• In Focus

    Coronavirus: Restrictions on businesses and social gatherings

    In September 2020, the Government placed new restrictions on businesses selling food and drink, requiring many to close between 10pm and 5am. It also introduced further limits on the exemptions to its “rule of six” for social gatherings. This article looks at the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020, which implemented these new measures.

  • In Focus

    Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

    These regulations temporarily increase the amount of time that a defendant can be held in custody whilst awaiting a crown court trial. The Government said that the purpose of the regulations is to provide reassurance to victims and the public following the recent delays in trial listings caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and will expire on 28 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 local alert levels: Three-tier system for England

    On 12 October 2020, the Government announced a new system of local Covid-19 alert levels in England. Areas would be categorised as either ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’. Different restrictions intended to combat the spread of Covid-19 would be in place based on the alert level in a local area. This article summarises the regulations establishing this new system and the reaction from the local areas affected.

  • In Focus

    Negative interest rates: The policy debate

    Since 2009 the UK bank base rate has been below 1%, and it was cut to 0.1% in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. With the economy remaining weak, commentators have debated whether there should be further cuts, taking the interest rate negative for the first time. This article summarises the policy debate.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus regulations: Apprenticeships

    In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Education has said it expects to see an increase in the number of apprentices being made redundant. The Government has laid regulations which would allow apprentices who are made redundant to continue to receive funding to complete their apprenticeship through an alternative provider.

  • In Focus

    Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-isolation) (England) Regulations 2020

    These regulations make it an offence not to self-isolate if instructed to by certain local authority and health officials. This would apply to those who have tested positive for coronavirus or who have been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive. The regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and the House of Lords is due to consider them on 14 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 Vaccine: Access for low and middle income countries

    Almost 200 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently being developed. However, only a tiny percentage of these will ever be mass-produced and distributed. Concerns around ‘vaccine nationalism’ have grown, as high-income countries pre-order hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. This article looks at this problem and examines what solutions are being put in place to ensure low and middle income countries receive adequate supplies of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

  • 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.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 and the US election: Voting during a pandemic

    With just under a month until the US presidential election, some American citizens have started casting their votes. The coronavirus pandemic has already caused disruption to previous elections held across the US this year. How might coronavirus affect the way Americans vote in November?

  • In Focus

    Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull: Restrictions on meetings of households

    On 11 September 2020, the Government announced that it would be creating new ‘local lockdown’ restrictions in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull. These regulations came into force on 15 September 2020. Under the regulations, those living within these areas are prohibited from meeting different households in private dwellings either within or outside the protected area (except for linked households). This article provides a summary of these regulations and their scrutiny in Parliament. It also considers how people in the areas affected have responded to the new restrictions.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: Support for the transport sector

    Following the coronavirus lockdown, the number of passengers on the transport system declined significantly. In some sectors government financial support has been provided to make up the shortfall in lost fare revenue. This article summarises statistics on transport use and the economic support provided by the Government, ahead of an oral question on that subject in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Impact on low-income families and social security support

    The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits, which includes some people working but on low incomes, increased by over 100 percent between March and August 2020. There is also some evidence that people on low incomes saw a higher than average drop in income at the onset of the pandemic. This article provides information on selected government support schemes and when some are due to expire.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: Rule of six regulations

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 place a prohibition on people gathering in groups of more than six in England; in effect implementing the Government’s ‘rule of six’ policy. Exemptions apply, for example if individuals are members of the same household or two linked households (a support bubble). The House of Lords is due to debate a motion to regret the rules on 6 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 regulations: Electric scooter trials

    The Government has laid regulations allowing trials of the use of electric scooters on roads to begin. Prior to the regulations, the use of both privately owned and rental e-scooters was prohibited on roads. The regulations use the ‘made negative’ procedure and came into force on 4 July 2020. This article examines what the regulations do, and explains concerns identified by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.