• In Focus

    Climate change targets: the road to net zero?

    In 2019 the Government amended the Climate Change Act to commit the UK to achieving net zero by 2050, compared to the previous target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. The Government has introduced some policy initiatives to meet net zero, but the Climate Change Committee has said the UK is currently not on track to meet its carbon budget targets in 2025 and 2030.

  • In Focus

    Public engagement with the Government’s net zero target

    The Government passed legislation in 2019 legislating for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Commentators and the Government have highlighted the need for public engagement to help achieve the target. This article looks at what has been said about the issue and what the public’s attitude and awareness is.

  • In Focus

    Neurological conditions and Covid-19

    Health and care services for those with neurological conditions have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with many of these patients also facing an increased risk from the virus. This briefing examines the diverse nature of these conditions and how the NHS has sought to adjust to the challenges caused by Covid-19.

  • In Focus

    Ethnicity and child poverty

    Recent research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has suggested that poverty can have a serious impact on a child’s life chances, and that this burden is felt disproportionately by those from certain ethnic groups. This article examines those findings, as well as recent campaigns to tackle the related issue of child food poverty.

  • In Focus

    Public service broadcasting: Communications and Digital Committee report

    The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee published its report on the future of public service broadcasting (PSB) in November 2019. The committee concluded that PSB was important to UK media, but made a range of recommendations in light of increased competition from streaming services. Recently, Ofcom has completed a five-year review into PSB. The Government has also launched its own strategic review into PSB.

  • In Focus

    To sign or not to sign? Sign language in law, parliament and Covid-19 briefings

    Following Deaf Awareness Week this month, this article looks at British sign language and a campaign for the Government to provide an on-set BSL interpreter at the live televised Covid-19 briefings. It also looks at the introduction of BSL interpretation to certain parliamentary proceedings, most notably for prime minister’s questions.

  • In Focus

    Meeting the demand for nurses: looking abroad?

    The UK has significant unmet demand for nurses. This country has a history of recruiting nurses from overseas, and the Government aims to encourage more nurses trained abroad to come to work in the UK. However, the Government also takes into account ethical considerations relating to the recruitment of nurses from countries which themselves have a shortage of healthcare staff.

  • In Focus

    Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine: where are we now?

    Around one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered around the world. In the UK, more than 35 million people have received at least one dose. The vaccine developed at the University of Oxford, in partnership with AstraZeneca, is one of the major vaccines currently in circulation. This article covers the debate over supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe, as well as the rare blood clotting side-effect reported after a small number of first doses.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: international trade

    Ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021, this In Focus sets out some of the Government’s current trade priorities and summarises policy issues that may be expected to develop over the next parliamentary session. This includes current trade negotiations, parliamentary scrutiny of agreements and the potential need for implementing legislation.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: agriculture and animal welfare

    The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto included a commitment to reform UK agriculture and improve animal welfare. During the 2017–19 session, the Government passed the Agriculture Act 2020 and supported a private member’s bill extending sentences for animal cruelty. The Government has said it will introduce legislation banning the live export of animals in the new session. It has also said it will introduce legislation on the recognition of animal sentience when parliamentary time allows.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: transport

    This In Focus has been prepared in advance of the Queen’s Speech, taking place on 11 May 2021. It discusses previous government policy commitments on railways and airlines, in addition to other possible measures that may be introduced in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2021: health and social care

    The 2021 Queen’s Speech is expected to include several health and social care-related measures previously trailed at the start of the 2019–21 session. This article considers recent government announcements on how it plans to progress these in the new session. The Government is also making changes to the public health system in England.