The Nationality and Borders Bill would provide for widespread reform of the immigration and asylum system, though a number of its provisions have proven controversial. This briefing examines the legislation ahead of its consideration in the House of Lords.
In November 2021, the National Infrastructure Commission published the baseline report from its forthcoming second National Infrastructure Assessment. The baseline report evaluates the current state of the UK’s economic infrastructure and identifies key challenges for the coming decades, informing recommendations in the full assessment in 2023. The baseline report found that there has been significant progress in some areas such as gigabit broadband since the last Assessment in 2018. However, it added much more was required, particularly in areas such as electricity emissions and water pollution.
Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the country is on the brink of a humanitarian and economic crisis. United Nations agencies report that significant proportions of the population are at risk from malnutrition, particularly young children, and as much as 97% of the population could fall below the poverty line. At the same time, many Afghans continue to seek to leave Afghanistan and the UK is engaged in efforts to resettle those who qualify to come to the country via several schemes. However, the key Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is yet to commence operations.
This private member's bill seeks to amend the House of Lords Act 1999 to remove the system of by-elections currently used to fill vacancies caused by the death, resignation or expulsion of individuals who are Members of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
The pandora papers are the largest ever leak of documents and files revealing how a global network of offshore companies, trusts and financial mechanisms are enabling wealthy individuals to avoid tax, and in some cases reportedly to also engage in criminal activities such as money laundering. There are also fears that the UK property market is being targeted by investors who are buying valuable properties through offshore companies to conceal their ownership and avoid taxation.
Climate change is profoundly altering the world around us and some of its consequences may already take hundreds of years to reverse. Those are among the stark conclusions from the International Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, findings the United Nations secretary general has called a wake-up call for humanity. As world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit, this article examines the potential for a lasting agreement to tackle global warming.
The House of Lords is due to debate inequalities of region and place on 14 October 2021. This briefing has been prepared ahead of that debate, providing analytical measures of inequality and summarising the Government’s response as part of its ‘levelling up’ agenda.
The UK Government has announced substantial reforms of the armed services as part of the recent integrated review of defence and security policy, and an associated defence command paper, both published earlier this year. The reforms have significant implications across the services, including for the Royal Marines and the ongoing development of the Future Commando Force.
The Government has introduced draft regulations intended to require that large businesses such as restaurant chains display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and drink items prepared for immediate consumption. Ministers suggest the policy will deliver considerable benefits over the long term by reducing obesity and related demand on health services. However, the policy has been criticised by some in the hospitality industry and charities campaigning on behalf of those with eating disorders.
The Government has introduced new regulations on the installation of bilge water alarms to merchant vessels of a certain size, to provide warning when the accumulation of bilge water threatens their buoyancy or safety. The regulations follow the sinking of the vessel ‘Abigail H’ in the Port of Heysham in 2008. The gap between that incident and the introduction of these measures has led to criticism that ministers have been too slow to act to prevent similar accidents happening again.
The UK has signed a new interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana, replacing the trade arrangements that were in place when the UK was a member of the European Union. The terms of the interim agreement largely replicate those previous arrangements but with some notable differences. Concerns have been raised over the timing of the interim agreement, the level of scrutiny it has received to date, and other issues including the potential impact on trade with and between other west African nations.
The Environment Bill would establish a new environmental governance system, including the setting of long-term targets and the creation of an Office for Environmental Protection. It also includes measures on improving air quality, waste management and recycling, water management, biodiversity and conservation covenants. The bill is due to have it second reading in the House of Lords on 7 June 2021, having been carried over from the last session.
The Government has proposed new powers for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to address tax avoidance, enhance information gathering, and improve tax compliance. These measures were the subject of a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill subcommittee, which found that some of these powers were both disproportionate and poorly targeted.
Health and care services for those with neurological conditions have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with many of these patients also facing an increased risk from the virus. This briefing examines the diverse nature of these conditions and how the NHS has sought to adjust to the challenges caused by Covid-19.