In August and September 2020, the Government made several changes to the planning system in England. It introduced secondary legislation creating new permitted development rights and making changes to use classes. Five of these statutory instruments are being debated in the House of Lords on 27 October 2020. This article provides a summary of these instruments and the scrutiny they have received so far in Parliament.

The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill seeks to ensure unfettered access to the UK internal market for “qualifying Northern Ireland goods”. On 7 October 2020, the Government published the draft Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. They contain the definition of “qualifying Northern Ireland goods” that will apply to the bill. This article explains the background to the regulations, and why the Government also intends to introduce further legislation in this area.

  • In Focus

    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

    These regulations extend the Pension Protection Fund’s rights as a creditor when co-operative and community benefit societies have a moratorium in place to protect them from creditor action. This would give the fund a greater say during restructuring discussions when societies are in financial difficulty. The Pension Protection Fund provides compensation for members of defined benefit pension schemes where their employer becomes insolvent. The regulations also revoke and replace previous regulations due to a drafting error.

  • In Focus

    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.

  • Research Briefing

    The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill is a government bill that would make provision for the continuation of the UK’s single market when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. As part of this it would provide for the ‘market access principles’ of mutual recognition and non-discrimination to apply to the sale of goods and the provision of services within the UK. It also seeks to provide unfettered access for qualifying Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain. It contains provisions that seek to give ministers the power to unilaterally interpret, modify the application of or disapply parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, notwithstanding their obligations under relevant international and domestic law.

  • In Focus

    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

    On 9 October 2020, the House of Lords will debate the Charitable Incorporated Organisations (Insolvency and Dissolution) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2020. These regulations provide for new arrangements on moratoriums for charitable organisations to facilitate their rescue from financial difficulty.

  • In Focus

    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

    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

    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. 

  • In Focus

    In May 2019, the House of Lords EU Committee published a report into the future of UK-EU surface transport links. Continuing disagreement between UK and EU negotiators over aspects of the future relationship in transport matters has helped put the brakes on progress in the current negotiations, with talks on the future of road haulage rights in particular reportedly at a standstill.