House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report: Catapults

In November 2020, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published the ‘Catapults: Bridging the gap between research and industry’ report. This considered the role technology and innovation catapults have played in encouraging investment and collaborations in UK innovation. The committee made several recommendations, including making certain changes to the catapult funding framework. The House of Lords is scheduled to consider the report and recent developments on 19 May 2022.

House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report: Catapults
  • In Focus

    How should gambling regulation change to reduce gambling harm?

    A House of Lords committee on the gambling industry has called for a series of regulatory reforms to reduce the harm caused by ‘problem gambling’. Since the committee’s report, the Government has launched a wide-ranging review of gambling oversight and is due to publish its conclusions shortly. In the meantime, aspects of gambling regulation continue to evolve.

  • In Focus

    Finance Bill Sub-Committee report: off-payroll working

    In April 2020, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee published the ‘Off-Payroll Working: Treating People Fairly’ report. This made several recommendations to the Government, including considering alternative options to the off-payroll working rules. The House of Lords is scheduled to consider the report and recent developments on 27 April 2022.

  • In Focus

    Unpaid taxes: the ‘tax gap’

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) produces estimates of the tax gap—the tax revenue HMRC should receive but does not. Its most recent estimate for 2019/20 is £35 billion, or approximately 5% of total tax liabilities. As a percentage of total taxes, the gap has been declining 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

    Spring statement 2022: key announcements and analysis

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the 2022 spring statement to the House of Commons on 23 March 2022. He said the measures in the statement would support the British people in dealing with rising costs of living. He announced some changes to the tax system and new spending commitments. Alongside the statement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published revised forecasts for the economy and the public finances.

  • In Focus

    Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill

    The Pension Schemes (Conversion of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions) Bill is a private member’s bill introduced into the House of Commons by Margaret Ferrier (Independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West). It aims to clarify how occupational pension schemes can convert historic rights to certain pension entitlements into current scheme benefits. In the House of Commons stages both the Government and the Opposition supported the bill.

  • Research Briefing

    Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill

    The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill is a government bill that is being fast-tracked through Parliament. It completed its second reading and remaining stages in the House of Commons on 7 March 2022. The bill would make provision in three areas: part 1 would introduce a register of the beneficial owners of overseas entities that owned land in the UK; part 2 would make changes to strengthen unexplained wealth orders; and part 3 would make changes to sanctions legislation to help deter and prevent breaches of financial sanctions.

  • In Focus

    Impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on recent political developments in Northern Ireland

    Amid ongoing objections to the protocol from unionist parties, Northern Ireland’s First Minister recently resigned. This followed an attempt by the Minister for Agriculture, currently subject to legal challenge, to halt checks required by the protocol on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This article considers the Government’s assessment of the protocol’s impact on recent political developments in Northern Ireland ahead of a debate in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Finance (No. 2) Bill

    The Finance (No. 2) Bill is a government bill intended to give lasting statutory effect to tax measures announced both in the October 2021 budget and more recently. The bill underwent a series of changes during its passage through the House of Commons. This briefing summarises these developments and also some of the criticism of the bill’s objectives from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee.

  • In Focus

    Gambling advertising and harm caused by gambling

    For some people, gambling can lead to financial difficulties, deteriorating health, crime and other harms. The links between gambling advertisements and such ‘problem gambling’ have been widely debated. This briefing explores these debates. It also examines the current regulatory regime for gambling advertising and proposals for change.

  • Research Briefing

    Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill

    The bill would establish a system of binding arbitration to resolve outstanding commercial rent debt accrued during the coronavirus pandemic. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do; what happened during its passage through the House of Commons; and plans to debate it in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Oil and gas industry: outside interests

    The Government has committed to phasing out global fossil fuel subsidies and to changing the way that oil and gas is licensed in the UK. However, environmental organisations have argued that outside interests, such as oil companies and climate sceptics, have too much influence on the oil and gas industry in the UK. This includes at board level of the industry’s regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority, and through political donations.

  • In Focus

    Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?

    According to UK law, electric scooters can only be used on private land. However, the Government is considering whether the law should be changed. As part of this consideration, the Department for Transport introduced legislation in July 2020 to enable rental e-scooter trials to take place on public roads and cycle lanes across the UK. The Government awaits the outcome of these trials before making a decision on whether to change the law.

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