Summary page to Library Research Papers 2006

This page sets out the summaries to each of the Research Papers published by the House of Commons Library during 2006. A link from the end of the summary will take you to the complete research paper. 

A full list is available from the main Library Research Papers 2006 web page.

Unemployment by Constituency, November 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in November 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in November 2005 and November 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map. [ Link to Research Paper 06/65 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill [Bill 3 of 2006-07]
On 15 September 2005, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that national switchover to digital terrestrial television would be completed by 2012. The process would take place in stages, with individual ITV regions turning off their analogue broadcasts, beginning with the Border region in 2008. At the same time, the Secretary of State announced, in broad outline, a financial and practical support scheme to help the most vulnerable households migrate to digital television. The present Bill would facilitate identification of qualifying households by allowing government departments to share relevant information with those administering this “targeted assistance” scheme, notably the BBC. The Bill is due to have its second reading on 18 December. It is of UK extent. [ Link to Research Paper 06/64 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill [Bill 10 of 2006-07]
This paper discusses the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill which is due to be debated on second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday 13 December 2006. A key part of the normalisation programme in Northern Ireland, following the paramilitary ceasefires and subsequent improvements in the security situation, is the expiry by July 2007 of counter-terrorist legislation specific to Northern Ireland, currently set out in Part 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Part 7 includes provisions currently enabling non-jury “Diplock courts” to try “scheduled offences”. The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill contains measures designed to re-introduce a presumption in favour of jury trial for offences triable on indictment, subject to a fall-back arrangement for a small number of exceptional cases for which the Director of Public Prosecutions will be able to issue a certificate stating that a trial is to take place without a jury. Amongst other things the Bill also seeks to reform the jury system in Northern Ireland, extend the powers of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, provide additional statutory powers for the police and armed forces and create a permanent regulatory framework for the private security industry in Northern Ireland. [ Link to Research Paper 06/63 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Offender Management Bill [Bill 9 of 2006-07]
This Bill was published on 22 November 2006, and is due for its second reading on 11 December 2006. It would allow for probation boards to be replaced with trusts, with the Secretary of State commissioning services from a range of providers, including in the private and voluntary sector. There has been considerable controversy about this; organisations representing the Probation Service oppose the changes, although there has been support from some private and voluntary sector organisations. The Bill would also make changes to the powers of officers in contracted out prisons, bringing them more into line with those in the public sector. It also introduces changes to tighten up prison security. [ Link to Research Paper 06/62 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Greater London Authority Bill Parts 7 and 8 - Planning and Environmental Functions [Bill 11 of 2006-07]
The Greater London Authority Bill would enable the Mayor of London to take over strategic planning applications from the London boroughs to determine them himself, instead of only being able to direct the boroughs to refuse applications, as is currently the case. The Mayor's powers over waste are also increased, but the Bill does not provide for a Londonwide waste authority answerable to the Mayor. The GLA will have a new duty to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change and help London adapt to its unavoidable impacts. The Bill will also place a duty on the Mayor to produce a statutory Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy for London together with a statutory Climate Change Adaptation Strategy setting out how the capital should adapt to the effects of climate change. [ Link to Research Paper 06/61 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Greater London Authority Bill [Bill 11 of 2006-07]
This Bill is designed to give legislative effect to the Policy Statement issued by the Government on 13 July 2006 in relation to the Greater London Authority. Following a manifesto commitment in 2005 to review the powers of the London Mayor and Assembly, proposals were published to increase the Mayor's strategic role in relation to housing, health, planning, culture, climate change, waste, and the environment. The environmental issues, including planning, are dealt with in a separate Library Research Paper 06/61 Greater London Authority Bill - Planning and Environmental Functions The powers of the Mayor to make appointments to London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority are widened and he is given a new power to issue directions. A new system of severance payments is introduced for the Mayor and Assembly Members on ceasing to hold office. The Bill will also enhance the powers of the Assembly, allowing it to set its own budget on a two thirds majority and to hold confirmation hearings with candidates for key appointments to be made by the Mayor. The Mayor will be subject to an explicit duty to have regard to responses to his strategies from the Assembly and the associated functional bodies (Transport for London, Metropolitan Police, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and London Development Agency.) The Mayor and Assembly will jointly appoint the Authority's Head of Paid Service, Monitoring Officer and Chief Finance Officer, and responsibility for staff appointments will pass to the Head of Paid Service. [ Link to Research Paper 06/60 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, December 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: Background to the 2006 Pre-Budget Report [ Link to Research Paper 06/59 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Investment Exchanges & Clearing Houses Bill [Bill 4 2006-07]
This Bill gives the Financial Services Authority, the chief financial regulator, in the UK an overarching power to prevent recognised investment exchanges and clearing houses from introducing new, additional, regulatory procedures because of a takeover by an overseas body subject to its own domestic legislation. [ Link to Research Paper 06/58 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Fraud (Trials witohut a Jury) Bill 2006-07 [Bill 6 of 2006-07]
This paper discusses the Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill 2006-07 which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 16 November 2006. The Bill is intended to enable the Government to implement section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which would controversially allow cases involving serious and complex fraud to be tried by a judge acting alone without a jury in certain circumstances. At present this provision requires the approval of both Houses of Parliament before it can be brought into force. The Bill seeks to remove this requirement and amend section 43 to require an application for a nonjury trial and any trial resulting from such an application to be heard by a High Court judge. The Bill extends to England and Wales and Northern Ireland. [ Link to Research Paper 06/57 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill 2006-07 [Bill 7 of 2006-07]
This Bill represents a further attempt to create the conditions necessary to restore devolution to Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended since October 2002, and the Northern Ireland Act 2006 gave the Secretary of State powers to dissolve it if a First and Deputy First Minister were not elected by 25 November 2006. On 13 October 2006 the British and Irish Governments published the St Andrews Agreement, which set out a series of adjustments to the Belfast Agreement 1998, as well as other proposals. This Bill gives legislative effect to those elements of the St Andrews Agreement that require primary legislation, in relation to the operation of the institutions of the Belfast Agreement, providing for a statutory Ministerial Code, amendments to the pledge of office and changes to the procedure for appointing First and Deputy First Ministers. There is a new target date for restoration of devolution of 26 March 2007. The Bill requires a restored Executive to develop strategies relating to the Irish and Ulster Scots languages and to poverty and social exclusion, as well as to report to the Secretary of State a year after restoration on progress towards the devolution of policing and justice matters. The Commons is due to debate all stages on Tuesday 21 November, with royal assent planned for 23 November 2006. [ Link to Research Paper 06/56 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, October 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in October 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in October 2005 and October 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map. [ Link to Research Paper 06/55 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Democracy and the Middle East: Egypt, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia
At the turn of the 21st century the United States attempted to reverse its longstanding policy towards the Middle East of working with undemocratic and often autocratic governments with 'deficits' in the areas of elections, freedom of speech and human rights. George W Bush reiterated the new approach in his 2006 State of the Union address, when he linked the security of the US with to reform in the region. This Paper examines the emergence of the project and looks at the three elections singled out by President Bush - in Egypt, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia. [ Link to Research Paper 06/54 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent
The UK's strategic nuclear deterrent will reach the end of its service life in approximately 2024. In summer 2006 the Government announced that a White Paper on the future of the British nuclear deterrent would be published before the end of the year and that the issue would be debated and put to a vote in Parliament. This paper sets out a number of issues that may inform that debate, including assessments of the future security environment; the UK's international treaty obligations; the potential cost of procuring a successor system; and the implications of dispensing with the deterrent. It also examines public opinion and the options available to the Government. [ Link to Research Paper 06/53 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, November 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: The UK and Foreign Direct Investment[ Link to Research Paper 06/52 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The African Great Lakes Region: An End to Conflict?
Since the early 1990s the African Great Lakes region - defined here as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania - has been convulsed by genocide, civil wars, inter-state conflict and flawed democratic transitions. With UN-sponsored peace processes underway in DRC and Burundi and projects of state and societal reconstruction apparently advancing in Rwanda and Uganda, there are hopes that the epoch of violence and exploitation in the African Great Lakes region is finally drawing to an end. This Research Paper offers an assessment of how well founded these hopes are. The next step on the road to regional peace and stability is the second round of the presidential election in the DRC, which takes place on 29 October 2006. Much rests on a peaceful and legitimate outcome.[ Link to Research Paper 06/51 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, September 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in September 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in September 2005 and September 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/50 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. Regular updates of individual pages, together with spreadsheets containing data, are available to Members and staff on the parliamentary intranet. This edition includes: Articles: - Migration from Central and Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom; Road accidents: Contributory factors and under-reporting, and Topical subject page: - MPs' pay.[ Link to Research Paper 06/49 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Gibraltar: diplomatic and constitutional developments
This paper considers the outcome of the Trilateral Dialogue between the British, Spanish and Gibraltar Governments, which ended in C³rdoba in September 2006 with agreements on a range of issues that had obstructed relations between the three parties. It discusses the constitutional reform process that began in 2001 and the constitutional amendments agreed by the UK and Gibraltar in March 2006. Gibraltar's pursuit of United Nations recognition of a right to self-determination is also considered. The paper also outlines the main points of the European Court of Justice ruling which rejected Spain's complaint about the UK granting European Parliament electoral rights to residents of Gibraltar.[ Link to Research Paper 06/48 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Parliamentary Pay and Allowances
This paper summarises the current levels of pay and allowances of Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords and Ministers in both Houses. It provides some background on the formulae used to set levels of pay and allowances. It reports on the work of the Senior Salaries Review Body and the Members Estimate Committee. It also outlines the background to the publication of the allowances claimed by individual Members under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Members seeking advice and information on the calculation of, or arrangements relating to, their salaries or allowances should contact the Operations Directorate, Department of Finance and Administration or refer to the handbook, Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions (the "Green Book").[ Link to Research Paper 06/47 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill [Bill 220 of 2005-06]
This paper discusses the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill 2005-06 which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 20 July 2006 and is due to be debated on its second reading on 10 October 2006. The Bill seeks to create a new statutory offence of corporate manslaughter which will replace the common law offence of manslaughter by gross negligence where corporations are concerned. In Scotland the new offence will be called corporate homicide. An organisation will have committed the new offence if it owes a duty of care to another person in certain circumstances and there is a management failure by its senior managers which amounts to a gross breach of that duty has resulted in a person's death. The offence will be punishable by an unlimited fine and the courts will be able to make remedial orders requiring organisations to take steps to remedy the management failure concerned. The new offence will not create any individual liability. Crown immunity will not apply to the offence, although a number of public bodies and functions will be exempt from it.[ Link to Research Paper 06/46 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, October 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: National Minimum Wage statistics[ Link to Research Paper 06/45 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Judicial Review: a short guide to claims in the Administrative Court
This paper examines judicial review, a High Court Procedure for challenging administrative actions. Judicial review is a legal procedure, allowing individuals or groups to challenge in court the way that Ministers, Government Departments and other public bodies make decisions. The paper seeks to explain how claimants bring applications for judicial review and also discusses the procedures for lodging and defending a claim. It considers the statistical trends in the Administrative Court and assesses some of the conflicts that have been identified between the executive and the judiciary following claims for judicial review, particularly in the field of Home Affairs. It also provides some brief information about the application of the Human Rights Act by the Administrative Court and some consideration of the proposals contained in the Draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill[ Link to Research Paper 06/44 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The WTO Doha Development Round: where next for world trade
The World Trade Organisation launched a new round of trade talks at Doha, Qatar in November 2001. The new 'Doha Round' was billed as a development round which would focus on the needs of developing countries. Initially intended to be completed by the end of 2004, the talks have been progressed slowly, stricken by disagreements, in particular over agriculture. Earlier this year there were repeated attempts to reach a broad agreement that would allow the Round to be completed by mid-2007. This paper summarises: the Round's launch and progress in almost five years of negotiations; prospects for resumption; and possible consequences of long-term suspension - or collapse - of the Round. Appendices give an outline of key issues in main areas, and signposts to further useful resources.[ Link to Research Paper 06/43 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, August 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in August 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in August 2005 and August 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/42 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Affordable housing in England
After Kate Barker published her final report in 2004, Review of Housing Supply: Delivering Stability: Securing our Future Housing Needs, the Government committed itself to achieving a 'step-change' in housing supply. This paper considers the key factors influencing the supply of 'sub-market' affordable housing in England, i.e. housing provided with public subsidy that is rented out at lower than market rents, or sold under a lowcost home ownership scheme. The paper also explains how the Government is seeking to improve the affordability of housing sold on the open market.[ Link to Research Paper 06/41 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, July 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in July 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in July 2005 and July 1997. This paper also presents residencebased unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/40 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Welfare Reform Bill [Bill 208 of 2005-06]
The Welfare Reform Bill was presented on 4 July 2006 and the Second Reading debate is scheduled for 24 July. The Bill makes provision for a new benefit - the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - to replace incapacity benefits from 2008. Part 2 will facilitate the national roll-out of a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) for private tenants; the LHA has been piloted in several authorities since 2003. Other measures will allow a pilot scheme to be established under which Housing Benefit sanctions will apply to people evicted for anti-social behaviour who refuse to engage in a rehabilitation programme. Further provisions in the Bill relate to the administration of social security, including measures to enable the sharing of social security information between the Department for Work and Pensions and local authorities, new powers for local authorities to investigate and prosecute fraud involving national benefits, and an extension of the 'two strikes and you're out' rules under which benefits can be withdrawn from people convicted of repeat benefit fraud. There are also minor amendments to legislation concerning bereavement benefits, Disability Living Allowance, the Social Fund, Vaccine Damage Payments and compensation for pneumoconiosis and related conditions.[ Link to Research Paper 06/39 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, June 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in June 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in June 2005 and June 1997. This paper also presents residencebased unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/38 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, July 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: The Doha WTO Trade Round: July 2006[ Link to Research Paper 06/37 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

A Political and Economic Introduction to China
China's political and economic rise and what it means for the world is now a central preoccupation of analysts and policy-makers. Public awareness of China is likely to increase as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing draw near. This Research Paper is intended to act as a resource that Members of Parliament and their staff can draw upon when engaging with China's remarkable transformation. Part I provides key facts and figures about China. Parts II and III review recent developments and future prospects by addressing four key questions. Is political authoritarianism sustainable? Can China's development be peaceful? What are the main domestic economic challenges facing China? What is China's impact on the world economy? Part IV summarises key aspects of UK and EU relations with China. The Paper ends with a select bibliography of key sources.[ Link to Research Paper 06/36 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [HL] [Bill 194 of 2005-06]
The Bill, which is due to be debated on second reading on 19 June 2006, aims to establish an Independent Barring Board (IBB) that will be responsible, with the support of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), for maintaining two lists of individuals barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. The Bill also seeks to create a new Vetting and Barring Scheme under which individuals who wish to engage in certain types of activity with children or vulnerable adults will have to apply to be subject to monitoring by the Secretary of State. There will no longer be any ministerial role in deciding whether particular individuals should be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. Inclusion on the new lists will take place on a case-bycase basis with provision for automatic inclusion in respect of individuals who have been convicted of certain offences to be specified in regulations. The Bill extends to England and Wales. Other than provisions for the supply of information from the IBB and the Secretary of State to professional bodies, it does not extend to Scotland. Some provisions apply directly to Northern Ireland with the remainder to be implemented through an Order in Council.[ Link to Research Paper 06/35 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, May 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in May 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in May 2005 and May 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/34 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill [Bill 132 of 2005-06]
The Bill proposes the establishment of a Welsh Commissioner for Older People. This would be the first office of its type in the UK. The Bill is an evolution of a draft Bill, which had its origins in a policy consultation conducted by the Welsh Assembly Government. The Commissioner will be able to take action in respect to devolved matters, although they will also be able to consider and make representation to the Welsh Assembly about any matter relating to the interests of older people (i.e. who are aged 60 or over). The Commissioner will also have powers of investigation, including power of entry and interview. [ Link to Research Paper 06/33 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

European Security and Defence Policy: Developments Since 2003
Since the Nice European Council in December 2000 significant progress has been made in furthering the defence capabilities of the EU. Institutional planning structures have been established and a number of measures introduced to promote the development of military and civilian crisis management assets, including the creation of the European Defence Agency. More recently the European Commission has also introduced measures to facilitate harmonisation of the defence market in Europe. This paper examines these developments and looks at the prospect for taking European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) proposals forward outside the framework of the EU Constitution. [ Link to Research Paper 06/32 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Fraud Bill [HL] [Bill 166 of 2005-06]
This paper discusses the provisions of the Fraud Bill [HL] which has completed its passage through the House of Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 29 March 2006. The Bill is designed to implement the Government's proposals for reform of the criminal law relating to fraud in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The proposals are based on the recommendations of a 2002 Law Commission report on Fraud and the results of a parallel consultation in Northern Ireland. The Government has decided not to implement the Commission's recommendation that the common law crime of conspiracy to defraud be abolished, at least for the time being. The Bill seeks to replace the current statutory offences involving fraud with a general offence of fraud, which may be committed in three ways. It also creates a number of new offences. [ Link to Research Paper 06/31 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Company Law Reform Bill [HL] [Bill 190 of 2005-06]
The bill covers a very wide range of company law issues. It started in the Lords, where there have been over 1,400 amendments in Committee and nearly 500 on Report. It is not a consolidation measure, although some statutes are repealed as a consequence.

This Paper describes the long consultation period up until the publication of the bill and outlines the main themes addressed by it. It includes a guide to commentaries on the bill produced by the Department, professional bodies and lobby groups. [ Link to Research Paper 06/30 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The NHS Redress Bill [HL] [Bill 137 of 2005-06]
The NHS Redress Bill, introduced in the House of Lords and due to have a Second Reading in the House of Commons on 5 June 2006, is intended to reform the way lower value clinical negligence cases are handled in the NHS to provide redress, including investigations, explanations, apologies and financial redress where appropriate without the need to go to court. The Bill applies to England except for clause 17 which provides for a framework power for the Welsh Assembly.[ Link to Research Paper 06/29 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Compensation Bill [Bill 155 of 2005-06]
This paper discusses the provisions of the Compensation Bill [HL] which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 27 March 2006. The Bill is one of a number of initiatives being pursued by the Government in its stated determination to prevent a compensation culture from developing, to tackle perceptions that could lead to a disproportionate fear of litigation and to risk-averse behaviour, to discourage and resist bad claims and to improve the system for those with a valid claim for compensation.[ Link to Research Paper 06/28 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, April 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in April 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in April 2005 and April 1997. This paper also presents residencebased unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom.[ Link to Research Paper 06/27 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Local elections 2006
This paper summarises the results of the local elections held in England on 4 May 2006. Elections were held in 176 local authorities. All seats were contested on the 32 London borough councils. One-third of seats were contested in 36 metropolitan boroughs, 20 unitary authorities and 81 shire district councils. Half the council was elected in a further seven shire districts.[ Link to Research Paper 06/26 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, May 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: Appointments to the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England [ Link to Research Paper 06/25 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. Regular updates of individual pages, together with spreadsheets containing data, are available to Members and staff on the parliamentary intranet. This edition includes article: Statistics for parliamentary constituencies[ Link to Research Paper 06/24 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Northern Ireland Bill [Bill 169 of 2005-06]
This Bill is due to have its second reading in the Commons on Wednesday 26 April, followed by remaining stages on 27 April. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, announced on 18 April 2006 that he would bring forward emergency legislation to the Commons. The Bill requires the Northern Ireland Assembly to be recalled on 15 May 2006 with the express purpose of electing an Executive, resulting in the devolution of power through the repeal of the Northern Ireland Act 2000. If no agreement is reached by Assembly Members by 25 November 2006, then the Assembly will no longer meet and will be dissolved on or before 3 May 2007. No further elections will be held until the Secretary of State appoints a date by order.If the Assembly is successful in selecting an Executive, then Assembly elections due in May 2007 will be postponed for a further year to allow the bedding in of the new devolved institutions.[ Link to Research Paper 06/23 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Direct taxes: rates and allowances 2006-07
This paper sets out the main changes to direct tax rates and allowances announced in the Budget of 22 March 2006. It lists the principal personal allowances which will be available against income tax in the tax year 2006 -07, and it outlines the conditions necessary for eligibility for these allowances.[ Link to Research Paper 06/22 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, March 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in March 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in March 2005 and March 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/21 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Commons Bill [HL] [Bill 155 of 2005-06]
The Commons Bill [HL] would change the system for registering common land and town or village greens in England and Wales from that set out by the Commons Registration Act 1965. It would provide new powers to enable the establishment of commons management associations. These associations would have powers to control agricultural practices and the exercising of certain rights on common land. The Bill also provides greater protection against unauthorised works and agriculture practices on common land and town or village greens and clarifies the regulations that protect unclaimed common land.[ Link to Research Paper 06/20 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Housing Corporation (Delegation) etc Bill [Bill 164 of 2005-06]
This Bill, which was presented on 30 March 2006, will correct a gap in the constitution of the Housing Corporation, the regulatory and funding body of registered social landlords (RSLs) in England. The Corporation has been delegating the exercise of its statutory functions below board level without having the power to do so. The Bill will also clarify the legal position with regard to the exercise of the Corporation's past functions and those of Housing for Wales, the regulatory and funding body of RSLs in Wales between 1988 and 1999. The Bill's provisions extend to England, Wales and Scotland.[ Link to Research Paper 06/19 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Charities Bill [HL] [Bill 83 of 2005-06]
This paper discusses the provisions of the Charities Bill [HL] which had its first reading in the House of Commons on 9 November 2005. The Bill would reform charity law and the regulation of charities and would include for the first time a general statutory definition of 'charity' and 'charitable purpose'. All charities, including independent schools and private hospitals, would have to demonstrate public benefit in order to have charitable status. The Bill would also reform the Charity Commission and its regulation of charities, create a new Charity Tribunal and a new corporate legal form for charities, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation and introduce a new unified licensing scheme for public charitable collections.[ Link to Research Paper 06/18 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Palestinian Parliamentary Election and the rise of Hamas
The militant Islamist movement Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian parliamentary election of 25 January 2006 and is in the process of forming a government. This paper examines the background to the election and the various factors behind the Hamas victory, before considering the reaction to the result and the possible implications it may have.[ Link to Research Paper 06/17 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, February 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in February 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in February 2005 and February 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.[ Link to Research Paper 06/16 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Education and Inspections Bill [Bill 134 of 2005-06]
The Bill seeks to implement proposals in the white paper, Higher Standards, Better Schools for All. A key proposal in the white paper was the development of trust schools in conjunction with external partners. The Bill makes provision for this. In law such schools will be foundation schools. Other major provisions in the Bill relate to school organisation; the role of local authorities; school admissions; measures to tackle failing and underperforming schools; new specialised diplomas for 14 to 19 year olds; school discipline and the scope of parenting orders and parenting contracts; school travel arrangements; and nutritional standards for food and drink supplied on school premises. The Bill also provides for a new single inspectorate for children and learners, and empowers the Chief Inspector to investigate complaints from parents about schools. The Bill covers England primarily. Some of its provisions apply to England and Wales, some to England only and others to Wales only. Certain general provisions extend to the UK.[ Link to Research Paper 06/15 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill [Bill 131 of 2005-06]
The Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is due to receive its second reading on 13 March. It contains a series of provisions affecting Northern Ireland. It abolishes the annual canvass for electoral registration in Northern Ireland and places new duties on the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for Northern Ireland to ensure an accurate register. The Bill also changes the term of office of the CEO to a five year term, renewable once. The Bill gives the Secretary of State power to bring forward the date of the next Northern Ireland Assembly elections, due in May 2007, and change the rules governing the disclosure of political donations to parties in Northern Ireland. Part 5 of the Bill provides for the possible devolution of policing and justice functions to the Assembly and Executive, and creates the possibility of rotating ministers to take responsibility for these functions. There are miscellaneous amendments, including the extension of the last date for the amnesty period for arms decommissioning to February 2010, provisions in relation to a single wholesale electricity market in Northern Ireland and Ireland, and an extension of the investigatory powers in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 to Northern Ireland. Finally, the Bill amends current requirements on filling judicial vacancies.[ Link to Research Paper 06/14 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Road Safety Bill [Bill 113 of 2005-06]
The Road Safety Bill introduces a variety of road safety measures. It creates new offences of causing death by careless driving and when driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured. It provides for variable penalties for speeding, the possibility of variable fixed penalties for other offences, a ban on speed camera jammers and licence endorsement for those using mobile phones while driving. It extends driver retraining schemes and allows for pilot schemes to test the use of alcolocks and motorway rest areas. Other changes improve enforcement and rectify faults identified in legislation. The majority of the provisions extend to Great Britain. The exceptions are clause 1, which extends only to England and Wales and clause 47(2), which extends only to Northern Ireland. The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 11 January 2006 and will have its Second Reading on 8 March 2006. It has already passed all stages in the House of Lords. Many of the clauses are similar to those in the Road Safety Bill 2004-05 that was lost when the 2005 General Election was called.[ Link to Research Paper 06/13 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, March 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: Background to the 2006 Budget. [ Link to Research Paper 06/12 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Police and Justice Bill [Bill 119 of 2005-06]
The Police and Justice Bill was published on 25 January 2006 and is due to have its second reading on 6 March. The Bill contains police reform measures including: direction-making powers for the Home Secretary; powers to change the structure and functions of police authorities through regulations; a new National Policing Improvement Agency; and standard powers for Community Support Officers. There are also new police powers, including: gathering bulk data on air and ship journeys within the UK; adding conditions to police "street bail"; attaching punishments to conditional cautions; and wider stop and search powers at airports. There are also measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, including a new "community call for action", and new oversight provisions for Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships. The Bill would also merge five existing criminal justice inspectorates into one, and there are some changes to the law on computer misuse, child pornography and extradition. There has been a certain amount of controversy over some of the police measures, and, during consultation, over the new Justice, Community Safety and Custody Inspectorate.[ Link to Research Paper 06/11 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, January 2006
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in January 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in January 2005 and January 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom.[ Link to Research Paper 06/10 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Inflation: the value of the pound 1750-2005
The Library is often asked how the purchasing power of the pound has changed over various periods. This paper presents data back to 1750. Between 1750 and 2005, prices increased nearly 150-fold. Since 1914, prices have increased 77-fold. This paper updates RP03/82.[ Link to Research Paper 06/09 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace
Sudan is a 'failed state' that, as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South in January 2005, has been given an opportunity to re-invent itself. But the odds against it doing so successfully remain high while large parts of the country are still mired in conflict. Violence continues in the west of the country in Darfur and the situation is also tense in Eastern Sudan. This Research Paper describes the current situation in Sudan. It also surveys the challenges of reconstruction and reflects on some possible implications of Sudan for the emerging legal norm known as the 'Responsibility to Protect'.[ Link to Research Paper 06/08 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Children and Adoption Bill [Bill 96 of 2005-06]
The Bill focuses on two topics: improved facilitation and enforcement of contact orders, and changes to the operation of intercountry adoption procedures. n most cases involving children, informal contact arrangements suffice but in one in ten cases a contact order is sought from the courts to determine such arrangements. The Bill proposes that the courts have greater powers to encourage contact by giving them the power to make a relevant person participate in an activity that would promote contact with a child. It will also extend the range of enforcement actions that a court can take to include imposing an unpaid work requirement and compensation for a financial loss. n respect of intercountry adoption, the Bill proposes new powers for the Secretary of State to suspend intercountry adoptions from a particular country if he has concerns about the practices there in connection with the adoption of children. It will also introduce the power to charge administrative fees and new rules to prevent the circumvention of the intercountry adoption rules. The clauses relating to contact extend to England and Wales, and the clauses concerning intercountry adoption extend to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.[ Link to Research Paper 06/07 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill [Bill 111 of 2005-06]
The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill 2005-06 extends the scope of the powers available to Ministers to amend statute law by Order and at the same time relaxes the constraints of parliamentary scrutiny on the Order making process. The wide-ranging power in Part 1 of the Bill potentially allows ministers to amend, repeal or replace any legislation, although the Government has committed itself to not using the procedure to deliver "highly political measures". The Constitution Committee of the House of Lords has expressed its concern at the "unprecedentedly wide powers" the Bill seeks to confer on Ministers. The Bill will allow ministers to require regulators to adhere to a code of practice, based on principles that were enumerated in the Hampton Review, Reducing administrative burdens. It also seeks to simplify the process of updating technical European Union regulations. A "Sewel motion" was introduced in the Scottish Parliament to allow Westminster to introduce the latter simplification in Scotland.[ Link to Research Paper 06/06 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Economic Indicators, February 2006
This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators. The series also includes an article on a topical issue. This month's article: The 80% employment aspiration [ Link to Research Paper 06/05 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The Merchant Shipping (Pollution) Bill [Bill 68 of 2005-06]
The Merchant Shipping (Pollution) Bill [HL] will enable the UK to give effect to certain international agreements on pollution from shipping. Clause 1 will enable the implementation of the Supplementary Fund Protocol which will provide a second tier of compensation for those affected by oil pollution from ships. Clause 2 will enable the implementation of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) which introduces controls on the emission of certain air pollutants from ships and off-shore platforms. [ Link to Research Paper 06/04 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Unemployment by Constituency, December 2005
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in December 2005, together with comparisons with the levels in December 2004 and December 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map. [ Link to Research Paper 06/03 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. Regular updates of individual pages, together with spreadsheets containing data, are available to Members and staff on the parliamentary intranet.This edition includes articles (New Year resolutions - how do they figure?) and topical subject page (Excess Winter Mortality). [ Link to Research Paper 06/02 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]

The International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Bill [Bill 19 of 2005-06]
The International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Bill (Bill 19 of Session 2005-06) is sponsored by Tom Clarke MP, who came sixth in the ballot for Private Members' Bills. Second reading of the Bill is due on 20 January 2006. The Bill seeks to establish a requirement for the Government to lay an annual report before both Houses of Parliament on its international development assistance. Progress towards the target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas aid would be included in the report. [ Link to Research Paper 06/01 (PDF PDF 22 KB)]