Queen’s Speech 2022: Levelling up, housing and communities

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, this article examines the Government’s policy commitments on levelling up, housing and communities. This includes the measures found in the levelling up white paper, which aimed to reduce geographical inequalities across the UK. It also discusses the Government’s plans to bring forward legislation on social housing, the rental market and leaseholds.

Queen’s Speech 2022: Levelling up, housing and communities

Ukrainian refugees

Over 4 million refugees have left Ukraine since 24 February 2022, when Russia launched its current invasion of the country. At least a further 6.5 million people are displaced within Ukraine. The UK Government has launched family and sponsorship schemes to allow Ukrainians to seek refuge in the UK. However, critics have alleged that the processes involved are slow and causing frustration for both Ukrainian refugees and their sponsors.

Ukrainian refugees
  • In Focus

    British Sign Language Bill

    British sign language (BSL) is the most commonly used sign language in the UK and is considered culturally important by the Deaf community. Although it is recognised as a language by the Government, this is not set out in law. This bill would give BSL full legal recognition as a language in England, Wales and Scotland and contains provisions to promote its use. The measures have cross-party support.

  • In Focus

    Older workers in the UK

    Recent labour market figures show a record number of job vacancies and increased economic activity in the UK. It has been suggested that one reason for this could be that older workers are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than before. This article considers how the pandemic has impacted older workers and what actions the Government has taken.

  • Research Briefing

    Judicial Review and Courts Bill

    This government bill would make several changes to judicial review and introduce new procedural measures in criminal courts, employment tribunals and coroner’s courts, amongst others. According to the Government, the bill would strengthen judicial review, modernise the court and tribunal system, and help to address case backlogs caused by the pandemic.

  • In Focus

    LGBT+ History Month: Jez Dolan’s ‘Wolfenden’

    To mark LGBT+ History Month, this article examines the history behind Jez Dolan’s ‘Wolfenden’. Hanging in Portcullis House, this artwork was commissioned by Parliament in 2015 to commemorate the 1957 Wolfenden Report. The article discusses the artwork, the history of the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the part played by the House of Lords in the process.

  • In Focus

    Freedom of speech: challenges and the role of public, private and civil society sectors in upholding rights

    On 10 December 2021, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate a motion tabled by the Archbishop of Canterbury “that this House takes note of contemporary challenges to freedom of speech, and the role of public, private and civil society sectors in upholding freedom of speech”. This article provides background information ahead of the debate.

  • In Focus

    Financial fraud and vulnerable people

    On 2 December 2021, the House of Lords is scheduled to hold a short debate on a motion tabled by Lord Sharkey (Liberal Democrat). He will ask the Government what steps it is taking to protect vulnerable people from financial fraud. This article provides information about the various types of fraud committed and the scale of the problem; which groups are more vulnerable to fraud; and what is being done to tackle the crime.

  • In Focus

    Land use frameworks: integrating policies in England

    Planning and land use policies cover a wide range of considerations. These range from controlling the built environment to achieving environmental aims such as reducing emissions, as well as agricultural and economic objectives. Some groups have argued for the need for an overarching ‘land use framework’ to draw these together to ensure all policy aims can be met. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate this issue on 28 October 2021.

  • 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

    Human rights of LGBT+ people worldwide

    Equality in human rights for LGBT+ people varies globally. Many are vulnerable to violations, including violent attacks and social isolation. The United Nations (UN) has repeatedly confirmed that discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics is contrary to international human rights law. Despite this, over 70 countries worldwide criminalise adult same-sex relationships. The UK Government commits funds to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. However, it has recently faced criticism for its New Plan for Immigration.

  • In Focus

    Cadet forces: funding and social impact

    The cadet forces are voluntary youth organisations that are based on the traditions of the armed forces but are not part of them. The Government says they offer “challenging and enjoyable activities”. They receive some government funding. Independent analysis suggests that they provide benefits both for participants and wider society. An ongoing government scheme aims to increase the number of cadet units in state schools.

  • In Focus

    International non-binary people’s day

    Non-binary people may feel that the traditional binary of man and woman does not comfortably reflect their own gender identity. International non-binary people’s day celebrates the identities of non-binary people and takes place on 14 July. This briefing explores some of the basic ideas around non-binary identities and concepts of sex and gender.

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