Queen’s Speech 2021: agriculture and animal welfare

The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto included a commitment to reform UK agriculture and improve animal welfare. During the 2017–19 session, the Government passed the Agriculture Act 2020 and supported a private member’s bill extending sentences for animal cruelty. The Government has said it will introduce legislation banning the live export of animals in the new session. It has also said it will introduce legislation on the recognition of animal sentience when parliamentary time allows.

Queen’s Speech 2021: agriculture and animal welfare

Queen’s Speech 2021: environment, climate change and energy

The Government has confirmed the Environment Bill will be included in the 2021 Queen’s Speech, a bill carried over from the 2019–21 session. The Queen’s Speech is also likely to refer to the Government’s commitment to reduce UK carbon emissions and the 2021 UN COP26 conference hosted in Glasgow. The Government has said that it will publish in 2021 further details of strategies to improve UK biodiversity, including the England tree strategy.

Queen’s Speech 2021: environment, climate change and energy

Forensic science and the criminal justice system

In May 2019, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published a report warning the quality and delivery of forensic science services in England and Wales was inadequate. It recommended several reforms intended to halt the damage this was causing to public trust in the criminal justice system. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate this report on 26 April 2021. This article summarises the committee’s recommendation, the Government’s response and subsequent developments.

Forensic science and the criminal justice system
  • In Focus

    Facial recognition technology: police powers and the protection of privacy

    Facial recognition technology is used to identify individuals or to verify someone’s identity. Live facial recognition has been used by several police forces in England and Wales in collaboration with the private sector. There have been calls for increased scrutiny and oversight of the powers of the police to use the technology, including in the House of Lords. This article summarises the debates about the use of this technology.

  • In Focus

    Renewables obligation scheme: changes to energy supplier payments

    The renewables obligation scheme provides support for generators of renewable electricity. The costs of the scheme are met by energy suppliers. These costs are then passed on to consumers. When suppliers fail to meet their obligations under the scheme, the resultant shortfall is mutualised if it reaches a certain threshold and must be met by other suppliers. The Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2021 would raise the shortfall threshold which triggers this mutualisation process.

  • In Focus

    British Library Board (Power to Borrow) Bill

    The British Library Board (Power to Borrow) Bill would grant the British Library board new powers to borrow money. This private member’s bill, introduced in the House of Commons, has received cross-party support. Having completed its initial stages in the Commons on 12 March 2021, it is scheduled to be debated at second reading in the House of Lords on 19 March 2021. This article summarises the bill’s provisions and its passage through the Commons.

  • In Focus

    Peatland burning: New regulations for blanket bog habitats

    In February 2021, the Government introduced new regulations banning the burning of certain types of vegetation on protected blanket bog peatland without a licence in England. On 18 March 2021, the House of Lords will debate a motion criticising the new regulations as not adequately protecting peatland or reducing UK carbon emissions. This article summarises what the regulations do and what the reaction to them has been since they were announced.

  • Research Briefing

    Hereditary By-elections: Results

    Hereditary peer by-elections are held within the House of Lords to replace excepted hereditary peers who have retired or died. This Lords Library Briefing provides a list of hereditary peers’ by-election results since the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, including information on turn out and the number of candidates.

  • Research Briefing

    National Security and Investment Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The aim of the National Security and Investment Bill is to reform how inward investment in the UK is investigated to ensure hostile governments or other entities do not use this to undermine the UK’s national security. The second reading of the bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords on 4 February 2021. This briefing provides a summary of the bill and its passage through the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Lords public bill stages: “That this bill do now pass”

    The motion “that this bill do now pass” is moved immediately after a bill’s final stage in the House of Lords (known as third reading). It is amendable and so provides an opportunity for the House to oppose, delay or record a view on a measure if there is enough support. This article provides examples of amendments to the motion and what the outcome was each time.

  • In Focus

    Church Action for Tax Justice reports: Tax for the Common Good and Fair Tax Now

    The campaign organisation Church Action for Tax Justice published two reports entitled Tax for the Common Good and Fair Tax Now, containing proposals on creating a fairer tax system. The House of Lords will debate these reports on 21 January 2021. This article summarises the reports' recommendations, the Government’s current tax policies and the impact of Covid-19 on fiscal policy.

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