• In Focus

    Warfighting capability of the British army 3rd (UK) Division

    In 2021, the government published ‘Defence in a competitive age’ outlining changes to the size and structure of the British army. This included changes to the 3rd (UK) Division, one of the British army’s two deployable divisions and the UK’s principal combat formation. This article focuses on the current warfighting capabilities of the 3rd (UK) Division and the proposals to change its composition.

  • In Focus

    How have cuts to overseas aid affected the control of malaria and other diseases?

    Promoting international health security is a priority area for UK overseas aid. This includes efforts to combat malaria and neglected tropical diseases, working both bilaterally with affected countries and through multilateral organisations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Reductions in the UK aid budget, along with changes to how it is spent, have led to concerns that funding for such projects will be cut.

  • In Focus

    Relationship between health and food production

    There has been notable scrutiny of the link between health and food, including in 2020 by an ad hoc committee in the House of Lords. It found that the UK food system was failing to enable people to make healthy and affordable dietary choices. This briefing examines those findings and the challenges faced by both consumers and the UK agri-food sector, and the government’s policy response.

  • In Focus

    Musicians: Working and touring in the European Union

    Since Brexit, UK musicians and creative professionals no longer have free movement rights to travel and work across the EU. The EU and the UK have both said that they put forward proposals to prevent this outcome, but they could not come to an agreement. Several commentators have argued that the restrictions are having a negative impact. The government has said that it is committed to supporting UK creative industries and is “clarifying arrangements” with the EU and working with member states to make touring easier.

  • In Focus

    Sewage pollution in England’s waters

    Treated and untreated sewage is released into inland waters and the sea. This is permitted in specified circumstances and is regulated by the Environment Agency, the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) and by statute. There has been increasing concern about the level of sewage pollution in England’s waters, and the government has stated that improving water quality is a priority.

  • In Focus

    Pride in the UK: 50 years

    On 1 July 1972 the UK’s first Pride march was held in London. This date was chosen as the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the riots, or uprising, at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, where LGBT+ patrons had been targeted by the New York Police Department. Liberation organisations were inspired to action, and Pride marches have since become annual events throughout the UK and around the world.

  • In Focus

    Draft environmental principles policy statement

    The Environment Act 2021 requires the government to publish an environmental principles policy statement outlining how environmental principles should be interpreted and applied by ministers when making policy. A draft of the first statement to be made under the act was laid before Parliament on 11 May 2022 and is due to be discussed by the Lords on 30 June 2022.

  • In Focus

    Istanbul Convention: Preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

    The UK signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, in 2012. On 17 May 2022, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the UK’s laws were now compliant with the treaty and the government intended to ratify. The House of Lords International Agreements Committee has welcomed the ratification, but has expressed concern about two reservations the UK wishes to make from the treaty.

  • In Focus

    Crime and rehabilitation: An overview

    This article gives a brief overview of crime in England and Wales and how rehabilitation services are delivered. It also summarises the involvement of the voluntary sector and provides links to further reading. It has been prepared in advance of a House of Lords debate on 30 June 2022 on the causes of crime and reoffending and the effectiveness of rehabilitation, including the contribution made by the voluntary sector.

  • In Focus

    Rising cost of agricultural fertiliser and feed: Causes, impacts and government policy

    Agricultural fertiliser and feed prices have increased significantly in recent months. The price rises have been driven largely by global pressures including increased demand, the war in Ukraine and higher energy costs. Record prices are pushing up costs for farmers as well as for consumers via the cost of produce and animal products. The government has announced a range of measures in response, including more frequent payment of subsidies and a sustainable farming initiative.

  • In Focus

    Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022

    In both 2020 and 2021, the Commonwealth postponed its 26th Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) set to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has since announced the meeting will take place between 20 and 25 June 2022. Some organisations have called on Commonwealth leaders to use CHOGM to press Rwanda to respect and promote human rights.

  • In Focus

    Right to buy: Past, present and future

    The policy known as ‘right to buy’ gives local authority housing tenants the power to purchase their home at a discounted rate. The government has recently announced plans to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants. The conditions of right to buy have been regularly changed since its introduction in 1980. Recent trials have tested how it could be extended to housing association tenants.

  • In Focus

    Standards in public life and the democratic process

    Members of both Houses of Parliament are expected to abide by the seven principles of public life, also known as the Nolan Principles, and to the principles and rules set out in each House’s code of conduct. In addition, ministers are expected to follow the ministerial code. Declines in public trust in government and politicians often follow episodes of perceived declines in standards, such as after the 2009 media coverage of politicians’ expenses.

  • In Focus

    Union of the United Kingdom: Under stress?

    The UK’s union continues to evolve. Recent developments include the repatriation of powers from the EU post-Brexit and reviews of intergovernmental relations between central government and the devolved administrations, but there are also calls for further constitutional review and reform. The Scottish government’s plans for a second independence referendum and disagreements about the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol are particular issues that highlight current stresses on the union.

  • In Focus

    The Equality Act 2010: Impact on disabled people

    The Equality Act 2010 is the main piece of domestic legislation governing disabled people’s rights in the UK; it replaced several separate pieces of discrimination legislation. A 2016 House of Lords committee review contained recommendations for improvements to the 2010 Act. In September 2021, the House of Lords Liaison Committee examined whether these recommendations had been implemented. The committee’s 2021 report is due to be discussed in the House of Lords on 21 June 2022.