• In Focus

    Integrity of the UK’s electoral processes

    The Electoral Commission recently reported the highest level of public confidence in the way elections are run in the UK. Since the Pickles report in 2016, the Government has committed to increasing the security of the UK’s elections. The Elections Bill, currently in committee stage in the House of Commons, contains a range of measures intended to fulfil this ambition. One proposal, to introduce voter ID, has been widely criticised.

  • In Focus

    Public Health England: Gambling-related harms review

    The Government has estimated that there are 400,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in England, with a further 2 million people at risk of developing a problem. In its recent report, Public Health England has called for gambling-related harm to be considered as a public health issue. The Government is undertaking a review of the Gambling Act 2005 and has invested in services for those affected by this issue in the NHS Long Term Plan.

  • In Focus

    Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

    Unlike the gender pay gap, there is no legal requirement for companies to publish their ethnicity pay gap. A recent report by the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the practice remain voluntary due to a lack of diversity in some parts of the country. A coalition of workers’ groups have called for ethnicity pay gap reporting to be made mandatory so employers can better address pay disparities.

  • In Focus

    The UK’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa

    In a report published in July 2020, the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee argued that the UK should seek a stronger partnership with sub-Saharan Africa. It made a number of recommendations, including that the UK should set out a list of clear priorities for engagement with the region. Since the publication of the report and the Government’s response, there have been developments across several policy areas.

  • Research Briefing

    Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

    The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a wide-ranging piece of legislation that would make changes across the criminal justice system. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do; and what happened during its passage through the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Organ Tourism and Cadavers on Display Bill [HL]

    This private member’s bill seeks to introduce penalties for UK citizens and residents travelling abroad for organ transplants when it is not clear that donors have given appropriate consent. It would also impose the same consent requirements for imported cadavers used in exhibitions as exist for UK-sourced cadavers. This is in the context of previous exhibitions having featured real human bodies that may have been the remains of non-consenting individuals.

  • In Focus

    Housing developments on functional flood plains

    Around 5.2 million properties in England are at risk from flooding. The Environment Agency has said that if current planning outcomes continue, this number could double in the next 50 years. The Government has recently consulted on proposals to change England’s planning policies to better respond to flood risks. The House of Commons environment committee and the Royal Institute of British Architects have raised concerns over the Government’s current planning framework.

  • In Focus

    Climate change targets: the road to net zero?

    In 2019 the Government amended the Climate Change Act to commit the UK to achieving net zero by 2050, compared to the previous target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. The Government has introduced some policy initiatives to meet net zero, but the Climate Change Committee has said the UK is currently not on track to meet its carbon budget targets in 2025 and 2030.

  • In Focus

    Public service broadcasting: Communications and Digital Committee report

    The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee published its report on the future of public service broadcasting (PSB) in November 2019. The committee concluded that PSB was important to UK media, but made a range of recommendations in light of increased competition from streaming services. Recently, Ofcom has completed a five-year review into PSB. The Government has also launched its own strategic review into PSB.