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.

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    • 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 101-120 out of 5613

  • Prime Minister's Questions Published 09 February 2015 | Standard notes SN05183 This note outlines the procedures for the tabling of questions for and answering of questions at Prime Minister's Question Time. It also reviews the history of the Prime Minister facing questions in the Chamber of the House of Commons, the changes to Prime Minister's Questions, and the current situation. The Topic: House of Commons, Parliament, Parliamentary procedure
  • The Governance and Administration of the House of Lords Published 09 February 2015 | Library notes LLN 2015/004 This Note sets out how the House of Lords is structured, governed and managed, including joint working with the House of Commons. Topic: House of Lords
  • Transport: Scotland Published 09 February 2015 | Standard notes SN03192 This note gives an overview of those transport areas that are reserved to the UK Parliament; those which are devolved to Scotland and proposals in the Smith Commission and subsequent draft legislation to devolve further powers. Topic: Aviation, Buses, Railways, Roads, Shipping
  • Trade Published 06 February 2015 | Standard notes SN02815 Trade: Trade statistics on the current account for the UK . Topic: Economic situation, International trade
  • Devolution of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament: recent developments Published 06 February 2015 | Standard notes SN07077 This note discusses the proposals made by the Smith Commission - in its report published in November 2014 - for further devolution of power to the Scottish Government, in relation to taxation, funding and borrowing. Topic: Devolution, Scottish Parliament, Taxation
  • Tax avoidance : a General Anti-Abuse Rule Published 06 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06265 UK tax law is specifically targeted rather than purposive: in tackling the exploitation of loopholes in the law, governments have legislated against individual avoidance schemes as and when these have come to light. This note looks at the case that has been made recently for a general anti-avoidance rule, the Goverment's introduction of a 'narrower' General Anti-Abuse Rule in 2013, and subsequent initiatives to tackle aggressive tax avoidance. Topic: Taxation
  • Assets of community value Published 06 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06366 This note briefly discusses the 'community right to bid' for ‘assets of community value’, introduced by the Localism Act 2011. Councils must maintain a list of ‘community assets’, nominated by community groups. If the asset is sold, the group will be given time to come up with a bid. The note discusses the workings of the scheme and related options with regard to community land and buildings. Topic: Local government, Planning
  • The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Published 06 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06278 The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be the new multirole fast jet for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. It will serve as the strike capability for the new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier and will partner the Typhoon to form the future fast jet fleet for the RAF. There are three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter. The Government attracted criticism for its decision in 2010 to select a different variant to that originally chosen by the previous Government, and again for reverting back to the original choice two years later. Topic: Defence equipment and procurement
  • Further devolution of powers to Scotland: Universal Credit housing element and payment arrangements Published 06 February 2015 | Standard notes SN07095 This note explains the Smith Commission’s proposals and the Draft Scotland Clauses in relation to Universal Credit (UC), including the housing costs element (currently Housing Benefit). As it stands, UC will remain a reserved benefit but the Scottish Parliament would be given the power to vary the housing costs element of UC, and powers to vary the manner and frequency of UC payments. Topic: Benefits administration, Benefits policy, Devolution, Housing benefits, Scottish Parliament, Working age benefits
  • Shale gas and fracking Published 05 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06073 The regulatory regime for fracking in the UK is covered in this note along with comment on environmental concerns. It also covers the new access provisions and debate on fracking in during the Infrastructure Bill’s passage through Parliament. Topic: Energy, Environmental protection, Oil, petrol and natural gas, Planning
  • Communications Data: The 2012 draft Bill and recent developments Published 05 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06373 The draft Communications Data Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech in 2012 and published on 14 June 2012. The Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny and some aspects of the Government’s proposals were criticised. The Bill, frequently referred to by critics as a “snooper’s charter”, was not taken forward in the 2012-13 session. New Government proposals on cybercrime were foreshadowed in the 2013 Queen’s Speech, but these appeared more limited than the plans set out in the draft Bill. Topic: Human rights, Intelligence services, Privacy
  • Bankruptcy Published 05 February 2015 | Standard notes SN07097 This note provides a brief outline of bankruptcy procedures. It should be emphasised, however, that anyone made bankrupt (or considering bankruptcy) should seek proper legal advice based on a full appraisal of the facts of their case. Topic: Insolvency
  • Fixed odds betting terminals Published 05 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06946 Amended 27 February 2015 Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are electronic machines, sited in betting shops, which contain a variety of games, including roulette. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games. The maximum stake on a single bet is £100, the maximum prize is £500. Critics of the machines claim that they have a causal role in problem gambling. Topic: Gambling
  • Poverty in the UK: statistics Published 04 February 2015 | Standard notes SN07096 This note sets out information on the levels and rates of poverty in the UK, including historical trends and forecasts for future years. Topic: Incomes and poverty
  • Planning Reform Proposals Published 04 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06418 Planning reform proposals to change planning law and policy have been set out by Government in a technical consultation on planning, the National Infrastructure Plan and Autumn Statement. These include changes to permitted development rights, proposals to get more brownfield land back into use and reform of the compulsory purchase regime, among others. Topic: Housing, Housing supply, Planning, Regional planning and development
  • General Practice in England Published 04 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06906 This briefing note provides general background for Members and their staff on NHS primary medical services provided by general practitioners (GPs) in England. Topic: Health finance, Health services, Health staff and professions
  • Debt relief orders Published 03 February 2015 | Standard notes SN04982 This note outlines the background to the introduction of Debt Relief Orders and the main features of the new orders with particular emphasis on the eligibility criteria. Topic: Insolvency
  • Economic Indicators, February 2015 Published 03 February 2015 | Research papers RP15/6 This paper features analysis of the latest UK and international economic indicators. Topic: Economic policy, Economic situation
  • Accommodation and financial support for asylum seekers Published 03 February 2015 | Standard notes SN01909 Asylum seekers are not eligible for mainstream welfare benefits whilst waiting for a decision on their asylum application. Instead, if they are destitute, they can apply to UK Visas and Immigration for accommodation and/or financial support (‘asylum support’). Asylum support rates have not changed since April 2011. Topic: Asylum
  • Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill (HL Bill 87 of 2014–15) Published 03 February 2015 | Library notes LLN 2015/002 The Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill would introduce time limited provisions to enable female diocesan bishops to be fast-tracked into the House of Lords as members of the Lords Spiritual. This Library Note provides a brief summary of the process by which English diocesan bishops are appointed to the House of Lords. It then discusses the provisions of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill and the Bill’s House of Commons Stages. Topic: Church and state, House of Lords

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