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  • House of Lords Library

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    Child poverty: Statistics, causes and the UK’s policy response

    The government has estimated that 4.3 million children, or 30% of all children in the UK, were living in relative low-income households after housing costs in 2022/23. This represents an increase on the previous year. The government has said unexpectedly high inflation, driven by the war in Ukraine and supply chain challenges, contributed to the rise. It argues that falling inflation, rising real wages and uprated benefits will help low-income households in the year ahead.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Debate on the Coronavirus Act 2020 and health protection regulations

    The first anniversary of the Coronavirus Act 2020 passing into law will fall on 25 March 2021. Both Houses of Parliament are due to hold debates on this date to consider a one-year status report on the act and its provisions. The House of Lords is also set to consider certain health protection regulations made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 during its debate.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Coronavirus Act 2020: debate on temporary provisions

    As the Covid-19 pandemic progressed in March 2020, the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force. This provided UK public bodies with a suite of powers to respond to the situation. Most provisions within the act are temporary and set to expire automatically in March 2022. The act requires these provisions to be scrutinised by Parliament periodically. This article considers what the act does, how it is scrutinised, and the UK and devolved governments’ Covid-19 plans for autumn/winter 2021–22.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Use and scrutiny of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic: Constitution Committee report

    The House of Lords Constitution Committee published a report in 2021 raising concerns about the government’s approach to introducing emergency measures and laws during the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, the committee believed there was limited opportunity for Parliament to properly scrutinise the measures and there were issues of legal clarity. This article summarises the report and the government’s response, and links to other recent committee reports on parliamentary scrutiny.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Coronavirus: Additional restrictions in the north of England

    At the end of September, additional restrictions on social gatherings and some businesses were introduced in the north of England. Ahead of a debate on 12 October 2020, this article considers what the new rules are and what scrutiny they have had so far.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Removal of coronavirus restrictions

    The Government has ended the legal requirements around self-isolation for people who test positive for coronavirus. It has also removed the pandemic-related power for local authorities to restrict certain gatherings. The regulations to effect these changes are scheduled to be debated in the House of Lords on 14 March 2022. The Liberal Democrats have tabled a regret motion that is due to be debated on 17 March 2022.

  • House of Lords Library

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    “An infodemic”: Coronavirus and disinformation

    Global organisations, such as the WHO, have expressed concern about the levels of fake news and disinformation that have spread during the coronavirus pandemic. This article looks at some examples of this disinformation, the Government’s response to it and the action that social media companies have taken to combat fake news and disinformation.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Debate on the temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020

    The Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed on 25 March 2020 and gave the Government various new powers to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak. The act stipulates that the House of Commons must have the opportunity to decline to renew certain of these powers every six months. A parallel debate on the temporary provisions in the act is to take place in the House of Lords on 28 September 2020.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) (Amendment) (No. 7) Regulations 2021

    On 15 February 2021, new regulations on travellers arriving into England came into force. All travellers are now required to test negative twice during their quarantine period, and travellers entering from ‘red list’ countries must isolate in Government-approved hotels. The Government has been criticised for not introducing hotel quarantine for all arrivals to England. The regulations are subject to a regret motion in the House of Lords.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Coronavirus: What is the Government doing to support high street retailers?

    This article provides statistics on the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on high street retail sales between March and June 2020. It also summarises the debate over the Government’s package of economic support for retailers, such as the coronavirus job retention scheme and a range of other loans and grants.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021

    The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 would make it a requirement for workers in care homes to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The Government has said this is important to protect vulnerable residents. The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has been critical of a lack of detail on the implementation of the policy. The Lords is due to debate the regulations on 20 July 2021.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Coronavirus regulations: Reducing lockdown restrictions

    Many of the restrictions imposed due to coronavirus have been set out in secondary legislation. This article covers two regulations that were made to relax some of the restrictions on what businesses can open, including pubs, restaurants and certain beauty salons. It has been published ahead of a Lords debate on the legislation.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Coronavirus: Rule of six regulations

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 place a prohibition on people gathering in groups of more than six in England; in effect implementing the Government’s ‘rule of six’ policy. Exemptions apply, for example if individuals are members of the same household or two linked households (a support bubble). The House of Lords is due to debate a motion to regret the rules on 6 October 2020.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Coronavirus: Emergency legislation

    In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Government introduced the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 which gave it emergency powers to reduce transmission of the virus. The article summarises the powers in the regulations and speculation about what might be contained in a future Coronavirus Bill. The article also considers other powers the Government has to deal with emergencies, such as those in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Regulation of coronavirus testing

    The current regulatory framework for coronavirus testing is complex. The Government believes this complexity disincentivises new private providers entering the market and has put forward proposals to replace it with a new system. This article looks at two draft regulations that would remove coronavirus testing from the existing regulatory structure and establish a new regime for private providers of commercial Covid-19 testing services.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Coronavirus and the case for a universal basic income

    A universal basic income (or UBI) is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without a means-test or work requirement. This article examines arguments for and against introducing a UBI, particularly in light of the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • House of Lords Library

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    Coronavirus: How do we measure its economic impact?

    Most official data is produced with a lag, making timely assessments of the economic impact of coronavirus difficult. The disruption may also have made it harder to collect accurate statistics. This article looks at a new set of indicators that the Office for National Statistics has produced to address these issues. It also reports suggestions for other measures to shed light on the impact of the pandemic, including from countries.

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