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  • House of Lords Library

    Research Briefing

    Pet Abduction Bill: HL Bill 62 of 2023–24

    The Pet Abduction Bill is a House of Commons private member’s bill. It would create two new offences of dog and cat abduction, and give ministers powers to create similar offences for other pet species. It has government and cross-party support.

  • House of Lords Library

    Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Coronavirus (October 2021)

    Catch up on Covid-19 developments with a selection of articles you may have missed. This month we take a look at how the virus first spread, and differences in hospital admission rates between variants.

  • House of Lords Library

    Research Briefing

    Coronavirus and the Economy

    Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had major implications for the UK economy. There have been debates about a number of possible changes to economic policy when the UK enters the recovery phase. These include: possible major reforms to fiscal policy; whether the Government should facilitate the reallocation of jobs and capital away from the hardest hit sectors of the economy; what measures could be taken if the virus exacerbates inequalities in the UK; and whether the recovery is an opportunity to bring about fundamental changes in the economy and society.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Coronavirus: Ban on residential evictions and seizure of goods

    Following the introduction of a second national lockdown in England, the Government introduced a ban on evictions against residential tenants and restrictions on the seizure of goods inside someone’s home by bailiffs. The Government stated these measures were necessary because of the high risk of Covid-19 transmission and the difficulty in accessing public services when pressure on the NHS and local authorities was most acute. The restrictions will be in place over the mid-winter period.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Child poverty: Statistics, causes and the UK’s policy response

    The government has estimated that 4.3 million children, or 30% of all children in the UK, were living in relative low-income households after housing costs in 2022/23. This represents an increase on the previous year. The government has said unexpectedly high inflation, driven by the war in Ukraine and supply chain challenges, contributed to the rise. It argues that falling inflation, rising real wages and uprated benefits will help low-income households in the year ahead.

  • House of Lords Library

    Research Briefing

    Coronavirus, Hong Kong and UK Government Support

    Hong Kong has had 118 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease and three deaths as at 10 March 2020. Hong Kong’s government has sought to contain the virus through strict quarantine and travel restrictions and by closing some public services, including schools. However, concerns have been raised about the social and economic impact of the measures taken.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Coronavirus and the telecoms industry

    The Covid-19 pandemic has seen an increase in homeworking and other online activity, such as video streaming. This increase in demand has affected both telecoms providers and engineers. This article summarises the scale of this increased demand and the measures taken to meet it.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Where have all the workers gone?: Economic Affairs Committee report

    In December 2022, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published the outcome of its inquiry on the size of the UK labour market. The committee said that economic inactivity had increased during the coronavirus pandemic and that early retirement among 50 to 64-year-olds was a key driver of the increase. The government responded to the committee report in May 2023. It highlighted a range of measures announced in the 2023 spring budget to improve workforce participation.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Customs and traditions: The mace

    The mace is a staff of office symbolising the authority of the sovereign in Parliament. A mace is carried to the Lords and the Commons chambers in a procession at the beginning and end of each sitting day. In the Lords, it rests on the woolsack behind the lord speaker during proceedings. As is the case in the Commons, the Lords may not conduct business in the chamber whilst it is not present. But where did this custom and tradition come from and are maces found in other parliaments?

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Poverty in the UK: Government policy

    There were approximately 11 million people in the UK in relative poverty (before housing costs) in 2021/22. Many people on low incomes receive cash benefits, such as universal credit, and other benefits such as free school meals. In its levelling up strategy the government set out measures to address poverty; these include increasing the number of high-paying jobs and improving access to good quality education and skills training.

  • House of Lords Library

    Research Briefing

    Coronavirus Bill: emergency Covid-19 legislation

    The bill proposes new laws that would provide the Government, and various public bodies, with powers to manage the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Long-term sustainability of the NHS: Options for systems and funding

    In response to recent pressures in the NHS, there has been debate about the sustainability of the NHS and its funding model. In preparation for a House of Lords debate on this topic, this briefing examines the UK’s taxation-based health care model and alternative models (such as social health insurance and private health insurance) used in other countries.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Freelancers in the arts and creative sectors

    The creative industries sector is a significant contributor to the UK economy and freelancers comprise a large proportion of its workforce. While many freelancers can benefit from the flexibility of self-employment, they can also lose entitlements to a range of workplace rights. Concerns have been raised about the impact on creative freelancers of the UK’s post-Covid recovery. Some organisations in the creative sector have called for the appointment of a freelancers’ commissioner to advocate for the rights of freelancers.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Coronavirus: Profiteering during the pandemic

    The Covid-19 pandemic has seen an increase in complaints of price gouging, with some household items being sold at inflated prices. This article summarises the campaign to combat price gouging and the existing powers available to achieve this in consumer law.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Local lockdowns: The legislative framework in England

    The Government has relaxed many of the national coronavirus lockdown restrictions since the height of the pandemic. Instead, it has sought to control outbreaks in specific areas with ‘local lockdowns’. This article examines the legislative framework around local lockdowns and the parliamentary scrutiny they have undergone.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    NHS eating disorder services

    In 2017, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) published a report following the death of Averil Hart, a 19-year-old with anorexia. It concluded that Averil’s death had been avoidable, linking it to failings in NHS eating disorder services. During the coronavirus pandemic there was an increase in demand for eating disorder services, particularly among young people. The House of Lords is due to debate the progress made in implementing the PHSO report’s recommendations.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Covid-19 regulations: Face coverings

    The Government has laid several statutory instruments requiring people to wear face coverings, with the aim of reducing the spread of Covid-19. These regulations include a list of “relevant places” where people must wear face coverings. The regulations have been updated with subsequent regulations that add places to the list and remove exemptions. The financial penalties for non-compliance have also been updated. This article looks at the requirements imposed by the various instruments.

  • House of Lords Library

    In Focus

    Covid-19 regulations: Face coverings—updates

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has introduced requirements to wear face coverings in specified locations. These have been updated several times, to broaden the scope of the rules and to increase the financial penalties for non-compliance. This article looks at the requirements imposed by three instruments that came into force on 23 and 24 September 2020 and are being debated in the House of Lords on 12 October 2020.