• In Focus

    Rising energy costs: the impact on households, pensioners and those on low incomes

    Energy bills in the UK are predicted to rise considerably over the next year. This is due to issues that have increased wholesale energy costs and have subsequently put a number of energy suppliers out of business. This article outlines these issues and considers the potential impact of increasing energy bills on UK households, particularly on pensioners and those on lower incomes.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: business loans and the public finances

    The Government has provided over £200 billion of loans, guarantees and insurance cover to private sector firms during the coronavirus pandemic. These affect government borrowing and debt in different ways, depending on the design of the schemes. This article explores how each scheme is treated in the public finances and how much they are expected to cost.

  • Research Briefing

    International Development Strategy

    On 16 December 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Labour) that “this House takes note of the plans by Her Majesty’s Government to announce a new international development strategy for the United Kingdom in 2022”.

  • In Focus

    Trade and institutional frameworks after Brexit

    What institutions and arrangements will govern the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU? And what will be the implications of Brexit for UK-EU trade in services and trade in goods? This article summarises the findings of three reports from a House of Lords committee that addressed these questions, as well as the Government’s responses. The House of Lords is due to debate the reports on 6 December 2021.

  • In Focus

    Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

    In November 2021, the National Infrastructure Commission published the baseline report from its forthcoming second National Infrastructure Assessment. The baseline report evaluates the current state of the UK’s economic infrastructure and identifies key challenges for the coming decades, informing recommendations in the full assessment in 2023. The baseline report found that there has been significant progress in some areas such as gigabit broadband since the last Assessment in 2018. However, it added much more was required, particularly in areas such as electricity emissions and water pollution.

  • Research Briefing

    BBC: Value to the UK and wider global audiences

    This briefing has been prepared in advance of a House of Lords debate on 2 December 2021 on the value of the BBC to its audiences. The briefing provides information on the BBC’s remit, its services, and their economic value to the UK. It also summarises issues such as the negotiations between the BBC and the Government over the licence fee settlement from 2022, and the forthcoming mid-term review of the BBC’s royal charter.

  • In Focus

    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.

  • In Focus

    Pandora papers, money laundering and corruption

    The pandora papers are the largest ever leak of documents and files revealing how a global network of offshore companies, trusts and financial mechanisms are enabling wealthy individuals to avoid tax, and in some cases reportedly to also engage in criminal activities such as money laundering. There are also fears that the UK property market is being targeted by investors who are buying valuable properties through offshore companies to conceal their ownership and avoid taxation.

  • In Focus

    Autumn budget and spending review

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered the second budget of the year on 27 October 2021. It set out the Government’s plans to “build back better”. He also announced the results of a spending review, setting departmental spending totals for 2022/23 to 2024/25. Overall spending will increase, with a large proportion of the increase going to the NHS. The Office for Budget Responsibility also published its latest forecasts for the economy and the public finances. They showed improvements from its previous, March 2021, forecasts.

  • In Focus

    COP26: changes to the ‘green book’

    On 28 October 2021, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (Green party) is due to ask Her Majesty’s Government “what changes, if any, they plan to make to HM Treasury’s green book and related guidance to demonstrate global leadership as chair of COP26”. This article provides an overview of COP26 alongside an explanation of the ‘green book’ and recent changes made to it aimed at supporting the UK’s net zero target.

  • Research Briefing

    Compensation (London Capital & Finance plc and Fraud Compensation Fund) Bill

    The Compensation (London Capital & Finance plc and Fraud Compensation Fund) Bill would make provisions relating to the payment of compensation to eligible customers of London Capital & Finance plc. It would also allow the secretary of state to provide a loan to the Board of the Pension Protection Fund and for that loan to form a part of the funds of the Fraud Compensation Fund. The House of Lords second reading and remaining stages of the bill are scheduled to take place on 19 October 2021.