• In Focus

    Nuclear weapons: A tactical advantage?

    New developments in nuclear weapons technology, particularly in the field of low-yield or ‘tactical’ weapons, have recently been deployed by international actors including the United States and Russia. This article examines the impact of these developments and whether they have increased the risk of a nuclear confrontation.

  • In Focus

    Budget 2020: fiscal rules and government borrowing

    Fiscal rules aim to keep public spending and the national debt sustainable by setting limits on, for example, the budget deficit. This article considers the history of fiscal rules in the UK, and criticisms of them. It also looks at the new Government’s possible approach, given statements in election manifesto and the December 2019 Queen’s Speech. The budget, on 11 March 2020, may set out the new fiscal rules.

  • In Focus

    Fact file: Rural economy

    This article provides a summary of statistics on the UK rural economy, including: how many people live rural communities; what types of business operate in rural areas and how much does the rural economy contribute to UK economic output overall.

  • In Focus

    Bank of England: the gold standard

    The Bank of England operates monetary policy in the UK. This article describes how, for much of its history, this involving maintaining the convertibility of the currency into bullion—the gold standard. More recently, the aims of policy have shifted, with the current target being to control inflation. However, debates continue about the appropriate targets of monetary policy, its links with fiscal policy and other aspects of the Bank’s operations.

  • In Focus

    When cooking kills

    Cooking on open fires releases dangerous particles into the air. These particulars harm human health and contribute to global warming. This article looks at the problem of cooking-related air pollution and potential solutions.

  • In Focus

    Parliament Act 1949: Reducing the power to delay

    How can the House of Commons pass laws the Lords disagrees with? The answer lies in two key pieces of legislation. The Parliament Act 1911 provided that any public bill rejected by the House of Lords could still be passed as long as three sessions over a two-year period had elapsed from its original second reading to its final third reading in the House of Commons. The Parliament Act 1949, passed 70 years ago, reduced that time period to one year and two sessions.

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