2022 in the House of Lords
19 December 2022
In the last year the House of Lords has considered 5,244 changes to 100 bills. Members raised concerns, pressed government for action and questioned decisions with debates, daily oral questions and urgent questions in over 3,350 hours of business.
Topics have included:
Health and social care
Members quizzed government on ambulance delays; advertising, body image and mental health; unpaid leave for carers; HIV/AIDs; mental health services for rough sleepers; NHS services returning to pre-pandemic levels; reproductive health and rights; and eating disorders.
The Lords also considered the challenges of Long Covid on workplaces, individuals, families and the economy.
Baroness Pitkeathley and other members pressed the government to tackle vacancies in the social care work force and explained the scale of the problem and the risks if nothing is done.
In December, the Lords Adult Social Care committee published its report calling for action from the government to prioritise and reform the care sector.
Changes to the Health and Care Bill
The Health and Care Bill became an Act of Parliament on 28 April 2022. Members asked the government to think again on safe discharge from hospital, organ trafficking, dispute resolution in children’s palliative care, learning disability and autism training, allowing pills for early medical abortions to be taken at home, and eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking from the NHS supply chain.
Cost of Living
Throughout the year, members raised concerns about the rising cost of living with questions on increasing energy costs, growing costs of living, the impact of the cost of living on women and single mothers, a windfall tax on oil, gas and energy companies, the impact of inflation on benefits and warm hubs in England.
The House of Lords debated the UK economy following the Spring Statement, with members highlighting the rising cost of food and energy, and the impact of the increasing cost of living on the level of economic resilience in the social capital of the UK.
In November, members debated the impact of the Autumn Statement, highlighting the impact of recent economic decisions on people and families, the government’s ambition to deliver high quality public services and its alignement with pay policies, plus spending on schools and health.
Members also questioned the government following statements on the Government Food Strategy and food price inflation.
With ongoing conflict in the region, the House of Lords continues to check the government’s response to the war in Ukraine. Members have raised concerns on the evolving situation with questions and debates on the threatened use of tactical nuclear weapons, drone attacks and allegations of war crimes. Equal concern was given to refugees arriving in the UK and support for Ukraine’s military defence.
Members also looked beyond the conflict with a question on post-conflict reconstruction of the region.
On 29 November, the House of Lords and House of Commons welcomed the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, to Parliament. At the event, the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith said:
‘…please assure the Ukrainian people that we see you as our neighbours – and as such we stand in solidarity with you as you continue this fight.’
- watch the playlist of questions on Ukraine
- catch up on the questions and debates that have taken place since the start of the conflict.
Questions and debates
There were questions to government on water pollution, environment targets, Jet Zero strategy, taking action over falling recycling rates in England, and supporting access to electric vehicles.
The House debated on the commitments made at COP27. Members also debated private members’ bills on making clean air a human right and imposing a duty on the government to meet climate and nature targets.
The Environment and Climate Change committee published its report calling on the government to help people to make changes in travel, food and how they use energy at home to meet climate goals. The Lords Economic Affairs Committee released its report into energy security and a net zero plan, while the Lords Industry and Regulators Committee launched an inquiry into the work of Ofwat.
The current energy crisis and future resilience, UK contribution to reaching net zero, carbon capture and home insulation were in the spotlight as members continued consideration of the Energy Bill.
Policing and home affairs
Treatment of women in the law
In the House’s line by line and change of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill members made significant changes spanning wide-ranging issues, in particular with regard to the treatment of women.
Members voted in favour of an amendment from former Victims Commissioner Baroness Newlove to make misogyny a hate crime. The change was overturned in the Commons but a compromise on an alternative amendment was reached in the House of Lords to criminalise intimidation or harassment aggravated by hostility towards a victim's sex or gender.
Other Lords changes include new offences to make it illegal to have sex-for-rental accommodation and photographing breastfeeding in public without permission.
The House has also pressed the government on the issue of police corruption in debates and many Lords questions and questions on government statements. Members have persistently pushed the issue of Met Police crime and corruption and police conduct throughout 2022.
Technologies in the justice system
The Justice and Home Affairs Committee published its report on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other advanced technology activities to discover, deter, rehabilitate, or punish people who breach the law in March. It highlighted the potential of these technologies but warned against the pace of their deployment and the absence of appropriate safeguards.
The committee also launched an inquiry into family migration in July to investigate how migration policies affect families, and how family migration policies affect society and more. It will end its work in 2022 questioning the Home Secretary Suella Braverman MP on Wednesday 21 December on this issue.
The Archbishop of Canterbury used his annual debate in the House of Lords to raise UK asylum and refugee policy. Members brought attention to the UK’s capacity to take in refugees, the impact of long wait times for claims on public resources, challenges of forced migration and the growing influence of climate change on migration.
With the arrival of the Schools Bill in May, members spoke on the key issues affecting schools, pressing for government to make improvements in areas such as the standard of reading, writing and maths in primary schools and supporting schools to join multi-academy trusts. As the bill progressed to later stages in the Lords, members raised concerns about several areas of the draft law relating to the regulation of academies and government powers to intervene in their operation. Responding to Lords concerns, the government agreed to remove clauses 1 to 18 and the first two schedules of the bill, and in December it was confirmed that the Schools Bill would no longer progress through Parliament.
More on education:
- the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022 became law. As the bill progressed through the House of Lords, members asked the government to think again on technical qualifications and apprenticeships, special educational needs training for teachers and allowing students to take two or more vocational courses.
- In questions, the impact of the rising cost of living on schools was up for discussion. Members called for government action to ensure schools were able to stay open five days week.
- The House of Lords also debated the National Plan for Music Education and music education in state schools, pressed government on the teaching of creative subjects since the introduction of the English Baccalaureate, citizenship education and special educational needs.
Tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the House of Lords paid tribute to the Queen over two days on Friday 9 September and Saturday 10 September. At the end of proceedings, each House agreed a message of condolence to His Majesty King Charles III.
Watch and read debates
All business in the House of Lords chamber and Grand Committee is streamed live online for free and transcripts in Hansard are available from around three hours after each item of business. Catch up on Parliament TV or read Lords Hansard transcripts.
Explore background information
Find out more about the issues under discussion in authoritative and impartial briefings from the House of Lords Library.
Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.
Hear from members and staff of the House of Lords about their work in the UK Parliament's second chamber. Recent episodes consider private members' bills, women in Parliament and the government's use of secondary legislation. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris
- Agriculture, animals, food and rural affairs
- Asylum, immigration and nationality
Business, industry and consumers
- Communities and families
- Crime, civil law, justice and rights
- Economy and finance
- Energy and environment
- Health services and medicine
- Parliament, government and politics
Social security and pensions