• In Focus

    Charging ahead? Future of the UK car industry

    In recent years, concerns have been raised about the state of the UK’s car industry. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents car manufacturers in the UK, has reported that manufacturing decreased every year from 2016 to 2022. In addition, various companies have announced UK plant closures or capacity reductions. Concerns have also focused on the future of the industry. This article considers the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and examines one of the main challenges to this: the domestic production of batteries for EVs.

  • In Focus

    Science and Technology Committee report: ‘‘Science and technology superpower’: More than a slogan?’

    In 2022, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee conducted an inquiry into the government’s stated ambition to make the UK a “science and technology superpower” by 2030. This briefing provides a summary of the committee’s findings and the government’s response, ahead of a debate in the House of Lords on 7 June 2023.

  • In Focus

    Assistive technology in education and employment

    Assistive technology can support individuals with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to improve or maintain their daily quality of life. This includes in the areas of education and employment. This article looks at the challenges those with SEND face in these areas as well as the potential solutions assistive technology can offer. It also considers the government’s policy in these areas.

  • Research Briefing

    Shark Fins Bill: HL Bill 93 of 2022–23

    The Shark Fins Bill is a private member’s bill that would ban the import and export of detached shark fins and shark fin-containing products in Great Britain, with routes available for conservation-related exemptions. It would also extend an existing prohibition on shark finning in place for UK fishing vessels to all fishing vessels operating in UK waters. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill on 24 March 2023.

  • In Focus

    Cryptoassets: What does the future hold? 

    Cryptoassets, such as digital currencies like bitcoin, have become a significant part of the world of finance, with a global value estimated at $0.8tn. Volatility in the markets for these products, along with high-profile business failures, has led to calls for cryptoassets to be regulated. This article discusses what cryptoassets are, as well as recent developments and the government’s policy intentions in this area.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Home Affairs (February 2023)

    In January 2023, the self-proclaimed misogynist Andrew Tate was arrested in Romania following allegations of human trafficking and rape. His arrest led to a renewed focus on the spread of misogynistic ideas to young men. This article focuses on concerns that the consumption of online content, like that produced by Mr Tate, can have real world consequences, and questions what should be done to tackle it.

  • In Focus

    Net zero transformation: Industry and Regulators Committee report

    In March 2022, the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee published a report on net zero transformation, examining the government’s policy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The committee argued that current plans “lack the necessary level of policy detail” and proposed a range of recommendations. This article summarises the report, the government’s and Ofgem’s responses, as well as other developments concerning the UK’s net zero strategy.

  • In Focus

    AI technology and the justice system: Lords committee report

    The House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee has considered the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the criminal justice system. It found benefits to using such technology to help apply the law, but also raised concerns about a potential risk to the public’s fundamental human rights and civil liberties. This article summarises the committee’s findings and recommendations, as well as the government’s response.

  • In Focus

    Battery strategy: Science and Technology Committee report

    The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the Science and Technology Committee’s report ‘Battery strategy goes flat: Net zero target at risk’ on 23 November 2022. This article provides an overview of the committee’s recommendations and the government’s response. It also summarises recent statements from the government on supporting battery production and development and the expansion of low-carbon technologies.

  • In Focus

    Future of public service broadcasting

    The future of public service broadcasting has risen up the political agenda in recent years with debates about how the BBC should be funded and how broadcasters can compete in a competitive online media environment. Recent parliamentary committee inquiries in both the Lords and the Commons have looked at this issue. In April 2022 the government published a white paper on broadcasting and in the 2022 Queen’s Speech said it would introduce media legislation. The House of Lords is due to debate the future of public service broadcasting on 3 November 2022.

  • In Focus

    Freedom of expression online: Communications and Digital Committee report

    This article considers freedom of expression in the UK ahead of the House of Lords debate on the Communications and Digital Committee report ‘Free for all? Freedom of expression in the digital age’ on 27 October 2022. It provides background information on freedom of expression, including restrictions and the online context, and sets out the committee’s recommendations and the government’s policy. It also includes links to commentary on the proposed Online Safety Bill.

  • In Focus

    Research and development spending: Pharmaceuticals

    In the UK, pharmaceutical research and development is funded primarily by businesses. The government is the next biggest funder. The UK comes 13th among OECD economies for overall research and development spending from all sources and in all sectors. However, it comes third for government spending on health research and development. The government has committed to increasing funding for research and development.