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Scrap Metal Dealers Bill: Second reading

The Church of England has today welcomed the second reading of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill in the House of Commons. 

Janet Gough, Director of the Archbishops' Council's Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division, said: "We thank Richard Ottaway MP and all those making positive contributions to today's debate as the Bill moves forward to its Committee Stage in the autumn. 

"We are confident that the government will find time to take this important Bill forward." 

The menace of lead theft and the consequential damage is the single biggest problem facing church buildings today. It has cost churches more than £27.5 million in the past six years; and offences have increased by one third between 2010 and 2011.

The Bill stipulates tougher applications for obtaining a dealer's licence, greater powers for police and local authorities to suspend and revoke licences of illegal operators, and a single national register of licensed dealers.