House of Lords appointments: should the process be reviewed?

Since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in 2019, the Government has made 83 appointments to the House of Lords. The Government has argued these appointments have been necessary to refresh the House. However, concerns have been expressed about the number of new appointments and the increase in the number of Conservative members. On 18 November 2021, the House of Lords will debate whether the process by which appointments are made should be reviewed.

House of Lords appointments: should the process be reviewed?

Quantitative easing

Quantitative easing (QE) is a form of monetary policy first used in the UK during the financial crisis. In July 2021, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published a report on the policy. It concluded that QE had succeeded in stabilising the economy in crisis conditions, but that it remains poorly understood and has led to perceptions that the Bank of England has become politicised.

Quantitative easing
  • In Focus

    Unpaid taxes: the ‘tax gap’

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) produces estimates of the tax gap—that is, tax revenue HMRC should receive but does not. Its most recent estimate is £35 billion, or approximately 5% of total tax liabilities, for 2019/20. As a percentage of total taxes, the gap has been trending downwards in recent years. The Government’s tax strategy includes measures to reduce it further. However, some commentators have argued these need more careful consideration.

  • 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]

    This proposed law seeks to reform pensions across the public sector. It would also make other changes to the rules related to judicial offices. The pension reforms partly respond to a finding of unlawful discrimination in existing schemes and are partly aimed at improving the operation of public sector pensions. The changes relating to judicial offices are intended to improve recruitment and retention in the judiciary.

  • Research Briefing

    Standards in Public Life

    This House of Lords Library briefing has been prepared ahead of the following debate in the House on 9 September 2021: Lord Blunkett to move that this House takes note of standards in public life.

  • In Focus

    Reforming the House of Lords Appointments Commission

    The House of Lords Appointments Commission vets nominations to the House and recommends non-party political members. However, it is not a statutory body and the Prime Minister can disregard its advice. Recently, its advice about the appointment of Lord Cruddas was not followed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. On 6 September 2021, the House of Lords will debate whether the commission should be reformed and placed on a statutory basis.

  • In Focus

    Leadership training for ministers and senior civil servants

    The Government has outlined an ambition to improve the professional skills held by both ministers and senior civil servants. This follows numerous reports and programmes aimed at improving government performance and effectiveness generally, most recently leading to the creation of a National Leadership Centre. This article provides an overview of developments relating to the training of government leaders ahead of a forthcoming debate on the subject.

  • In Focus

    Devolution and government relations

    Two reports published in March 2021 concern UK ‘intergovernmental relations’ (IGR), the mechanisms through which the UK and devolved governments interact. First, the Dunlop Review made recommendations on how the UK Government should restructure to enhance its capabilities on matters affecting the union. Second, an update on a review of IGR being undertaken jointly by the four governments described progress in negotiations. The reports are being debated together on 1 July 2021.

  • In Focus

    Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]

    The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Bird (Crossbench), inspired by legislation passed in Wales in 2015. It aims to ensure UK policymaking accounts for the interests of future generations. The House of Lords has debated the subject twice in recent years. The bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 25 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    New powers for HMRC

    The Government has proposed new powers for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to address tax avoidance, enhance information gathering, and improve tax compliance. These measures were the subject of a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill subcommittee, which found that some of these powers were both disproportionate and poorly targeted.

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