• In Focus

    Rwanda policy: Unaccompanied children and age assessments

    In April 2022, the UK government announced a scheme to relocate certain asylum seekers to Rwanda for asylum claims processing and potential resettlement. Concerns have since been raised about the risk of unaccompanied children being mistaken for adults and subsequently removed from the UK to Rwanda. This article considers this issue and also what the government is doing to improve age assessment procedures in the UK’s immigration system.

  • In Focus

    Ukrainian refugees in the UK: Access to public services and employment

    This article sets out information on the support available to Ukrainian refugees in the UK, particularly regarding access to employment, education, healthcare and other public services. It has been prepared ahead of debate on the needs of Ukrainian mothers and children arriving in the UK. It also provides further reading on some of the challenges they face.

  • In Focus

    Cost of living, economic resilience and government policy

    The cost of living has been increasing for households across the UK since early 2021. This is due to a variety of factors, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affecting food and energy prices. At the same time, tax and benefit changes have added pressure to the capacity of household incomes to absorb rising prices. The government has announced successive packages of measures aimed at supporting households as they face rising living costs.

  • In Focus

    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.

  • In Focus

    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.

  • 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.