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  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Covid-19 and the educational attainment gap

    As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government closed schools for the majority of pupils for several months. Concerns have been raised that during this time the educational attainment gap would increase. This article discusses the issue and what the Government has done in response.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    The government’s ‘growth plan’ and the economy

    This article focuses on the announcements made in the chancellor of the exchequer’s fiscal statement on 23 September 2022, and the reaction to it by commentators and the financial markets.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    House of Lords: timeline of response to Covid-19 pandemic

    The House of Lords made several changes to its procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic. This included the use of virtual sittings and sittings which featured both physical and remote participation. This article provides a chronology of these developments.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Older workers in the UK

    Recent labour market figures show a record number of job vacancies and increased economic activity in the UK. It has been suggested that one reason for this could be that older workers are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than before. This article considers how the pandemic has impacted older workers and what actions the Government has taken.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    House of Lords membership update: September 2022

    The House of Lords has no fixed number of seats, and its make up can change week by week. This article provides a snapshot of its membership and composition in September 2022.

  • House of Lords Library

    Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: World Affairs (November 2020)

    Catch up on world affairs with a selection of articles you may have missed from September 2020. Articles this month include a look at the legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev, how an indigenous tribe in Brazil is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, and Africa's relationship with the EU. 

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    UK preparedness for Covid-19: Lords scrutiny of the 2009 swine flu pandemic

    In 2009–10, the UK faced an outbreak of H1N1 swine flu. This article summarises the measures introduced by the then Labour Government which were intended to mitigate the potential impact of swine flu, including the establishment of a public awareness campaign and attempts to increase intensive-care capacity in hospitals. It also looks at the role of the House of Lords in scrutinising the then Government’s handling of the outbreak.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Democracy under threat: a case for co-ordinated action?

    An ongoing decline in the global state of democracy has been identified by a number of recent reports, with restrictions introduced to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating the issue. In December 2021, the United States held the ‘summit for democracy’ aimed at bolstering democracy. In the same month Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, called for democratic nations to form a “network of liberty” that spans the world.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    National plan for music education

    The government has published an updated plan for music education. It emphasises aspects such as early years music; cooperation between schools and other organisations, for example music hubs; and providing a variety of ways to progress in music. Commentators have welcomed the plan but called for more funding. Some observers have also argued that the structure of testing in schools from age 14 skews the curriculum against music.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Neurological conditions and Covid-19

    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.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Global Covid-19 vaccine donations: UK contribution

    Access to Covid-19 vaccinations has been unequal across the world. The World Health Organisation, amongst others, has warned that no country is protected from Covid-19 until the world is protected. The UK Government has pledged to donate 100 million vaccine doses to the rest of the world by June 2022. However, the Government has received criticism for how many of the doses pledged have been delivered to date.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Regulation and practices of private equity

    Private equity takeovers play a significant role in the UK economy. Some have argued that businesses that have been bought by private equity funds have suffered, and that there have been negative impacts on employment and pension schemes. The tax treatment of some elements of private equity has also been criticised. This article provides an overview of private equity, its regulation, and evidence of its impacts.

  • House of Lords Library

    Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Economics (June 2020)

    This article summarises a selection of commentaries on monetary financing, which is the central bank creating money on which interest is not paid. It sets out the pros and cons of the monetary financing approach, and discusses proposals for mitigating some of the risks involved. It also considers arguments that the Bank of England’s existing policy of quantitative easing (QE) is a form of monetary financing.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Extremism in prisons: Are UK deradicalisation programmes working?

    Following recent terrorist attacks in the UK, discussion has increased about deradicalisation programmes in UK prisons. This article discusses what deradicalisation programmes are, the effectiveness of the programmes, and the Government’s recent commitments to tackle terrorism.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    How have cuts to overseas aid affected the control of malaria and other diseases?

    Promoting international health security is a priority area for UK overseas aid. This includes efforts to combat malaria and neglected tropical diseases, working both bilaterally with affected countries and through multilateral organisations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Reductions in the UK aid budget, along with changes to how it is spent, have led to concerns that funding for such projects will be cut.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Fashion retail: Time for a new look?

    As part of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus, many retail outlets were closed for long periods during 2020. In conjunction with changes in consumer behaviour resulting from reduced socialising and travel, this had a big impact on the global fashion industry. There are concerns about job losses in clothing stores and in the supply chain as a result of these changes. But ahead of London fashion week this month, people are also asking if this is an opportunity for the fashion industry to make permanent changes to how it operates, for the good of both people and the planet.

  • House of Lords Library

    Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Science (May 2020)

    Catch up on science articles you may have missed from April and May 2020. Articles this month include a look at the psychology of lockdown, and 200 years of Florence Nightingale.

  • House of Lords Library

    Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Constitution (April 2020)

    Catch up on articles you may have missed about the constitution, government and parliament from April 2020. Articles this month look at types of governance, and the virtual running of parliament in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.