• In Focus

    Changes to the Child Maintenance Service

    The Child Maintenance Service is used by separated parents or those tasked with the day-to-day care of a child who cannot arrange child maintenance themselves. It uses gross weekly income to calculate a paying parent’s child maintenance. The service extends to England, Scotland and Wales.

  • In Focus

    Reduction in the UK’s 0.7 percent ODA target

    In the 2020 spending review, the Government cut aid spending from a target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5%. Ministers said the UK would spend £10 billion on overseas development assistance (ODA) in 2021–22, this compares with £14.5 billion in 2020. The decision has been controversial, with several politicians and aid organisations expressing concerns about the impact of the reduction.

  • In Focus

    Magnitsky sanctions

    ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions target those responsible for human rights violations or corruption. The UK established a global human rights sanctions regime in 2020 and a global anti-corruption sanction regime this year, using powers in the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

  • In Focus

    Higher Education Cheating Services Prohibition Bill [HL]

    The Higher Education Cheating Services Prohibition Bill is a private member’s bill sponsored by Lord Storey. It would make it an offence to provide or advertise cheating services to students enrolled at higher education providers in England. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill at second reading on 25 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]

    The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Bird (Crossbench), inspired by legislation passed in Wales in 2015. It aims to ensure UK policymaking accounts for the interests of future generations. The House of Lords has debated the subject twice in recent years. The bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 25 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    Promoting tourism in the UK

    The UK’s tourism industry has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of a House of Lords debate on 24 June 2021 to take note of the need to promote tourism in the UK, this article looks at how the sector has been affected, and the Government’s response, including its recently published Tourism Recovery Plan.

  • In Focus

    Office of the Whistleblower Bill [HL]

    Calls for reform to the UK’s legislative framework for whistleblowing have increased in recent years. The Office of the Whistleblower Bill would require the establishment of a new body to provide guidance and support to whistleblowers, amongst other things. This article looks at what the bill would do, why it has been introduced, and parliamentary discussion that has taken place on the subject.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: impact on child poverty and on young people’s education, health and wellbeing

    Concerns have been raised about the impact on young people of many of the measures taken to control the spread of coronavirus. This article explores the potential impact on education, health and poverty levels, and what the Government are doing to mitigate these concerns. It has been prepared in advance of a House of Lords debate scheduled for 17 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    United Nations Peacebuilding Fund

    The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund is a financial instrument used by the United Nations (UN) to intervene or sustain peace in areas either in or at risk of conflict. This article details the financial support given by the UK Government to the fund and to other peacebuilding organisations.

  • In Focus

    Hungry for Change: Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment Committee report

    In July 2020, the House of Lords Food, Poverty and the Environment Committee published its report: ‘Hungry for Change: Fixing the Failures in Food’. The committee found that the UK’s food system—the production, manufacture, retail and consumption of food—“is failing”. It made a series of recommendations built around the central aim of ensuring that everyone, regardless of income, has access to a healthy and sustainable diet.

  • In Focus

    Finance Bill

    The Finance Bill is a government bill intended to give lasting statutory effect to the tax measures announced in the March 2021 budget. The bill underwent a series of changes in its passage through the House of Commons. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee criticised a draft of the bill in some specific areas. The Government accepted some of the committee’s recommendations but rejected others.

  • In Focus

    Motions on recent changes to planning rules

    The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021 introduces several changes to the local planning framework. It makes it easier to convert a wider range of commercial buildings to residential use; allows further development of schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons and ports; and implements a ‘retain and explain’ policy for certain statues, memorials and monuments. The House of Lords is set to debate motions to reject or ‘regret’ the changes.

  • In Focus

    Arts education in secondary schools

    Recent Department of Education statistics show reductions in the number of hours spent teaching some arts subjects in secondary schools. The situation has worsened with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with much arts teaching reduced or stopped during lockdown. The 2019 Conservative manifesto included commitments to an “arts premium” for the funding of the arts, music and sports. The Government recently reiterated its commitment to arts subjects, saying they are “vital parts of children and young people’s education”.

  • In Focus

    New powers for HMRC

    The Government has proposed new powers for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to address tax avoidance, enhance information gathering, and improve tax compliance. These measures were the subject of a report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill subcommittee, which found that some of these powers were both disproportionate and poorly targeted.

  • In Focus

    Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL]

    The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL] would enshrine the recognition of the sentience of vertebrate animals in domestic law. It would also establish an animal sentience committee that would report on whether government policymaking considers that animals are sentient beings capable of feeling emotions and experiencing pain.