Report of the Social Mobility Commission: ‘Social Mobility and the Pandemic’

In July 2021, the Social Mobility Commission published its annual state of the nation report. It warned that the UK has struggled with the “damaging impact” of Covid-19 and as a result social mobility which is “already stagnant” could move backwards. This article considers the findings of the report and the Government’s policy on social mobility.

Report of the Social Mobility Commission: ‘Social Mobility and the Pandemic’

Menopause and the workplace

World Menopause Day is held on 18 October every year. The International Menopause Society has said that the purpose of the day is to “raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing”. This article focuses on the impact it can have on the working lives of women and others who experience menopausal symptoms.

Menopause and the workplace
  • 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

    Heavy goods vehicle driver shortage

    The UK, alongside other countries, is currently experiencing a shortage of HGV drivers. This has caused some UK supply chain issues, including the fuel shortage at the start of October 2021. The Government has laid out several actions to address the shortage, which have been met with mixed responses.

  • Research Briefing

    Health and Social Care Levy Bill

    The bill would provide for a new tax dedicated to helping fund the Government’s plans for health and social care, with proceeds ringfenced for this purpose. The tax would be collected from April 2022. The House of Commons has passed the bill and there are limitations on the powers of the House of Lords to amend or reject the measure. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill at second reading and remaining stages on 11 October 2021.

  • Research Briefing

    National Insurance Contributions Bill

    The bill would introduce national insurance relief schemes for employers based in freeport tax sites, as well as for employers of ex-service personnel. The bill also makes other provisions around national insurance. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do and what happened during its passage through the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

    Unlike the gender pay gap, there is no legal requirement for companies to publish their ethnicity pay gap. A recent report by the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the practice remain voluntary due to a lack of diversity in some parts of the country. A coalition of workers’ groups have called for ethnicity pay gap reporting to be made mandatory so employers can better address pay disparities.

  • In Focus

    Social care funding: a rise in national insurance

    On 7 September 2021, the Government announced plans to increase the funding of health and social care through a new tax: the health and social care levy. The levy will be based on a rise in national insurance and will raise £12 billion a year on average over the next three years. Many commentators have raised concerns that this approach is unfair on younger people and low earners.

  • In Focus

    Universal credit: an end to the uplift

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the Government announced an uplift to universal credit and working tax credits worth £20 a week. Initially planned to last for a year, the policy was extended by six months in the March 2021 budget. In July 2021, the Government confirmed that it would not be extended further. This announcement has been met with widespread criticism.

  • In Focus

    Status of Workers Bill [HL]

    The Status of Workers Bill is a private member’s bill that seeks to amend employment rights and trade union legislation to give statutory employment rights to all workers other than the genuinely self-employed. The current legal framework distinguishes between employees and workers, with the latter having fewer rights. There are also concerns that people may miss out on employment rights if they are in false self-employment or working through a personal service company.

  • In Focus

    Mental health and universal credit claims

    Universal credit is a benefit paid to over five million households. The ‘digital by default’ system replaces six ‘legacy benefits’ and aims to simplify the benefits system and encourage claimants into work. Concerns have been raised about the complexity of the application process and how this impacts those with mental health needs. The Money and Mental Health Institute recently called for changes to make it simpler to nominate a third party to help claimants.

  • In Focus

    Foreign languages: skills in the workforce

    Surveys consistently indicate just under two in three Britons are unable to hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. A number of organisations have drawn attention to this so-called ‘language deficit’ and its impact on trade and employment. This article looks at calls to improve language skills in England in the context of the Government’s ambition for a ‘Global Britain’.

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