Cost of living: housing affordability

This article discusses the potential impact of the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the removal of the temporary uplift to the standard allowance of Universal Credit and the rise in fuel prices on the cost of living and on people’s ability to pay their monthly mortgage and rental payments. It also examines recent commentary on the subject.

Cost of living: housing affordability

Coronavirus Act 2020: debate on temporary provisions

As the Covid-19 pandemic progressed in March 2020, the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force. This provided UK public bodies with a suite of powers to respond to the situation. Most provisions within the act are temporary and set to expire automatically in March 2022. The act requires these provisions to be scrutinised by Parliament periodically. This article considers what the act does, how it is scrutinised, and the UK and devolved governments’ Covid-19 plans for autumn/winter 2021–22.

Coronavirus Act 2020: debate on temporary provisions

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.

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

    Public Health England: Gambling-related harms review

    The Government has estimated that there are 400,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in England, with a further 2 million people at risk of developing a problem. In its recent report, Public Health England has called for gambling-related harm to be considered as a public health issue. The Government is undertaking a review of the Gambling Act 2005 and has invested in services for those affected by this issue in the NHS Long Term Plan.

  • In Focus

    Assisted Dying Bill [HL]

    This private member’s bill would create a legal framework to allow a terminally ill patient to end their life, provided they have the consent of two medical practitioners. The High Court would also have to provide consent. The form of death would be prescribed, self-administered life-ending drugs. The bill is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 22 October 2021.

  • Research Briefing

    Social care: challenges, funding and reform

    There is widespread recognition that the formal adult social care sector in England has faced multiple challenges over many years. The Government has set out proposals for a levy to raise funds for the sector alongside reforms to how people pay for adult social care in England. Further detail on the Government’s plans for sector reform are expected in a white paper due later this year.

  • Research Briefing

    Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill

    The bill would allow the Government to set aside the earnings requirement of the triple lock for assessing state pensions increases for the 2022/23 financial year. State pensions would instead be increased by 2.5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is higher. This briefing summarises the background to the bill and the House of Commons stages that were taken on 20 September 2021.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]

    This proposed law seeks to reform pensions across the public sector. It would also make other changes to the rules related to judicial offices. The pension reforms partly respond to a finding of unlawful discrimination in existing schemes and are partly aimed at improving the operation of public sector pensions. The changes relating to judicial offices are intended to improve recruitment and retention in the judiciary.

  • In Focus

    Education (Assemblies) Bill [HL]

    This private member’s bill would repeal the requirement for schools in England without a designated religious character to provide daily acts of collective religious worship. In its place, the bill would establish a new duty to provide non-religious assemblies which develop the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural education of pupils. It is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 10 September 2021.

  • 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

    Leadership training for ministers and senior civil servants

    The Government has outlined an ambition to improve the professional skills held by both ministers and senior civil servants. This follows numerous reports and programmes aimed at improving government performance and effectiveness generally, most recently leading to the creation of a National Leadership Centre. This article provides an overview of developments relating to the training of government leaders ahead of a forthcoming debate on the subject.

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