• In Focus

    Reduction in the UK’s 0.7 percent ODA target

    In the 2020 spending review, the Government cut aid spending from a target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5%. Ministers said the UK would spend £10 billion on overseas development assistance (ODA) in 2021–22, this compares with £14.5 billion in 2020. The decision has been controversial, with several politicians and aid organisations expressing concerns about the impact of the reduction.

  • 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Telecommunications (Security) Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The Telecommunications (Security) Bill is a government bill to improve the regulation of the UK telecoms market in order to protect the security of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. Second reading of the Telecommunications (Security) Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords on 29 June 2021. This briefing provides a summary of the bill and its passage through the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Finance Bill

    The Finance Bill is a government bill intended to give lasting statutory effect to the tax measures announced in the March 2021 budget. The bill underwent a series of changes in its passage through the House of Commons. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee criticised a draft of the bill in some specific areas. The Government accepted some of the committee’s recommendations but rejected others.

  • 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.

  • In Focus

    UK development aid and the Integrated Review

    In the 2020 spending review, the Government cut aid spending from a target of 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. The Government said in its recent integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy it would use aid spending “more strategically” to increase the UK’s impact as a force for good. On 28 April 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate the reduction in aid spending and its impact on achieving the integrated review’s objectives.

  • In Focus

    Biodiversity

    Declines in biodiversity could lead to economic and political instability and potentially threaten the survival of life on earth. The Government has taken a range of steps to counter biodiversity loss, although measures of success are mixed. The independent Dasgupta review has recommended placing monetary values on natural capital. Two forthcoming international conferences provide opportunities for further global initiatives on biodiversity.

  • In Focus

    Building an inclusive society in the post-pandemic world

    Attendees at a United Nations (UN) summit more than 25 years ago defined an inclusive society as a “society for all”. Policy responses have been introduced in the years since, though questions remain about how progress can be measured. The Covid-19 pandemic has represented a setback towards realising the goal in many areas, but some have identified an opportunity to redouble efforts towards achieving ambitions in the pandemic’s wake.

  • In Focus

    Government investment programmes: the ‘green book’

    The Government’s ‘green book’ describes how major public sector investment projects are assessed. In March 2020, the Government announced a review of the approach, to improve how the green book supports strategic priorities such as its ‘levelling up’ agenda and the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The review’s conclusions were published in November 2020, followed by a revised green book in December 2020.

  • Research Briefing

    Spring Budget 2021: Tax, Spending, the Economy and Coronavirus

    The budget set out the Government’s plans for taxation and spending over the next five years. It also included the Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment of the economy and forecasts for growth, the public sector finances, unemployment and inflation. It illustrated the effect of coronavirus on the economy and described how the Government aims to deal with the recovery from the pandemic.