Summary page to Library Research Papers 2007

Research Paper 07/094 Pensions Bill [Bill 25 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill includes a duty on employers to automatically enrol jobholders into and to contribute to a qualifying workplace pension scheme, the introduction of personal accounts (a "simple, low-cost pension saving scheme" aimed at moderate to low earners who currently have no access to a workplace pension) and the broadening of the remit of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority to oversee the establishment of such a scheme. The Bill is the second part of the package of reforms to the UK pensions system set out in the May 2006 Pensions White Paper. The first part of the reforms were taken forward by the Pensions Act 2007.

Research Paper 07/093 Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill: Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill includes measures on youth justice, sentencing, the release and recall of prisoners, criminal appeals, allowing non-legal staff to prosecute in magistrates' courts and restricting the compensation payable for miscarriages of justice. The Bill also covers aspects of pornography and prostitution, offences relating to nuclear material and facilities, data protection penalties, international cooperations in criminal matters, and more measures against anti-social behaviour.

Research Paper 07/092 Sale of Student Loans Bill: Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill contains provisions which will enable the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills to carry out a programme of sales of the Government's student loan portfolio. It will permit the Secretary of State to sell some or all of his rights and obligations relating to income-contingent repayment loans and to spend public money in connection with the sales. The Bill includes provisions to compensate a loan purchaser in specified circumstances and will enable data sharing between the Government and the loan purchaser, with measures to control the disclosure and use of this information.

Research Paper 07/091 The Barnett Formula (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Barnett formula is part of the mechanism used to determine the budgets of the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly. The disparities in public spending per head between the different parts of the UK have led to criticisms that the Barnett formula is unfair and for calls for it to be reviewed. This paper describes the origin of the Barnett formula and looks at some of the issues around its use. Data on public spending and tax revenue in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions are included.

Research Paper 07/090 Unemployment by constituency, November 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in November 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in November 2006 and November 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom.

Research Paper 07/089 Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill: Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This is a report on the Committee Stage of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill. The Bill received Second Reading on 20 November 2007 and its Committee stage on 4 December. Remaining stages will take place early in 2008. The aim of this Bill is to 'clarify the legislative and regulatory position' of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link ahead of a restructuring of London & Continental Railways, the company that built the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Research Paper 07/088 National Insurance Contributions Bill [Bill 7 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill would introduce new regulation-making powers to enable Ministers to make a series of changes to personal taxation, including aligning the upper earnings limit for National Insurance Contributions with the higher rate threshold (the point at which taxpayers start to pay the higher rate of income tax). The Bill would also introduce an upper accrual point (UAP) for the state second pension (S2P) from April 2009.

Research Paper 07/087 Education and Skills Bill [Bill 12 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Education and Skills Bill would raise the minimum age at which young people can leave education or training to 18. The Bill also provides for the transfer of the regulatory regime for independent schools in England from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to the Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills (the new Ofsted). There are miscellaneous provisions in relation to pupil behaviour, external qualifications, inspection of teacher training, and Schools Forums. The territorial extent of the Bill varies according to the scope of the different provisions.

Research Paper 07/086 The Treaty of Lisbon: amendments to the Treaty establishing the European Community (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The 'Lisbon Treaty', amending the present EC and EU Treaties, was concluded under the Portuguese European Union Presidency on 19 October 2007 by EU Member State governments meeting as an informal European Council. This reform came about as a result of the perceived need for institutional amendments to cope with successive EU enlargements. It aimed to resolve the constitutional reform process that had stalled since France and the Netherlands voted against the 'Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe' in 2005.

Research Paper 07/085 Crossrail Bill: Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Crossrail Bill was introduced in the House of Commons in February 2005. It was carried over into the new Parliament after the 2005 General Election and subsequently carried over again to the 2006-07 and 2007-08 sessions. This Bill seeks to secure the powers necessary to build Crossrail. Crossrail will consist of new rail tunnels running east-west through central London connecting directly with existing surface rail routes to Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will also connect the major London rail terminals of Paddington and Liverpool street with the Canary Wharf business district.

Research Paper 07/084 Planning Bill [Bill 11 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill would establish an Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to decide development consent for major infrastructure projects in England and Wales. This procedure would introduce a 'single-consent' regime for a wide range of infrastructure projects currently approved under separate pieces of legislation. It would replace the need for consent under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and other legislation, such as the Electricity Act 1989, for parts of the same project. The IPC decisions would be based upon statements of national policy issued by the Government. The Bill would also introduce a new procedure for planning appeals for minor applications like householder development.

Research Paper 07/083 Economic Indicators, December 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This monthly research paper summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators.This month's paper contains articles on the burden of taxation and household debt.

Research Paper 07/082 House of Lords - developments since January 2004 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper summarises recent developments in the House of Lords reform process. It gives a brief chronology of developments since September 2003 and outlines major events since January 2004, including the decision not to press ahead with a Bill to remove hereditary peers and to create a statutory appointments commission in Session 2003-04, the 2007 White Paper, 'House of Lords: Reform' and announcements on the Lords reform after the change in Prime Minister in June 2007.

Research Paper 07/081 Health and Social Care Bill [Bill 9 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This is a wide ranging Bill but has a particular focus on the regulation of organisations and individuals involved in health and adult social care services. Among the other measures included in the Bill are those designed to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and the risk of contamination and arrangements to make one off payments to all expectant mothers in the final stages of pregnancy. The territorial extent of the Bill varies according to the scope of the different provisions.

Research Paper 07/080 The EU Reform Treaty: amendments to the 'Treaty on European Union' (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The European Union Reform Treaty was concluded in Lisbon on 19 October 2007 by EU Member State governments meeting as an informal European Council. The reform came about as a result of the perceived need for institutional amendments to cope with successive EU enlargements. The revised Treaty on European Union contains provisions which apply intergovernmentally (by Member State governments acting together according to the principles of international law and largely without the involvement of the EU institutions). The provisions include articles on general principles, institutional arrangements, foreign, security and defence cooperation, and treaty ratification, amendment and withdrawal from the EU.

Research Paper 07/079 Housing and Regeneration Bill [Bill 8 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
A key aim of Part 1 of this Bill is to secure an increased supply of housing within sustainable communities by merging the housing investment and regeneration expertise of the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships in a new Homes and Communities Agency. Part 2 of the Bill will create a new regulator of social housing, the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords. Part 3 includes various measures including changes to the Right to Buy, tenant empowerment provisions, the introduction of sustainability certificates and provisions relating to local authorities' Housing Revenue Accounts.

Research Paper 07/078 Sale of Student Loans Bill [Bill 6 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Bill contains provisions which will enable the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills to carry out a programme of sales of the Government's student loan portfolio. It will permit the Secretary of State to sell some or all of his rights and obligations relating to income-contingent repayment loans and to spend public money in connection with the sales.

Research Paper 07/077 The European Communities (Finance) Bill [Bill 2 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill would give effect in UK law to the decisions on the financing of the EU Budget taken at the December 2005 European Council meeting. The Bill adds a new Own Resources Decisions (ORD) to the European Communities Act 1972. The new ORD does not change the overall ceiling of revenue available to the EU, but a change is made to the UK abatement mechanism.

Research Paper 07/076 Unemployment by constituency, October 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in October 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in October 2006 and October 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom.

Research Paper 07/075 Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Bill [Bill 4 of 2007-08] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The aim of this Bill is to 'clarify the legislative and regulatory position' of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) ahead of a restructuring of London & Continental Railways. The Bill confirms that the Secretary of State is empowered to fund the CTRL and the trains that run on it. The Bill would also amend the original 1996 Act as regards access agreements, repeal certain duties of the Office of Rail Regulation, allow the ORR to charge a fee for the exercise of its regulatory functions in relation to CTRL and amend the definition of development agreement in the 1996 Act to include the word 'operation'.

Research Paper 07/074 Economic Indicators, November 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This monthly research paper summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators.This month's paper contains articles on overseas aid expenditure and inheritance tax statistics.

Research Paper 07/073 Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Bill covers two distinct areas: child support maintenance and the provision of lump sum payments in connection with mesothelioma. The child maintenance provisions are contained in Parts 1-3 and 5 of the Bill. They introduce changes to the child maintenance system which were proposed in the White Paper, 'A new system of child maintenance', published by the Department for Work and Pensions in December 2006. Part 4 of the Bill includes powers to introduce a new scheme providing up-front lump sum payments for people diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma and their dependants, to be funded through a compensation recovery mechanism.

Research Paper 07/072 The 'Governance of Britain' Green Paper (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper sets out proposals for constitutional reform made in the Government's July 2007 Green Paper, The Governance of Britain. The proposals are intended to shift power from the executive to Parliament and the public, make the executive more accountable, and reinvigorate democracy. The Green Paper also emphasised the need to involve the public in constitutional change. This paper gives context to these proposals and initial responses to them. It also looks at the mechanisms by which the Green Paper, dubbed as "the first step in a national conversation", will involve Parliament and the public in further reform.

Research Paper 07/071 Unemployment by constituency, September 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in September 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in September 2006 and September 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom.

Research Paper 07/070 Social Indicators (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population.

Research Paper 07/069 Economic Indicators, October 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries for selected indicators.

Research Paper 07/068 Pakistan's political and security challenges (PDF PDF 22 KB)
2007 marks the 60th anniversary of Pakistan's independence. By contrast with the identical anniversary of neighbouring India, the international response has been muted. This reflects the relative uncertainty that many observers feel about Pakistan's future prospects. Pakistan has had a central role as an incubator of militant Islam since the 1980s. Equally, despite the fact that there have been several periods of civilian rule, democracy has failed to embed itself and the military has been a powerful player within Pakistan's polity and economy since independence. This paper reviews the threats and challenges facing Pakistan and discusses its current political crisis.

Research Paper 07/067 Unemployment by constituency, August 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in August 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in August 2006 and August 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. It includes unemployment rates by constituency maps.

Research Paper 07/066 Unemployment by constituency, July 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in July 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in July 2006 and July 1997. This paper also presents residencebased unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. It includes unemployment rates by constituency maps.

Research Paper 07/065 The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill [Bill 130 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill includes measures on youth justice, sentencing and the release and recalls of prisoners. Provisions on criminal appeals, allowing non-legal staff to prosecute in magistrates' courts and restricting compensation payable for miscarriages of justice, have provoked some controversy. The Bill covers aspects of pornography and prostitution, offences relating to nuclear material and facilities, data protection penalties and international cooperation in criminal matters. It introduces a new 'violent offender order', more measures against anti-social behaviour and changes to the police disciplinary procedures. The Bill also creates a new restricted immigration status for foreign criminals who cannot be removed from the UK.

Research Paper 07/064 EU Reform: a new treaty or an old constitution? (PDF PDF 22 KB)
Following the failure of all Member States to ratify the 2004 Treaty 'Establishing a Constitution for Europe', and a 'reflection period' to consider the fate of the treaty, the German EU Presidency in the first half of 2007 relaunched the debate on the future of Europe. On 21-22 June 2007, the European Council agreed a Draft Mandate for an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and the Portuguese Presidency opened the IGC on 23 July, with a view to concluding a new Reform Treaty in October 2007.

Research Paper 07/063 Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill [HL] Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The aim of the Bill is to provide civil remedies for those faced with forced marriage, and victims of forced marriage. It would insert new sections into the Family Law Act 1996 and is intended to become a part of the general provisions protecting against domestic violence in England and Wales; there would be similar protection against forced marriage in Northern Ireland. The Bill would enable victims and third parties on their behalf to seek an injunction and other measures to prevent a forced marriage.

Research Paper 07/062 Unemployment by Consituency, June 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the UK in June 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in June 2006 and June 1997. Includes unemployment rates by constituency maps.

Research Paper 07/061 Legal Services Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This is a report on the Committee Stage of the Legal Services Bill [HL]. The Bill would establish a new framework for the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. Key elements of the Bill include: a statement of the regulatory objectives of the regulators; the creation of the Legal Services Board intended to be an independent oversight regulator; and the creation of an independent Office for Legal Complaints. The Bill would also provide for arrangements to facilitate alternative business structures, which would enable lawyers and non-lawyers to work together to deliver legal and other services; legal disciplinary practices of different kinds of lawyers would also be allowed.

Research Paper 07/060 Hamas and the seizure of Gaza (PDF PDF 20 KB)
In mid-June 2007 Hamas completed the seizure of Gaza, defeating elements of the nationalist Fatah movement. The development effectively left the Palestinian Territories divided, with the Islamists of Hamas in control of Gaza, and Fatah retaining control of the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Hamas's actions and announced the formation of an Emergency Government. This paper looks at the background to these events and their potential implications.

Research Paper 07/059 Further Education and Training Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This is a report on the Committee Stage of the Further Education and Training Bill produced in response to a recommendation of the Modernisation Committee in its report 'The Legislative Process' (HC 1097, 2005-06). The Bill will restructure the Learning and Skills Council by abolishing local Learning and Skills Councils and creating regional ones. It will also enable the Secretary of State to designate strategy-making bodies and place the Learning and Skills Councils under a duty to implement the skills strategies which they develop.

Research Paper 07/058 Economic Indicators, July 2007 (PDF PDF 20 KB)
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. This month it includes the article 'The UK Economy since 1997'.

Research Paper 07/057 Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill [Bill 118 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
The Bill focuses on two topics: child support maintenance and the provision of lump sum payments in connection with mesothelioma. The child maintenance provisions (parts 1-3 and 5 of the Bill) introduce changes to the child maintenance system, as proposed in the White Paper, A new system of child maintenance, published by the Department for Work and Pensions in December 2006. Part 4 of the Bill includes powers to introduce a new scheme providing up-front lump sum payments for people diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma and their dependants, and amends the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997 in order to fund payments through a compensation recovery mechanism.

Research Paper 07/056 Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill [HL] [Bill 129 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This paper discusses the provisions of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill [HL]. A forced marriage is one conducted without the valid consent of both people, where pressure or abuse is used and must be distinguished from an arranged marriage, where both parties fully and freely consent to the marriage. The aim of the Bill is to provide civil remedies for those faced with forced marriage, and victims of forced marriage.

Research Paper 07/055 Unemployment by Constituency, May 2007 (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in May 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in May 2006 and May 1997. This paper also presents residencebased unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency maps.

Research Paper 07/054 The Sustainable Communities Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This Private Member's Bill received a second reading on 19 January 2007 and has been substantially redrafted in the Public Bill Committee stage, which ended on 23 May 2007. The Bill is due to have its report stage on 15 June 2007 where further Government and other amendments are expected. The Bill contains provisions to ensure the drawing up of action plans to promote the sustainability of local communities, which are informed by grass roots representations. There are also provisions for the Secretary of State to produce local spending reports for local authorities to recommend changes.

Research Paper 07/053 Concessionary BusTravel Bill [HL] Committee Stage Report [Bill 60 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This Bill seeks to guarantee free off-peak travel for everyone aged 60 and over and all disabled people on local buses anywhere in England from April 2008. Free bus travel would be available for those eligible from 9.30am until 11pm on weekdays and all day at weekends and on bank holidays. Local authorities would still be able to offer additional benefits to their residents, such as travel before 9:30am and concessions on other modes of travel like trams, as well as alternative travel schemes, such as tokens for use on taxis or community transport.

Research Paper 07/052 The Serious Crime Bill [Bill 103 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
The Serious Crime Bill is designed to remove what the Government considers to be remaining gaps in the UK's capability in dealing with the threat posed by serious organised crime. Its main provisions would: create a new civil order called a serious crime prevention order, aimed at preventing serious crime; reform the law on encouraging and assisting crime by replacing the common law offence of incitement with three new statutory offences; introduce measures intended to facilitate information sharing for the purposes of preventing fraud; and make amendments to the proceeds of crime legislation, including the abolition of the Asset Recovery Agency and the redistribution of some of the Agency's functions.

Research Paper 07/051 Gleneagles G8 commitments on debt relief and aid - two years on (PDF PDF 20 KB)
At the Gleneagles G8 Summit in July 2005, G8 leaders made commitments to increase foreign aid and provide debt relief. This paper provides some background and a description of the financing commitments made at the Gleneagles G8 Summit. It then looks at the extent to which G8 members are meeting their commitments to increase aid and provide debt relief and examines the UK's progress in meeting its own commitments. The paper also includes a brief assessment of the aid activities of non-G8 countries, and concludes with a look ahead to the G8 Summit in Germany in June 2007.

Research Paper 07/050 The International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Bill [HL] [Bill 110 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
In June 2006 the British Government agreed to allow Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, to be imprisoned in the UK should he be convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Special Court of Sierra Leone. Because the Special Court was not established by a resolution of the United Nations Security Council, it is not covered by the sentence enforcement agreement provisions in the International Criminal Court Act 2001. This Bill amends the International Criminal Court Act 2001 so that a sentence enforcement agreement may be agreed with the Special Court and implemented.

Research Paper 07/049 The Rating (Empty Properties) Bill [Bill 102 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
The Bill implements a commitment in the March 2007 Budget to reform and reduce rating relief on empty non-domestic property in order to encourage owners to bring such property back into occupation. This follows recommendations in the Barker Review of Land Use Planning and the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government. The Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 10 May 2007 following the House's approval of a ways and means resolution.

Research Paper 07/048 Legal Services Bill [HL] [Bill 108 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This paper discusses the provisions of the Legal Services Bill [HL] which is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 4 June 2007. The Bill would establish a new framework for the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. Key elements of the Bill include: a statement of the regulatory objectives of the regulators; the creation of the Legal Services Board intended to be an independent oversight regulator; and the creation of an independent Office for Legal Complaints.

Research Paper 07/047 Local and mayoral elections (PDF PDF 20 KB)
This paper summarises the results of the local and mayoral elections held on 3 May 2007. Elections were held in 312 local authorities in England and all 32 authorities in Scotland. In England, one-third of seats were contested in 36 Metropolitan Boroughs, 79 Shire Districts, and 20 Unitary Authorities; and all seats were contested in 152 Shire Districts and 25 Unitary Authorities. In Scotland, all seats were contested on the 32 Scottish councils.

Research Paper 07/046 Scottish Parliament elections: 3 May 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper provides summary and detailed results of the third elections to the Scottish Parliament which took place on 3 May 2007. The paper provides data on voting trends and electoral turnout for constituencies, electoral regions and for Scotland as a whole.

Research Paper 07/045 National Assembly for Wales: 3 May 2007 (PDF PDF 716 KB)
This Research Paper provides summary and detailed results of the third elections to the National Assembly for Wales, which took place on 3 May 2007. The paper provides data on voting trends and electoral turnout for constituencies, electoral regions and for Wales as a whole.

Research Paper 07/044 The Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill [HL] [Bill 94 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
Following a review of the provision of information and communication technology across Parliament, the authorities of both Houses approved the establishment of a joint department (PICT - Parliamentary Information and Communication Technology), which would be overseen by the Corporate Officers of both Houses. Primary legislation is required to establish a joint department, and the Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill has been introduced to facilitate the establishment of PICT. The Bill has been drafted in a way that would allow the House authorities to authorise the establishment of more joint departments without the need for further primary legislation, as long as the authorities of both Houses agreed.

Research Paper 07/043 Unemployment by Constituency, April 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in April 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in April 2006 and April 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. It includes unemployment rates by constituency maps.

Research Paper 07/042 Energy Security (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The term 'energy security' is used widely to mean a number of different things, including the pressures on supply from rapidly industrialising China and India, liberalising markets to produce interdependence between countries, protecting pipelines from attack and diversifying from fossil fuels to renewables. The paper sets out developing energy policy in the UK and Europe, which is being driven by the need to secure energy supplies and deliver clean, affordable energy to combat climate change. It also considers the risks of dwindling reserves of oil, gas and coal which, environmental considerations notwithstanding, will continue to be burnt for many years.

Research Paper 07/041 A political introduction to India (PDF PDF 22 KB)
2007 marks the 60th anniversary of Indian independence; this Research Paper gives an insight into India's ongoing transformation. Part I provides key facts and figures about India. Part II offers a broad analytical overview of key issues affecting India's past, present and future trajectory. Part III looks at domestic developments and some of the major challenges facing India at home. Part IV discusses India's evolving foreign and security policy. Part V surveys political and military relations between India, the UK and the European Union.

Research Paper 07/040 An economic introduction to India (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Research Paper provides an introduction to the Indian economy. Part I provides key demographic facts and figures about India. Part II reviews India's internal economy including the main industry sectors. Part III looks at the external economy, summarises the aid India receives and looks at the outlook for India's economy.

Research Paper 07/039 Economic Indicators, May 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
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.

Research Paper 07/038 Social Indicators (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population.

Research Paper 07/037 Direct taxes: rates and allowances 2007-08 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper sets out the main changes to direct tax rates and allowances announced in the Budget of 21 March 2007. It lists the principal personal allowances which will be available against income tax in the tax year 2007-08, and it outlines the conditions necessary for eligibility for these allowances. The paper provides a summary of the general tax position in straightforward cases only.

Research Paper 07/036 Unemployment by Constituency, March 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in March 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in March 2006 and March 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom.

Research Paper 07/035 The Further Education and Training Bill [HL] [Bill 75 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Bill enacts provisions which were proposed in the White Paper Further Education: Raising Skills Improving Life Chances published in March 2006. The Bill will restructure the Learning and Skills Council by abolishing local Learning and Skills Councils and creating regional ones. The Bill will enable the Secretary of State to designate strategy making bodies and place the Learning and Skills Councils under a duty to implement the skills strategies which they develop. The Learning and Skills Council will be placed under a duty to encourage diversity and choice in provision of education and to consult with learners and employers.

Research Paper 07/034 The Funding of Political Parties (PDF PDF 22 KB)
Funding political parties in the UK has been a source of controversy for many years. Demand for more transparency grew during the 1990s. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 introduced national regulation, but in March 2006 it became clear that further regulation of loans to parties was also necessary, when details emerged of loans made during the general election campaign of 2005.

Research Paper 07/030 The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This is a report on the Committee Stage of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill, produced in response to a recommendation of the Modernisation Committee in its report on The Legislative Process (HC 1097, 2005-06). The Bill seeks to enact many of the provisions of the local government white paper - Strong and Prosperous Communities (Cm 6939). The main themes from the white paper are (1) empowerment of communities: measures include delegation to councils of the power to create parishes and introduction of a community call for action, (2) making local government more effective and accountable through changes to leadership and electoral arrangements, the standards regime and the two-tier structure, (3) strengthening the community leadership role of councils, and (4) simplifying the performance and inspection framework. There are also a number of measures designed to enhance patient and public involvement in health and social care.

Research Paper 07/029 The Falkland Islands: Twenty Five Years On (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The 25th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict will be commemorated in April-June 2007. This paper examines the status of the Falkland Islands 25 years after that conflict. Among the issues it looks at are the ongoing dispute between the UK and Argentina over sovereignty of the islands, the progress of the Constitutional Review which was announced in 2000, defence issues associated with the Falkland Islands and the progress that has been made in revitalising its economy.

Research Paper 07/028 Financial Mutuals Arrangements Bill [Bill 23 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This private member's bill is introduced by Sir John Butterfill MP. It seeks to loosen certain restrictions on the operating conditions of mutual societies and to provide the opportunity for government to change the manner in which future rule changes are made. The institutions most affected will be the building societies.

Research Paper 07/027 EU Enlargement: the Western Balkans (PDF PDF 22 KB)
In 2003 the EU declared that “the future of the Balkans is within the European Union”. Initially it adopted a generous strategy that linked the timetable for accession to the pace of reform in the Western Balkans. However the results of the French and Dutch referendums on the Constitutional Treaty caused the EU to shift to a more restrictive enlargement strategy. Accession is now explicitly dependent on factors outside the control of potential members. This research paper outlines the key elements of the EU’s strategy and approach to the Western Balkans between 2003 and 2007; charts the change in attitudes towards the Western Balkans following the referendums on the Constitutional Treaty; considers the criticism of the EU strategy and sketches the current state of play in each of the Western Balkan states. This paper relates to the potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia (including Kosovo).

Research Paper 07/026 Unemployment by constituency, February 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in February 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in February 2006 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.

Research Paper 07/025 The Statistics and Registration Service Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Bill provides for the creation of a Statistics Board which will be the legal successor to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Board will have a statutory responsibility to ensure the comprehensiveness and quality of official statistics. The new Board will operate at arms' length from Ministers as a Non-Ministerial Department. The Bill will also regularise the employment position of registrars in England and Wales, by making them local authority employees, and thereby providing them with employment rights and protections. The Bill was considered by the House of Commons in a Second Reading debate on 8 January 2007. Library Research Paper 06/66 provides a comprehensive assessment and analysis of the Bill in the form it was presented to the House at Second Reading. The Bill was given a Second Reading without division and committed to a Public Bill Committee for further consideration. The Public Bill Committee held 8 sittings between 16 and 25 January 2007. Almost all the provisions of the Bill as originally presented were left unchanged. The Committee agreed to two minor amendments to clause 25 and four Government amendments to Schedule

Research Paper 07/024 The House of Commons (Participation) Bill [Bill 22 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill is sponsored by Robert Walter, Conservative MP for North Dorset, who came sixth in the ballot for Private Members' Bills. It seeks "to provide for the Speaker of the House of Commons to have power to determine the eligibility of members of the House of Commons to participate in certain legislative and other proceedings of the House" and is due to have its second reading on 9 March 2007. It is similar to the Parliament (Participation of Members of the House of Commons) Bill introduced by Lord Baker of Dorking in the House of Lords in 2005-06. This paper provides background to the development of the 'English Question' in the context of devolution in the United Kingdom and examines earlier legislative initiatives in this area. It also provides background on the territorial coverage of bills; public spending in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; the Barnett formula, which is part of the mechanism for determining the block grants to the devolved administrations; and devolved regional arrangements in selected European states.

Research Paper 07/023 Economic Indicators, March 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
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 2007 Budget

Research Paper 07/022 The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill [Bill 65 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper discusses the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill, which was introduced into the House of Lords on 16 November 2006. The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill is a broad measure designed to implement a number of very different proposals. These include the establishment of a new tribunals system, reforming the criteria for judicial appointment and the introduction of new rules to ensure the protection of cultural items on loan within the United Kingdom. The Bill would also introduce measures to change the system of enforcing judgements and includes provisions to vary the regime applicable to enforcement agents and bailiffs. The miscellaneous provisions of the Bill contain a proposal to alter the powers of the High Court in judicial review applications. Parts 1, 2, 6 and 8 of the Bill extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while the other provisions of the Bill extend only to England and Wales. The Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 21 February 2007 and is due to have its Second Reading on 5 March.

Research Paper 07/021 Off-Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill [Bill 21 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill would require all motorcycles used off road to be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It would be an offence for a vehicle keeper not to register any motorcycle which is used off-road. The police would have the power to seize any unregistered motorcycle. The Bill is presented by Graham Stringer MP, who came fifth in the ballot of Private Members' Bills. The Second Reading debate is due to be held on 2 March 2007. The Bill applies to Great Britain and extends to Northern Ireland.

Research Paper 07/020 The Offender Management Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This is a report on the Committee Stage of the Offender Management Bill produced in response to a recommendation of the Modernisation Committee it is report on The Legislative Process (HC 1097, 2005-6). The Offender Management Bill 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 sectors. It 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.

Research Paper 07/019 The Concessionary Bus Travel Bill [HL] [Bill 60 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill seeks to guarantee free off-peak travel for everyone aged 60 and over and all disabled people on local buses anywhere in England from April 2008. At present, those aged 60 and over and disabled people are guaranteed free off-peak travel on local buses only within their own local authority areas. The Bill includes a power to allow, in the future, for mutual recognition of national concessionary bus passes across the United Kingdom. The Bill extends to the whole of England. Concessionary bus travel is a devolved matter. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already operate their own schemes.

Research Paper 07/018 The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill [Bill 62 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Bill has two purposes; firstly it removes both Houses of Parliament from the list of public bodies included within the scope of Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI Act 2000); secondly, it makes communications between Members of Parliament and public bodies exempt from the FoI Act 2000, although as the Bill is currently drafted, a public authority might still be able to release such correspondence if it considered that the public interest in disclosure was greater than the public interest in withholding the information.

Research Paper 07/17 - The Greater London Assembly Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Public Bill Committee stage of this Bill began on 9 January 2007 and ended on 23 January. No amendments were made to the Bill. The programme motion appeared to allow sufficient time for debate and all parts of the Bill were debated. The Minister made a number of relatively minor commitments to consider amendments at a later stage. Substantial amounts of programmed time were spent on planning, waste and environmental issues, which remain controversial. Governance issues such as the budget for the Assembly, appointment powers of the Mayor and staffing arrangements were also subjected to considerable debate.

Research Paper 07/016 The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill [HL] [Bill 61 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill, introduced into the House of Lords in November 2006, is designed to implement three Government policies. The first, commonly referred to as the "Consumer Voice" proposals, would establish a new National Consumer Council (and abolish the existing National Consumer Council, Postwatch and energywatch and make provision to abolish the Consumer Council for Water). It would also enable regulators to require companies in the gas, electricity, water and postal sectors to join redress schemes.

Other provisions in the Bill would allow the Secretary of State to require estate agents to join an ombudsman scheme and change certain regulatory requirements placed on agents.

The Bill would also enable to Secretary of State to make regulations to give individuals similar rights to cancel contracts for goods and services made away from business premises as they currently have in relation to contracts made after an unsolicited visit.

Research Paper 07/015 - The Disabled Children (Family Support) Bill [Bill 20 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill is sponsored by Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon. It is due to have its second reading on Friday 23 February 2007. The Bill makes provision for carers of disabled children to be assessed and provided with short breaks. It places duties on local authorities and the National Health Service in respect of disabled children and their carers.

Research Paper 07/014 - Unemployment by constituency, January 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in January 2007, together with comparisons with the levels in January 2006 and January 1997. This paper also presents residence-based unemployment rates for all 646 constituencies in the United Kingdom. Includes unemployment rates by constituency map.

Research Paper 07/013 - The Planning-gain Supplemt Preparations Bill Committee Stage Report (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Planning-gain Supplement (Preparations) Bill would provide authorisation for expenditure to prepare for Planning-gain Supplement, which would be a tax on the increase in land values resulting from the grant of planning permission.

Research Paper 07/012 - Economic Indicators, February 2007 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
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: Second World War Debt

Research Paper 07/011 - The UK Borders Bill [Bill 53 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This year's immigration Bill seeks to implement some aspects of the Government's five-year plan for immigration and asylum, its review of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and its plans for an identity card scheme. It does not propose an integrated borders agency. ts main provisions would give immigration officers more police powers; require foreign nationals living in the UK to get biometric immigration ID cards which could be compulsorily checked; and provide for automatic deportation orders with limited rights of appeal for foreign national prisoners. Other provisions would allow residence and reporting conditions to be imposed on foreign nationals in the UK; extend the scope of offences of facilitating illegal immigration and human trafficking; and give immigration officers access to HM Revenue and Customs information. The Bill is due to be debated on second reading in the House of Commons on Monday 5 February 2007.

Research Paper 07/010 - The Land Use (Gardens Protection etc) Bill [Bill 19 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill is sponsored by Mrs. Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP for Meriden, who came third in the ballot for Private Members' Bills. It is due to have its second reading on Friday 2 February 2007. The Bill would make provision for the protection of gardens and urban green space and would confer on local authorities the power to set housing density targets. It would encourage the transfer of some land formerly used for economic purposes to residential use.

Research Paper 07/009 - The Energy Saving (Daylight) Bill [Bill 18 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
Tim Yeo drew second place in this session's Private Members Bill ballot. His Energy Saving (Daylight) Bill would advance time in England throughout the year by one extra hour for an experimental period of three years from October 2008 to October 2011. Winter would be one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and summer two hours ahead. This would increase daylight by one hour in the evenings and decrease it by the same amount in the morning. It would also bring time in England in line with that of the Central European Time Zone. The Bill would provide the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly (if not suspended), with powers similarly to change time.

Research Paper 07/008 - The crisis in Lebanon (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Research Paper surveys Lebanon's development since the outbreak of civil war in the mid-1970s and examines the issues behind the instability and violence of recent decades. It provides details on the conflict of July-August 2006, the subsequent expansion of the UN force, and the current political crisis affecting the country.

Research Paper 07/007 - Unemployment by Constituency, December 2006 (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This paper shows the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance recorded as resident in each constituency in the United Kingdom in December 2006, together with comparisons with the levels in December 2005 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.

Research Paper 07/006 - The Sustainable Communities Bill [Bill 12 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
This Bill is sponsored by Nick Hurd, Conservative MP for Ruislip Northwood, who came first in the ballot for Private Members' Bills. It is due to have its second reading on 19 January 2007. The Bill has been drafted with the help of Local Works, a pressure group which campaigns to promote the involvement of local people in decisions about their local areas and to preserve local amenities and services. The Bill is supported by the Conservatives, who published a version in their pamphlet The Permissive State: How to achieve local social responsibility in November 2006. The theme of local sustainability is examined in the two interim reports from Sir Michael Lyons on local government finance and in the local government white paper Strong and prosperous communities published in October 2006. The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill 2006-07 contains provisions to strengthen community input into local government. Earlier versions of the Bill have been introduced by Liberal Democrat Members, but with cross-party support, with an EDM in 2005-6 attracting 363 signatures. The Bill requires the Secretary of State to draw up an action plan to promote the sustainability of communities, and to provide more transparency about government spending in localities. Local authorities are enabled to produce a local spending plan, following participation from local residents. The plan must be accepted by the Secretary of State unless it conflicts with national government spending plans.

Research Paper 07/005 - The Pensions Bill [Bill 12 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Pensions Bill 2006-07 was introduced on 28 November 2006 and published the following day. It is due to have its Second Reading in the Commons on 16 January. Amongst other things, it will raise the State Pension age for both men and women to 68 by 2046; re-link increases in the Basic State Pension to earnings; accelerate the conversion of the earningsrelated State Second Pension into a flat rate pension, probably by 2030; make it much easier for people with caring responsibilities or disabilities to qualify for a full state pension from 2010; abolish contracting-out for defined contribution pension schemes, and establish a Delivery Authority to prepare the ground for the introduction of a new system of 'personal accounts'.

Research Paper 07/004 - The Planning-gain Supplement (Preparations) Bill [Bill 37 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
In the December 2006 Pre-Budget Report the Government announced that it would move forward with the implementation of Planning-gain Supplement (PGS) if, after further consultation, it continues to be deemed workable and effective. To this end it would "shortly introduce a preparations bill to Parliament providing HM Revenue & Customs with the authority to build the systems necessary to administer PGS, if enacted." The Planning-gain Supplement (Preparations) Bill 2006-07 was introduced in the Commons on 12 December 2006 and is due to be debated on second reading on 15 January 2007. PGS would apply across the UK, but because it is essentially a local measure, all PGS revenues generated in the Devolved Administrations would be returned to the country in which they were generated.

Research Paper 07/003 - North Korea: The Nuclear Issue and Prospects for Change (PDF PDF 22 KB)
In July 2006 North Korea test fired seven ballistic missiles. This led to the imposition of targeted UN sanctions. Then, on 9 October 2006, North Korea conducted its first ever nuclear weapons test, provoking virtually unanimous international condemnation and the imposition of additional UN sanctions. The scene seemed set for escalating confrontation. However, in December 2006 North Korea returned to the Six-Party Talks, which had been stalled for over a year. This Research Paper surveys the chequered course over the past 15 years of negotiations designed to end North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, including the Six-Party Talks. Looking to the longer-term, the Paper also briefly assesses the likelihood of three different scenarios for change in North Korea: sustained reform; 'stop-start' reform; and regime collapse

Research Paper 07/002 - Social Indicators [Includes articles: Research and development in the UK; Prison population: Summary] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
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.

Research Paper 07/001 - The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill [Bill 16 of 2006-07] (PDF PDF 22 KB)
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill was given its first reading in the House of Commons on 12 December 2006. The Bill seeks to enact many of the provisions of the local government white paper - Strong and prosperous communities (Cm 6939). It introduces measures designed to: (1) empower communities, such as devolving power to create parishes (and other forms of community governance) to principal authorities, and introducing a community call for action; (2) make local government more effective and accountable through, for example, revised leadership and electoral arrangements, provision for restructuring in two-tier areas and a move to a more locally-based standards regime; (3) strengthen the community leadership role of councils; and (4) simplify the performance framework and reduce the burden of inspection on councils. The Bill also provides for a Valuation Tribunal for England and it contains a number of measures designed to enhance patient and public involvement in health and social care.