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

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.

Land use frameworks: integrating policies in England

COP26: changes to the ‘green book’

On 28 October 2021, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (Green party) is due to ask Her Majesty’s Government “what changes, if any, they plan to make to HM Treasury’s green book and related guidance to demonstrate global leadership as chair of COP26”. This article provides an overview of COP26 alongside an explanation of the ‘green book’ and recent changes made to it aimed at supporting the UK’s net zero target.

COP26: changes to the ‘green book’
  • In Focus

    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.

  • 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.

  • In Focus

    Nuclear power in the UK

    The House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative) that “this House takes note of the role of civil nuclear power in meeting the United Kingdom’s (1) electricity needs, and (2) energy security”. This article gives an overview of nuclear power in the UK. It looks at issues such as its role in meeting carbon reduction targets, safety and the disposal of radioactive waste.

  • In Focus

    ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ and threats facing the UK

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) published the command paper ‘Defence in a Competitive Age’ on 22 March 2021, setting out how the UK’s defence capabilities will support the Government’s integrated review of security, defence, development, and foreign policy. The command paper contained a range of measures, including how the UK will respond to current and future threats. This article summarises those provisions ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords on these issues.

  • In Focus

    Integrity of the UK’s electoral processes

    The Electoral Commission recently reported the highest level of public confidence in the way elections are run in the UK. Since the Pickles report in 2016, the Government has committed to increasing the security of the UK’s elections. The Elections Bill, currently in committee stage in the House of Commons, contains a range of measures intended to fulfil this ambition. One proposal, to introduce voter ID, has been widely criticised.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: impact in Latin America

    Latin America accounts for over a fifth of all cases and almost a third of all deaths from Covid-19 worldwide. Vaccine rollouts are progressing across the region, but rates remain uneven. The economic toll of the pandemic has been severe, with recovery expected to take some time in many countries. This article provides a short summary of developments in the region arising from the pandemic ahead of a House of Lords debate on the subject.

  • In Focus

    Solent ferry services: regret motion

    Successive MPs for the Isle of Wight have argued that ferry services between the island and the mainland are not competitive enough. A statutory instrument introduced in response to Covid-19 suspended some elements of competition law in relation to ferry services across the Solent. A motion due to be moved in the House of Lords expresses regret that the order revoking this suspension does not address competition issues.

  • 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.

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