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.

Coronavirus Act 2020: debate on temporary provisions

‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) published the command paper ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ on 22 March 2021, setting out how the UK’s defence capabilities will support the Government’s integrated review of security, defence, development, and foreign policy. The command paper contained a range of measures, including how the UK will respond to current and future threats. This article summarises those provisions ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords on these issues.

‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK

Common frameworks and the devolved nations

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK now has power to make decisions which used to be made at EU level. Several of these powers relate to policy areas that the devolved nations are individually responsible for. The UK and devolved governments have been developing common frameworks to ensure regulatory consistency in these policy areas.

Common frameworks and the devolved nations
  • In Focus

    Bribery and corruption: domestic and international developments

    Allegations of bribery and corruption have occurred globally for many years. UK and international governments have created legislation and made policy developments to try to prevent such offences taking place. The House of Lords is expected to hold a future debate on recent government developments and whether the Government has any plans to update UK legislation.

  • In Focus

    Behaviour change and reaching net zero

    The net zero target requires the UK to achieve a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (from 1990 levels). The Climate Change Committee’s 2021 progress report to Parliament highlighted the impact of behaviour change on reaching this target. It called upon the Government to produce a public engagement strategy for delivering net zero. The Government said its approach to public engagement will be included in a comprehensive net zero strategy scheduled to be published before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021.

  • In Focus

    Timeline of Taliban offensive in Afghanistan

    Following the recent withdrawal of US and coalition forces, the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan. It now holds all the key cities including the capital, Kabul. Some parts of the country were taken by force, whilst others saw the Afghan National Army withdraw. The Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, has reportedly fled the country.

  • In Focus

    Human rights concerns in India

    For several years, concerns have been raised by international governments and human rights organisations about alleged human rights violations in India. Concerns include the protection of religious minorities in the country. India has disputed the allegations, reiterating its commitment to human rights. This article looks at some of those incidences, as well as concerns raised by human rights organisations.

  • In Focus

    Educational and cultural exchange programmes

    Educational and cultural exchange programmes have existed for many years. They provide individuals, such as students, with the opportunity to learn and experience cultures outside of their home country. This article discusses exchange programmes such as the Government’s new Turing Scheme and the impact that programmes can have on participants.

  • In Focus

    Office of the Whistleblower Bill [HL]

    Calls for reform to the UK’s legislative framework for whistleblowing have increased in recent years. The Office of the Whistleblower Bill would require the establishment of a new body to provide guidance and support to whistleblowers, amongst other things. This article looks at what the bill would do, why it has been introduced, and parliamentary discussion that has taken place on the subject.

  • In Focus

    To sign or not to sign? Sign language in law, parliament and Covid-19 briefings

    Following Deaf Awareness Week this month, this article looks at British sign language and a campaign for the Government to provide an on-set BSL interpreter at the live televised Covid-19 briefings. It also looks at the introduction of BSL interpretation to certain parliamentary proceedings, most notably for prime minister’s questions.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: justice

    The Queen’s Speech is taking place on 11 May 2021. This will set out the Government’s legislative and policy programme for the new parliamentary session. This article provides a summary of legislative proposals for justice and other announcements that may be included in the speech.

  • In Focus

    UK-Turkey Free Trade Agreement

    On 27 April 2021, the House of Lords is due to take note of the UK-Turkey free trade agreement. The agreement sets out the future trading relationship between the UK and Turkey. This article considers the details of the agreement, as well as scrutiny it has received from the House of Lords International Agreements Committee.

  • In Focus

    Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

    The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill would prohibit specific cosmetic procedures being performed on young people under the age of 18 in England, except under the direction of a registered health professional (such as doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses). It would also prohibit businesses from arranging or performing the procedures on under-18s. The bill has completed its stages in the House of Commons and is due to have its second reading in the Lords on 16 April 2021.

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