can bend this bank into reality and make it credible. That is my advice.

Fourthly, what is going to be the attitude to risk of this bank? Will this Green Investment Bank be encouraged to take risks and back business entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs? What will be its policy on SMEs? Will innovation be smothered because an SME lacks a strong asset base? Can the Minister tell us in his summing up what is to be the attitude of this bank to failure and risk? If we are not planning for failure, we will not be taking risks. Fifthly, is this fund going to be run by entrepreneurs who understand green energy, or by banks that understand liquidity and protecting capital? Actually, both are needed but can the Minister tell us who will call the shots?

I could draw an analogy with housing. We now have so many constraints on housing. Houses need to be very energy efficient, include renewable energy, pay Section 106 contributions, have lots of parking-or no parking, depending on the local authority-be accessible, 25% affordable, and so on. There are now so many constraints that very few homes are built at all. Houses that are built are mostly cheap, unimaginative and small because it is the only way to square the circle. It is the law of unintended consequences. All the requirements individually are perfectly reasonable but, collectively, they have a disastrous effect that nobody planned.

Some of us in life are tasked with doing. We sometimes wonder whether the real purpose of government is an existential experiment: are you in the business to discover whether the number of hoops that a project has to jump through before it can start is finite or is it, in fact, truly infinite? We in your Lordships' House, I suspect, sometimes unwittingly add to this number ourselves. Will the Minister please tell the House how many hoops will be embedded into the operation of this bank? How will he ensure that they do not grow exponentially? If this green debate is for real, then we must get intensely practical. This bank now has to put its money where its mouth is.

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Andrew speaks during debate on the Report from the European Union Committee, Brexit: the options for trade (5th Report)

02 March 2017

Advocating that we "think more outside the box" as we prepare to exit the European Union, Andrew said: " Brexit is a real opportunity for new thinking about the opportunities now presenting themselves in a digitised world that exists outside traditional silos. To grasp it, we all need a real change of mindset, both in Europe and in this country".

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Andrew speaks during the European Union (Withdrawal Bill)

20th February 2017

Saying "[t]oday, our children are a nation not of shopkeepers but of entrepreneurs," he emphasised that this is a great opportunity to repeal some of the bureaucracy that holds our country back.

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Lord Mawson speaks in debate on the annual State of the North Report

12th January 2017

Andrew, focussing on the heart of the matter, in the debate on the Institute for Public Policy Research’s annual State of the North report, and the case for equality of opportunity and sustainable productivity, in the House of Lords, on the 12th January, said, whilst welcoming the report: " [the report] does not pay enough attention to the details of the business and social entrepreneurs actually doing the job on the ground."

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Lord Mawson speaks in a debate in the House of Lords on tackling the causes of poverty in the UK

17 November 2016

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Debate on the causes of poverty in the United Kingdom

14 July 2016

Lord Mawson suggests: "one reason the young are increasingly disenchanted with representative democracy is precisely because they can see that Governments of differing complexions—no matter what US Presidents say—seem incapable of delivering the integrated and joined-up world they want to live in," as he took part in a debate on building a stronger economy, Thursday 28th April.
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Debate on building a stronger economy

28 April 2016

Lord Mawson suggests: "one reason the young are increasingly disenchanted with representative democracy is precisely because they can see that Governments of differing complexions—no matter what US Presidents say—seem incapable of delivering the integrated and joined-up world they want to live in," as he took part in a debate on building a stronger economy.
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Debate on the European Union Referendum

2 March 2016

Taking part in the highly-charged debate on the European Union Referendum Andrew emphasised "Diversity, not uniformity, is the spice of life." Calling for more humility on all sides of the argument Andrew declared: "[t]he electorate need practical examples of how the EU will work successfully, not large meaningless numbers and spin," something "they do not believe ..."
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Andrew cites the crucial importance of "own[ing] our well-being" as he takes part in a key debate on "the case for building a health-creating society in the United Kingdom where all sectors contribute to creating a healthy and resilient population."

26th November 2015

Describing how the success of the Bromley By Bow Centre has evolved over 30 years Andrew said: "one of the reasons for our success is the very process of experimentation itself and a whole range of diverse people co-creating a new way of doing things over an extended period." Answering rhetorically, how Bromley By Bow, an exemplar in its field, can be reproduced in other areas Andrew emphasised: "how our model can be replicated...  is in terms of translation, rather than replication."
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Andrew leads important debate: That this House takes note of progress made in the regeneration of East London since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the remaining challenges.

5th November 2015

"While there have been some challenges," Andrew affirmed that "the legacy promises made in east London in terms of regeneration are on track and developing at quite a pace." Emphasising that nearly "40,000 additional jobs will be located on and around the park by 2025" Andrew declared "this country has secured the most advanced legacy of any modern Olympic and Paralympic Games."
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Debate on the availability and quality of apprenticeships

15th October 2015

During the recent debate on the availability and quality of apprenticeships in the House of Lords Andrew spoke of the success of the LLDC in focusing "on the creation of job and apprenticeship opportunities in legacy for local residents" during "the large programme of construction works at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park." Andrew emphasised that it was crucial to "pay apprentices the national minimum wage" as "low wages feed low retention rates."
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Andrew speaks about the need to be more radical on health and social care during the Humble Address to the Queen's Speech

3rd June 2015

Whilst noting the laudable aims of the Government's health policy Andrew, citing a seminal report on health inequality, said: "positive health outcomes are significantly more influenced by social determinants than clinical determinants; indeed, that our health is 70% driven by social determinants and only 30% by clinical factors".
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Andrew speaks during the Committee Stage of the Assisted Dying Bill

16th January 2015

Noting the importance of getting the wording right Andrew said: ".. the words we use in the Bill and what we mean by them really matters when we have to translate their meaning and purpose into the languages and dialects of every nationality on earth". Underlining the importance of well informed public debate with a proper understanding of the realities that the Bill would bring Andrew said: "Good objective presentation must be the order of the day if people are to be able to make informed choices."
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Andrew takes part in a topical debate about the future of the NHS

8th January 2015

Speaking from recent experience of the circuitous nature of bureaucracy and its debilitating effect on projects Andrew said: “we need consistency. The message and the people constantly change.” Andrew, emphasising his point argued: “ … there needs to be accountability. No one seems able to take a decision”.
See full speech here

Andrew speaks on the important debate regarding the impact of National Health Service innovation and research strategies on health improvement

26th November 2014

Focusing on primary care, the way it is delivered and the sheer volume of paperwork and reports that accompany it Andrew called for a more community based approach. "Invest[ing] in informal networks" is the way to get things done.
See the full speech here

Andrew speaks during the debate on the Second Reading of the Assisted Dying Bill and the dangers of trying to prescribe through legislation in this area

Friday July 18th

Speaking against the Bill Andrew questioned the “blind faith [given to] doctors and social workers [that they] will protect the vulnerable,” by saying “yet we are given daily examples where we are failed by specialists.”
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Debate on the Voluntary and Charitable

Thursday June 26th

Taking part in the debate on the Voluntary and Charitable in the House of Lords Andrew, noting that “[t]imes are hard for the third sector ..”, observed that: “bureaucratisation, caused by the state … often leads to a loss of the human touch.”  Draining away the dynamism, energy and enthusiasm of [many] voluntary organisations, this in turn, has led to a loss of the “driven, entrepreneurial flair that brought them into being in the first place.”
Read his acclaimed speech on Hansard

Andrew draws attention to non-conformist churches during a Motion to Take Note on the importance of the English parish church

Thursday 12th June

Speaking about the serious challenges faced by churches Andrew said: “[Many] have offered kindness, opportunity and a strong sense of community that has helped relieve social tensions and supported the most vulnerable in our society.” But others have “ … been closed-off, sadly sometimes inward-looking, with their heads in the sand if not in the clouds.” Commenting on the need for reform to help churches become more meaningful within communities Andrew urged them to: “embrace [the enterprise] culture, to use their talents and join the next generation of young people as they become ever more entrepreneurial, while they still have the time.”
Read the acclaimed speech in full on Hansard

House of Lords debate the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy

19th March 2014

Andrew spoke during the Motion to Take Note on the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy. Praising the hard work and dedication that has gone into securing the legacy for the future Andrew highlighted that whilst the Olympic project is far from finished: “The future of all eight permanent London 2012 venues is now secure. This collectively means that London is further ahead than any other host city in history.” Andrew finished off by saying: “The future in east London is full of opportunity, but it still demands hard work, focus and a continuity of purpose.”
Read the acclaimed speech in full on Hansard

Is the Government doing enough to champion and support arts and cultural organisations in this challenging financial landscape?

12 February 2014

Andrew secured and led a debate on this important subject in the House of Lords citing The Conservatoire in Blackheath as an important example of how arts organisations can embrace mixed funding streams and successfully pioneer an entrepreneurial agenda. Read the acclaimed speech in full on Hansard.

The link between education and the economy is vital

5 December 2013

"The often unconscious bias against business in the classroom needs to be addressed. Teachers are uncomfortable with their students trading and earning money in school. They are uneasy when you speak to them about profit margins and exploiting market opportunities. Unless this is addressed, the contribution of education to economic growth will be muted". Read the full speech.

Andrew's contribution to Litter debate

19 July 2013

It is my view that a local context often reflects the wider world in which we live: the micro is the way into the macro. Small acts can tell us a great deal about emerging social trends. In my opinion, the UK’s litter problem is just one of many national signs that illustrate the disconnection between political PR-speak and the reality on the ground.
Read the full speech on Hansard.

Andrew's contribution to the 'Business and Society' debate

13 June 2013

My Lords, when I began my work as a social entrepreneur in the East End of London 30 years ago, there was a clear perception that the public sector and charities were the good guys who do good to people and that business was for, and I quote, “greedy capitalist pigs”. Of course, many of us at that time had little, if any, real practical experience of working with business people. However, we read the Guardian and completed our university degrees and so we were experts.

Andrew's response to HM the Queen's Gracious Speech

13 May 2013

If the present Government want to distinguish themselves from previous Governments and distance themselves from broken political promises, I suggest our politicians focus on three words: delivery, delivery, delivery. My colleagues and I have found that trust is created and local people participate when you deliver in practice on what you say.
Read the full speech on Lords' Hansard.

Andrew leads debate on Olympic Legacy to great acclaim

24 January 2013

To move that this House takes note of the role of communities, the arts and creative industries in delivering a lasting legacy to the Olympics, and of the lessons that can be learnt more broadly.

Andrew contributes to Lord Boateng's debate: what steps do the Government intend to take to enable the voluntary sector to participate in the delivery of public services

13 December 2012

I have spent the past 35 years demonstrating in practice how the voluntary sector can play a crucial role in innovation and in delivering public services in new ways that focus on the customer. How can it use its position, sitting between the often large bureaucracies of the public and private sectors, to bring much needed innovation in the delivery of public services?

Andrew speaks out on global warming in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

15 November 2012

If we cannot make money out of saving the planet then it is not going to be saved. The business of saving the environment has to be our business and it has to be a commercial enterprise or it will mean nothing to many.

Andrew leads a debate in the Lords’ on urban regeneration

28 June 2012

The purpose in raising this debate today is to make sure that these two important areas of growth are placed firmly on the map of the UK. They present the nation with development nodes that are nationally and internationally significant, now and in the years ahead. They require a sustained, co-ordinated and thoughtful response from the Government if they are to fulfil their true potential.

Financial Services Bill (Second Reading)

20 June 2012

I would remind the House that the City, whose wealth came through the docks in east London, started with coffee houses where people met each other and did deals. This world was about relationships and integrity-”my word is my bond”. You can create endless regulation and legislation but if people do not act with integrity and relate to each other it will not work.

Andrew’s contribution to ‘Faith Communities’ Debate

31 May 2012

In contrast, faith organisations in general have a broader view of care for the whole person. They have a wider concern for those they help rather than a narrow, sectional interest, and this is why they should be involved in the delivery of public services. I hope that policymakers within government will take this point into account as we move forward with the restructuring of the National Health Service and are all encouraged to embrace a localism agenda.

Health Minister Earl Howe praises Andrew’s contribution to Health and Social Care Bill

24 April 2012

Today I am going further and put on the public record that the Secretary of State for Health is committing that the requirements in the public services Bill will be fully applied in relation to commissioning of NHS services through the procurement guidance that the board will produce on this. These were issues that were raised very compellingly by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and I pay tribute to him for his powerful and consistent advocacy on this theme”.

Andrew’s contribution to Public Services (Social Value) Bill

1 February 2012

I believe that change comes from within. It is not about a top-down or a bottom-up approach; change happens from inside out. The change I describe will happen only if we take in hand the outdated machinery of government and bend it to our will. This is fundamentally a practical task for practitioners and the Government would do well to point to them and celebrate their work. This is a job for the Brunels of this generation-the engineers and entrepreneurs. It is not a task for the faint-hearted or those Guardian readers who, in my experience, are all too content to analyse the world to death and comment from the sidelines through newspaper articles and government reports. Gird your loins for this practical task; it is time that we celebrated practical people.

Andrew’s latest contribution to the Localism Bill

12 July 2011

Often local authorities are actually not in touch with the practical opportunities on the ground presented by land and buildings.

Andrew’s thoughts on the Localism Bill

14 June 2011

My question to the Minister is: does anybody currently drafting this legislation have personal experience of challenging a local authority when trying to deliver a service? If the Minister would find it helpful, I would be willing to share our considerable experience in this area and explore together how we might make this piece of the legislation workable in practice.

To call attention to the case for policies to support economic growth and to promote investment, innovation, technology, infrastructure, skills and job creation; and to move for papers.

6 April 2011

I suggest that the big society depends on micro businesses as exemplars to lead the way.I therefore request that the Minister actively explores practical ways to identify, promote and foster economic growth within this emerging entrepreneurial sector across the UK. Much of it is based in some of our most challenging communities. The social sector is formed from many shoots and distinctions need to be drawn to protect these young entrepreneurial flowers. Will the Minister please inform the House how the Government plan to empower social enterprises in some of our most challenged communities?

Reorganisation of the NHS

21 December 2010

How in practice is government going to use the restructuring of the health service to create a new narrative relevant to modern health? Secondly, what is government going to do to ensure that doctors engage with innovators and entrepreneurs?

Speech to the House of Lords 28th October 2010

4 November 2010

My Lords, I want to make a few points about health and social care. How do we provide quality healthcare that meets the real needs of patients in today’s world? Will the popular biomedical model of health meet all those patient needs, or does its internal logic present us with a limited view of what [...]

Health: Primary and Community Care Debate 24th June 2010

25 June 2010

Lord Mawson:My Lords, it is a privilege to be able to lead this debate on the future of primary and community care at this early stage in the new coalition Government. The vision that the Government have set out for primary care, where resources are deployed in the hands of practitioners close to the ground, [...]

Education, Health, Welfare, and Culture – 3rd June 2010

4 June 2010

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I should like to add to the deluge of praise. I congratulate the new Government on their success and wish them well in the coming years as they try to develop a working partnership and deliver their programme. I also want to take this opportunity to wish the Minister, the noble [...]

The Use of Church Buildings – 22nd February 2010

25 February 2010

My Lords, there are nearly 50,000 church buildings in England; 16,200 of them belong to the Church of England, and the rest are mostly owned by the Catholic Church, the free churches and other denominations. Many sit on prime sites at the centre of their communities, yet they are often large and underused.

Queens’ Speech – 23rd November 2009

25 November 2009

I have a bit of a reputation, I think, as a moderniser of public services and for taking outdated health and education systems and applying to them entrepreneurial thinking and practice. My colleagues and I, both in east London and nationally, have produced results over the past 30 years which demonstrate some success. At the core of this work has often been the empowerment of disfranchised local communities and individual citizens so that they might take more responsibility for their personal lives and families and their local community. This is what citizenship is all about.

Healthcare – June 25th 2009

14 October 2009

The poor souls in the third sector are no third-rate choice. The third sector is like any other sector—better in some places than others. Our approach to procuring health and social care services is ignoring some of the most talented and innovative individuals and organisations—people who have been working tirelessly in their communities for far longer than the perennially reconstituted PCTs and health authorities.

Olympic Legacy 18th June 2009

18 June 2009

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for leading this important debate. It is a very helpful time to have this discussion, because a great deal has happened during the past year and new opportunities are now presenting themselves, which allow us all to move on and to deal with the [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 23rd June 2008

23 June 2008

Lord Mawson: I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 113B and 113C. A well conducted ballot is widely thought to be the best way to interpret existing transfer legislation. The proposal is now to write the requirement for a transfer ballot more directly into the Bill. The value of ballots is hard to argue with, but it [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 16th June 2008

16 June 2008

Lord Mawson: The key point that I was attempting to make before I was interrupted by the Division Bell is that the housing association movement was begun by social entrepreneurs of their day who used their independence from the state to begin to pioneer new and innovative ways of creating social housing. The capital development programme [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 11th June 2008

11 June 2008

Lord Mawson: Amendment No. 104ZA seeks to encourage the Minister and her colleagues to look carefully at how the large amount of money which they are about to invest in housing can be used as a trigger to encourage social innovation. The housing association movement was begun by social entrepreneurs of their day, who used their [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 19th May 2008

19 May 2008

Lord Mawson: I shall speak to Amendment No. 23A, which is in my name and is part of the group. It is a probing amendment, which recognises that the creation of the Homes and Communities Agency presents us with a real opportunity to move away from public housing monocultures of the past and to invest in [...]

Housing and Regeneration 13th May 2008

13 May 2008

Lord Mawson: I, too, welcome the amendment. Since I entered your Lordships’ House I have been very encouraged by the concern about quality of design. I was very encouraged by the debate, which I could not attend but which I read, in which the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, spoke, on the quality of design. One can [...]

Housing and Regeneration 28th April 2008

28 April 2008

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I, too, welcome what I perceive the Government are attempting to achieve in this Bill. The creation of the Homes and Communities Agency could have enormous potential and be a key delivery partner in building successful communities. The aspiration behind this legislation is laudable and presents enormous possibilities for the investment that [...]

Arts and Healthcare

6 March 2008

The key question is: what does it mean to be a healthy and fully rounded human being and what kind of services do we need that will help, rather than hinder, such human development?

Olympic Games 2012: Legacy

17 January 2008

Lord Mawson rose to call attention to building sustainable communities and securing a worthwhile legacy for the London Olympics; and to move for Papers.

Maiden Speech 20th June 2007

20 June 2007

Lord Mawson: My Lords, as I rise to make my maiden speech I am conscious, as the son of a milkman from Bradford, of both the privilege and the responsibility of taking a seat in this place. I take this opportunity to thank those noble Lords and staff who in the past few weeks have helped [...]