• 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.

  • Research Briefing

    United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    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

    Covid-19: Impact on the UK cultural sector

    The UK’s arts and entertainment sector has been one of the areas worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The decline in revenues and the number of workers furloughed over the past few months is second only to the accommodation and food sector. This article examines the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s cultural industry and the Government’s recently announced support package worth £1.57 billion aimed at helping the sector recover.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus lockdown: Costs and benefits

    The coronavirus lockdown was introduced to reduce the spread of the disease. However, it also gave rise to substantial costs, both to the economy and in areas such as health, education, domestic violence and inequality. This article considers one analysis of these costs and how they compare to the benefits of the lockdown. This is the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 28 July 2020.

  • In Focus

    Children in poverty in working households

    A range of data is available to measure child poverty. This article looks at official statistics on children in low income households with someone in work. It then considers Government policy in the area, and also discusses the possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Child poverty in working households is the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 15 July 2020.

  • Research Briefing

    Medicines and Medical Devices Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The bill would provide the Government with new delegated powers to update or amend the UK’s regulatory framework for medical devices and for human and veterinary medicines. Much of the current UK regulatory framework is based on EU regulations and directives. It would also allow a new information system to be introduced covering data on medical devices and would consolidate and expand enforcement provisions.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Economics (June 2020)

    This article summarises a selection of commentaries on monetary financing, which is the central bank creating money on which interest is not paid. It sets out the pros and cons of the monetary financing approach, and discusses proposals for mitigating some of the risks involved. It also considers arguments that the Bank of England’s existing policy of quantitative easing (QE) is a form of monetary financing.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: Commercial rent relief and furloughed space grants

    The Government’s furlough scheme helps companies retain staff during the pandemic. This article considers proposals for a similar system covering physical premises, whereby the Government would help pay rent and services charges for companies in certain sectors. Similar schemes operate in Denmark and Sweden. The Government has not responded directly to the proposals, which are the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 15 June 2020.