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  • House of Lords Library

    Research Briefing

    Health and Care Bill

    The Health and Care Bill is scheduled for second reading in the House of Lords on 7 December 2021. This Lords Library briefing focuses on how the bill changed as it went through the House of Commons, and remaining areas that opposition parties and other stakeholders would like to see addressed in the House of Lords.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Negligence in the NHS: liability costs

    NHS Resolution manages a number of clinical negligence schemes for the NHS in England. Concern has been expressed about the high cost of dealing with negligence claims. For example, the Government has said that payment costs were the equivalent of 1.5% of the NHS budget and these costs were forecast to continue rising. The Department of Health and Social Care is looking at the issue and the Government has said it will publish a consultation on its next steps in 2021.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Financial fraud and vulnerable people

    On 2 December 2021, the House of Lords is scheduled to hold a short debate on a motion tabled by Lord Sharkey (Liberal Democrat). He will ask the Government what steps it is taking to protect vulnerable people from financial fraud. This article provides information about the various types of fraud committed and the scale of the problem; which groups are more vulnerable to fraud; and what is being done to tackle the crime.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Afghanistan: hunger, poverty, and resettlement efforts

    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.

  • House of Lords Library

    Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Economics (October 2021)

    Catch up on developments in economics with a selection of articles you may have missed. This month we take a look at unemployment benefits in recessions, and green initiatives in public finance.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Regret motion: dissolution of Public Health England

    On 9 November 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate a regret motion on the Public Health England (Dissolution) (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2021. The regret motion raises concerns that there has been a lack of consultation or scrutiny of the regulations. This article examines the regulations and the parliamentary scrutiny they have received to date.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    COP26: “Code red for humanity”

    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.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Social care funding: improving the availability of private sector insurance products

    When announcing the introduction of a cap on care costs on 7 September 2021, the Government said that it would also be working with the financial services industry to encourage it to provide more products to help individuals cover their care costs. This In Focus discusses that aim, alongside reaction from the financial services sector and committee commentary on the subject.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Covid-19: Winter rough sleeping plan

    Rough sleepers have been identified as an at-risk group who are vulnerable to contracting and spreading Covid-19. The Government has launched several schemes to support local authorities and their partners to provide covid-secure accommodation to those sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. In November 2020, the Government launched the Protect programme, which provides targeted funding throughout the winter to support areas with high numbers of rough sleepers.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Covid-19 and dental services

    Following the announcement of a national lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020, the Government restricted the availability of routine dental treatment. Although dental services have since resumed, it has been reported that treatment levels have not returned to pre-pandemic norms. Following the announcement that such services will not have to close during the second lockdown in England, this article explores what barriers there are to providing dental care because of Covid-19.

  • House of Lords Library

    Research Briefing

    Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill

    The bill would allow the Government to set aside the earnings requirement of the triple lock for assessing state pensions increases for the 2022/23 financial year. State pensions would instead be increased by 2.5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is higher. This briefing summarises the background to the bill and the House of Commons stages that were taken on 20 September 2021.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Universal credit: an end to the uplift

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the Government announced an uplift to universal credit and working tax credits worth £20 a week. Initially planned to last for a year, the policy was extended by six months in the March 2021 budget. In July 2021, the Government confirmed that it would not be extended further. This announcement has been met with widespread criticism.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    House of Lords: Hybrid sittings, participation and Covid-19

    This In Focus article considers the impact of changes the House of Lords has made during the pandemic on Member participation, focusing on the period between the introduction of hybrid proceedings and the beginning of the 2020 summer recess.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Free school meals in the holidays: A permanent change?

    Children whose parents or guardians get certain benefits, and all children up to year 2, are entitled to a free school meal during term time. During the Covid-19 pandemic the Government introduced supermarket vouchers to cover the cost of a meal while the schools were closed. This scheme was extended into the Easter, May half term and summer school holidays. On 14 September 2020, Baroness D’Souza is due to ask the Government what assessment they have made of extending a programme of free meals and activities into all future school holidays.

  • House of Lords Library

    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.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Covid-19 regulations: Face coverings in shops

    On 23 July 2020 the Government laid regulations requiring people to wear face coverings in shops and some other indoor venues. The House of Lords is due to debate these regulations in September 2020. This article provides an overview of the regulations and the background to their introduction.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Human rights concerns in India

    For several years, concerns have been raised by international governments and human rights organisations about alleged human rights violations in India. Concerns include the protection of religious minorities in the country. India has disputed the allegations, reiterating its commitment to human rights. This article looks at some of those incidences, as well as concerns raised by human rights organisations.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Cadet forces: funding and social impact

    The cadet forces are voluntary youth organisations that are based on the traditions of the armed forces but are not part of them. The Government says they offer “challenging and enjoyable activities”. They receive some government funding. Independent analysis suggests that they provide benefits both for participants and wider society. An ongoing government scheme aims to increase the number of cadet units in state schools.