• In Focus

    The UK economy in the 1960s

    This briefing is the second of a series on the post-war history of the UK economy focusing on the 1960s. GDP growth remained high and fluctuating, as it was in the 1950s, but over the course of the decade household income growth slowed and the profitability of UK industry declined.

  • In Focus

    Long-term plan for housing

    The government’s long-term plan for housing includes a range of policies it says are aimed at regeneration, inner-city densification and housing delivery across England. In December 2023, the government announced the next stage of its long-term plan, including revisions to the ‘National planning policy framework’ (NPPF). This briefing summarises government housing policies within the long-term plan and NPPF revisions, as well as recent criticism of the government’s plan from parliamentarians.

  • In Focus

    Poverty in the UK: Government policy

    There were approximately 11 million people in the UK in relative poverty (before housing costs) in 2021/22. Many people on low incomes receive cash benefits, such as universal credit, and other benefits such as free school meals. In its levelling up strategy the government set out measures to address poverty; these include increasing the number of high-paying jobs and improving access to good quality education and skills training.

  • In Focus

    Where are they now?: Changes to the legislative agenda in the 2022–23 session

    The Queen’s Speech at the start of the 2022–23 session included 20 bills. A further 13 bills were announced in the government’s background briefing to the speech, including five carry-over bills. Changes in government leadership then resulted in some changes to policy during the 2022–23 session. This briefing looks at how the government’s legislative agenda changed during the last session and how many of these bills have been carried over into the new session.

  • In Focus

    New licensing for pet primates

    Thousands of primates are being kept as pets in the UK. The government is legislating to introduce licensing and higher welfare standards to end primates being kept in low welfare domestic environments. This briefing looks at the issue and the legislation.

  • In Focus

    Questions to the foreign secretary: 13 February 2024

    Members of the House of Lords will ask Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton a series of oral questions on 13 February 2024. These include what discussions the government has had with partners on a strategy to reduce debt in the developing world; what the UK is doing to protect children in Gaza; what progress the government has made in implementing the AUKUS security partnership; and UK-US discussions on recognising a Palestinian state.

  • In Focus

    Who sits where in the House of Lords?

    Seating in the House of Lords is defined by precedence and tradition. Tudor laws laid the groundwork for the layout of the current chamber. However, changes to the makeup of the membership and roles in the House have affected how the chamber has been used over time. This briefing explains who sits where and why, then takes a closer look at the tradition of sitting on the steps of the throne.

  • In Focus

    Mental health, wellbeing and personal development in schools

    Schools are required to provide support for the mental health and wellbeing of pupils. Sex, relationships and citizenship education are also included in the national curriculum. This briefing considers the government’s policy on mental health in schools and the current requirements for personal, social, health and economic education. It also summarises recent scrutiny of exam pressure in schools and citizenship education by House of Lords committees.

  • In Focus

    From the Hansard archives: Flexible working in the nineties

    Almost half of workers worked from home during Covid lockdown restrictions in 2020. Three years on, 31 percent of workers worked from home during their working week, representing an ongoing change in working patterns. This briefing looks back 30 years to a debate in the House of Lords on the importance of flexible working, which saw speakers reflecting on the potential benefits of such emerging working practices in the economy.

  • In Focus

    Humanitarian situation in Gaza

    The ongoing crisis in Gaza is having a critical impact on the civilian population. Casualty figures are rising on a daily basis, and hunger and disease are becoming increasingly prevalent as civilian infrastructure is destroyed and supplies of aid struggle to enter the territory. The UK government continues to call for an immediate pause to allow for the provision of more aid, and for all sides to work towards a lasting solution.

  • In Focus

    The government’s strategy and policy statement for the Electoral Commission: Regret motion

    The Elections Act 2022 included provisions for the government to issue a strategy and policy statement for the Electoral Commission. The government has said the statement is necessary to improve public confidence in the commission. A range of organisations, including the Electoral Commission, have opposed the statement, calling it incompatible with the commission’s independence.

  • In Focus

    Windsor Framework: Command paper and regulations

    On 31 January 2024, the government published a command paper on ‘Safeguarding the union’ and accompanying draft secondary legislation, seeking to address concerns about Northern Ireland’s place in the union and arrangements for the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Following negotiations with the DUP, this is intended as a step towards restoring the Northern Ireland executive.

  • In Focus

    Digital exclusion in the UK: Communications and Digital Committee report

    In 2023, the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee published a report on digital exclusion in which it called for the government to devise a new strategy and create a dedicated unit to address the issue. The committee argued the government’s approach lacked ambition. The government has said the issue is a priority and has established a dedicated ministerial group.

  • In Focus

    Where have all the workers gone?: Economic Affairs Committee report

    In December 2022, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published the outcome of its inquiry on the size of the UK labour market. The committee said that economic inactivity had increased during the coronavirus pandemic and that early retirement among 50 to 64-year-olds was a key driver of the increase. The government responded to the committee report in May 2023. It highlighted a range of measures announced in the 2023 spring budget to improve workforce participation.

  • In Focus

    Holocaust Memorial Day 2024

    On 27 January 2024, the UK will commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. This year’s theme, as chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, is ‘Fragility of freedom’. This year’s event takes place at the same time as a significant reported rise in the number of both antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents in the UK, seemingly in response to the ongoing crisis in Gaza and the wider Middle East.