Research briefings

This page provides access to research briefings produced by the Libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You can find research briefings by sorting by date, type, or one of 350 topics. Pick your options from the dropdown menus.

Find a briefing paper
  1. Close


    • Commons Library Research Papers: in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other major topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Commons Library Standard Notes: 3,000 briefings on topical issues or frequently asked questions.
    • Lords Library Notes: Written by the research section of the House of Lords Library to provide information on topics of current interest to members
    • POSTnotes: Short briefings produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology analysing policy issues that have a basis in science and technology.
    • POST Reports: Occasional major reports produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Displaying 1-20 out of 2610

  • Railways: passenger franchises Published 24 April 2014 | Standard notes SN01343 This is one of two notes on rail passenger franchising. This note sets out the terms of the various rail franchises in England and Wales and cross-border franchises with Scotland. It does not cover the ScotRail franchise in Scotland, which is devolved (see: SPICe briefing 08/38). A second note, SN6521, sets out in more detail how franchising works and the franchising policy of successive governments. Topic: Railways
  • UK Arms Export Control Policy Published 24 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02729 This note provides an overview of the development of the UK's legal and regulatory framework for arms exports since 1997. Controversy about UK arms exports to countries involved in the Arab Spring has led to changes in how the control regime operates in relation to exports that might be used for internal repression. UK ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty in April 2014 has required amendment of secondary legislation and an updating of the Consolidated Criteria, on which official decisions about whether to approve or refuse an export licence are based. Topic: Arms control, Human rights, International trade
  • Public Finances Published 24 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02812 Key data on public sector borrowing and debt. Public sector net borrowing totalled £107.7 billion in 2013/14, £7.5 billion lower than in 2012/13. Topic: Economic situation, Public expenditure
  • Defence Reform Bill: Lords Amendments Published 24 April 2014 | Standard notes SN06869 The Defence Reform Bill provides for the reform the way in which the Ministry of Defence procures equipment and support for the Armed Forces and, separately, extends the scope for the use of the Reserve Forces. The Government made several amendments to the Bill during its passage through the House of Lords and the consolidated Lords amendments to the Bill are available as Bill 197 2013-14. The Bill returns to the Commons on 29 April 2014. Topic: Armed forces, Defence equipment and procurement, Defence policy
  • Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 Published 24 April 2014 | Standard notes SN06378 This Act has strengthened the powers of social landlords to tackle tenants who sublet the whole of their dwellings for a profit. Topic: Housing, Social rented housing
  • Restricting pension tax relief Published 23 April 2014 | Standard notes SN05901 Looks at recent measures to restrict pension tax relief Topic: Pensions, Taxation
  • House of Commons : hours sat and late sittings since 1979 Published 23 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02226 House of Commons late sittings have been reduced by successive changes in the last 20 years. In 2012-13, just 27% of its sittings were after 10pm, compared to over 70% 20 years ago. Topic: House of Commons, Parliamentary procedure
  • Mobile Homes Act 2013 Published 23 April 2014 | Standard notes SN06438 This note provides background to, and explains the provisions in, the Mobile Homes Act 2013. Topic: Housing, Owner occupation
  • Standardised packaging of tobacco products Published 22 April 2014 | Standard notes SN06175 Amended 23 April 2014 This note gives an overview of the debate over standardised packaging. As such, it is not a comprehensive account of the different arguments used by those who support its use, and those who oppose it. Much more detail on these arguments is given in the Government’s summary report to its public consultation. Similarly, this note does not seek to evaluate the different views that have been expressed as to the impact that standardised packaging might have on public health, the incidence of smuggling, and the compliance costs to business. Topic: Consumers, Health education and preventive medicine, Smoking
  • Addresses to Members of both Houses of Parliament Published 22 April 2014 | Standard notes SN04092 Addresses to both Houses of Parliament Topic: Parliament
  • Average Earnings: Economic Indicators page Published 22 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02795 Average Earnings: Regularly updated data on average weekly earnings, including breakdowns by public and private sectors and manufacturing and service sectors. Topic: Economic situation, Pay
  • Financial Indicators Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN05207 Financial Indicators: Data from FTSE100, as well as oil prices and gold prices. Topic: Economic situation
  • Inflation Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02792 Inflation: Data on both the CPI and RPI inflation indices. Topic: Economic policy, Economic situation
  • Manufacturing: Economic Indicators page Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN05206 Manufacturing: Data on maufacturing jobs, output and producer confidence. Topic: Economic situation, Manufacturing industries
  • Service industries Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02786 Service industries: Data incorporating the retail sector, the financial sector, the public sector, business administration and cultural activities . Topic: Economic situation, Service industries
  • Gross Domestic Product: Economic Indicators page Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02783 UK Gross Domestic Product: Regularly updated data on growth and forecasts. Topic: Economic situation
  • Inflation: International Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02794 Inflation: International: Harmonised Index of Comsumer Prices data on international inflation rates. Topic: Economic policy, Economic situation, World economy
  • Unemployment: Regional Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN02798 Unemployment: Regional: Regional data on International Labour Organisation unemployment, the headline measure of unemployment. Topic: Unemployment
  • Roads: maintenance, repairs and street works Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN00739 This note describes the framework in which local authorities and the Highways Agency in England and Wales maintain and repair the road network. It also sets out the powers of utility companies and others to undertake street works and the powers available to highway authorities to manage and mitigate those works. It does not deal with winter maintenance, which is covered separately in SN2874. Topic: Roads
  • Whistleblowing to MPs Published 17 April 2014 | Standard notes SN06868 Public interest disclosure law now protects whistleblowers that disclose information to Members of Parliament, provided certain conditions are satisfied. Topic: Employment, Members of Parliament

Related information

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

If you have any comments on briefings from the Commons Library, please contact

Please note, authors are not available to discuss the contents of papers with members of the general public. 

TwitterFollow House of Commons Library on Twitter

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.

Email with comments on Lords Library Notes.

Please note that authors are not available to discuss the contents of Library Notes with members of the general public.

POST produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology. You can leave feedback at