• In Focus

    Illegal migration: Dealing with inadmissible asylum applications

    Home Office data shows that approximately 40,000 people have entered the UK illegally since March 2023. The Illegal Migration Act 2023 deems asylum applications as inadmissible if the claimant has entered the UK illegally, but not all the act’s provisions have yet been commenced. This briefing summarises the migration statistics and how the government has said it will deal with illegal migrants in conjunction with its Rwanda deportation scheme.

  • In Focus

    House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report: Impact of noise and light pollution on human health

    In July 2023 the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published a report into the impact of noise and light pollution on human health. It found that while there is some evidence that both noise and light pollution are harmful to humans, there are significant gaps in research and understanding. This briefing looks at the definitions of noise and light pollution, current legislation and guidelines, and the committee’s report and subsequent government response.

  • In Focus

    Addressing external auditing deficiencies

    The collapse of major UK companies such as BHS and Carillion has raised questions about the effectiveness of the country’s auditing practices. The government has committed to reforming the auditing industry. The 2022 Queen’s Speech included a plan to publish a draft bill including measures to establish a new audit, reporting and governance regulatory body with enhanced enforcement powers. The draft bill has not yet been published, but the government says it remains committed to legislating when parliamentary time allows.

  • In Focus

    Appointing and removing permanent secretaries: Lords Constitution Committee report

    The departure of some senior officials from their roles in recent years has been seen as controversial, prompting questions about the level of ministerial involvement in appointing and dismissing the most senior civil servants. A recent Constitution Committee report concluded the current level of ministerial involvement struck the right balance, but it recommended some changes for increased transparency and clarity. The House of Lords is due to debate the report on 9 May 2024.

  • In Focus

    Integration of Primary and Community Care Committee report: ‘Patients at the centre: Integrating primary and community care’

    Integrating primary and community care services has been identified as necessary in order to address increased demand and the rise in the number of people with complex health issues. In 2023, the House of Lords Integration of Primary and Community Care Committee considered how successfully these services were being integrated. This briefing summarises the committee’s conclusions and recommendations and the government’s response.

  • In Focus

    Border controls for UK and EU imports and exports

    In August 2023, the UK government published its ‘border target operating model’ (BTOM), which set out how the UK would gradually introduce full border controls on imports into Great Britain from the EU. The BTOM is being introduced gradually during 2024. The second phase is scheduled to commence on 30 April 2024 and is set to include the introduction of full sanitary and phytosanitary checks on certain goods imported from the EU. This briefing looks at the controls being introduced on 30 April 2024, as well as concerns raised by industries about how the changes could impact EU imports.

  • In Focus

    Child poverty: Statistics, causes and the UK’s policy response

    The government has estimated that 4.3 million children, or 30% of all children in the UK, were living in relative low-income households after housing costs in 2022/23. This represents an increase on the previous year. The government has said unexpectedly high inflation, driven by the war in Ukraine and supply chain challenges, contributed to the rise. It argues that falling inflation, rising real wages and uprated benefits will help low-income households in the year ahead.

  • In Focus

    The impact of gambling marketing

    The gambling industry has expanded over recent years and increased attention is being paid to the issue of gambling-related harms and the role that the marketing of gambling services plays in exacerbating them. The House of Lords is due to debate these issues on 25 April 2024.

  • In Focus

    UK aid for marginalised groups and minority communities in Pakistan

    The UK is one of the largest donors of overseas aid to Pakistan. However, despite a planned increase in the forthcoming financial year, the aid budget that the UK has allocated to Pakistan has declined notably in recent years. This has led to calls for the aid that the UK does provide to be focused more effectively on marginalised groups and minority communities in Pakistan.

  • In Focus

    UN standards on the use of surveillance technology at protests

    The UN recently published a toolkit for law enforcement officials to promote and protect human rights in the context of peaceful protests. It includes key principles for the use of digital technologies in relation to protests. This comes at a time when there are debates around the use of live facial recognition technology in public spaces by police in England and Wales. The government supports developing it as a crime-fighting tool, but others are concerned about its impact on privacy and other rights.

  • In Focus

    House of Lords Public Services Committee report: Homecare medicines services

    An estimated half a million NHS patients are receiving hospital-prescribed medication and equipment at home through private sector homecare medicines services. Responding to reports of patient harm and distress caused by delays, errors and mis-deliveries, the Public Services Committee investigated. The committee called for an independent review, as well as improvements to regulation, data and accountability. The government has said that NHS England is conducting a desktop review.

  • In Focus

    Foreign national offenders in UK prisons: Powers to deport

    Under UK legislation, the government has a duty to consider deportation of foreign nationals convicted of an offence in the UK and sentenced to at least 12 months’ imprisonment. It can remove foreign national offenders before the end of their prison sentence through various schemes and through prisoner transfer agreements. The deportation of foreign national offenders is a government priority. During 2023, 3,926 foreign national offenders were returned.

  • In Focus

    Importance of skills: Economic and social benefits

    The importance of skills is recognised across the main political parties in the UK. Evidence suggests that greater skill levels benefit the economy as a whole but also provide significant economic and social benefits for the individuals who possess them. The House of Lords is due to debate these issues on 9 May 2024.

  • In Focus

    Economic Affairs Committee report: ‘Making an independent Bank of England work better’

    In 2023 the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee conducted an inquiry into the Bank of England’s operational independence, 25 years after independence was formalised with the passage of the Bank of England Act 1998. 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 2 May 2024.

  • In Focus

    Who is in the House of Lords? Members with backgrounds and professional experience in public life

    The Lords Library has drawn together lists of members who have held selected positions in public life. This non-exhaustive collection provides an introduction to the diversity of experience in the House of Lords, including political careers in central, local, devolved and international settings; senior positions in defence, public service, policing and law; and leadership in science, education, culture and sport.