Queen’s Speech 2021: welfare and pensions

This In Focus looks at possible announcements in the Queen’s Speech relating to pensions and benefits. It includes developments connected to universal credit payments and the Government’s proposed national disability strategy, and highlights the possible next steps in pensions legislation following the passing of the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

Queen’s Speech 2021: welfare and pensions
  • In Focus

    Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill

    The Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Bill would require the Government to publish legally binding guidance requiring school authorities to consider costs when setting school uniform policies. This is in response to concerns about the high costs of school uniforms. It is a private member’s bill, introduced in the House of Commons, that is due to be considered in the House of Lords on 19 March 2021.

  • In Focus

    HGV drivers: temporary relaxation of driving hours limits and minimum rest period rules

    Due to concerns about disruptions to supply chains resulting from Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has introduced the Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Temporary Exceptions) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/58) to relax the rules governing maximum driving hours and minimum rest periods. It has stated that the exceptions should only be used where necessary and not at the expense of safety. The House of Lords is due to debate the regulations on 18 March 2021.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Planning for the May 2021 elections to go ahead safely

    A number of elections are due to be held across Great Britain on 6 May 2021. This includes local council elections, mayoral elections and elections to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. In light of concerns about whether these elections can go ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government recently published guidance on how they can be run safely and securely.

  • In Focus

    Fast tracked planning permission to use land as temporary inland border facilities

    The Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 (SI 2020/928) has sped up the planning process for land to be used as inland border facilities in specified areas of England. The Government stated this is necessary due to the increased border control measures needed now the UK has left the EU. On 11 February 2021, the House of Lords will debate a motion ‘regretting’ the legislation.

  • Research Briefing

    Lords Appointments: Life peerages created since 1958

    In 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced 58 new life peers. This took the total number of life peers created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 to 1,517. This briefing provides information and statistics on these peerage creations. This includes breakdowns by decade and by prime minister. It also contains a list of every life peer appointed under the Act.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Changes to the self-isolation period and the areas in tier 3

    These coronavirus regulations reduced the length of the self-isolation period from 14 days down to 10 and added new areas, including London, to the list of places in tier 3. They are part of the Government’s ongoing strategy to control the spread of coronavirus. The regulations need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament or they will cease to be law.

  • Research Briefing

    Size of the House of Lords: November 2020 Update

    This briefing provides an update on the size of the House of Lords and recent statements on the issue following the new peerages announced this year. As at 20 November 2020, the size of the absolute membership was 820. This represented an increase in the size of the membership from the end of the 2017–19 session, but is lower than the peak of 845 at the end of the 2015–16 session.

  • In Focus

    Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-isolation) (England) Regulations 2020

    These regulations make it an offence not to self-isolate if instructed to by certain local authority and health officials. This would apply to those who have tested positive for coronavirus or who have been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive. The regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and the House of Lords is due to consider them on 14 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill: Briefing for Lords stages

    The Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill is due to be considered in the House of Lords on 13 October 2020. It allows for particular state pension benefits to be reviewed and potentially increased, despite an expected fall in average earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic. The bill received cross-party support in the House of Commons, where it passed all its stages on 1 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    Capping the size of the House of Lords

    There is currently no cap on the membership of the House of Lords. Some have recommended the introduction of a cap to address concerns about the size of the House. This article discusses recent proposals to cap the membership at 600 and sets out the Government's position. It also contains brief information on recent changes in the size of the House.

  • In Focus

    Retirement from the House of Lords

    There is no formal retirement age for members of the House of Lords. However, members can voluntarily retire under the provisions of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. This article explains how these provisions came into force and details how many members have retired under this legislation so far.

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