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Content published before December 2016

Commons Briefing Papers

28.10.2016Business and Consumer Confidence: Key Economic Indicators
Business and Consumer Confidence: Information on business and consumer confidence surveys, which is generally released ahead of official statistical data and can indicate changes to the economic outlook as well as turning points in the economic cycle.
24.10.2016Household recycling in the UK
This Commons Library Briefing Paper discusses UK trends in recycling and the applicable legislation at both EU and UK level. It provides an overview of the EU circular economy proposals and explains recycling policy across the UK. It also includes information on common barriers to recycling and local authority approaches to overcoming these barriers. A section on the possible impact of Brexit is also included.
21.10.2016Sale of consumer goods, services and digital content at a distance
This Commons briefing paper provides information on the main provisions of the Consumer Contracts Regulations. It also outlines other legislation which may regulate distance selling.
05.10.2016Doorstep selling
This Commons briefing paper provides an outline of the current regulation of doorstep selling (or cold calling) under the provisions of the new Consumer Contracts Regulations. It also provides information on how 'No Cold Calling Zones' work in practice.
06.09.2016Scamming and its effect on vulnerable individuals
A backbench business debate is being held on 8 September 2016 on scamming and its effect on vulnerable individuals. This paper explores the different types of scams, regulation and what can be done to combat this threat.
26.08.2016Brexit: impact across policy areas
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
17.08.2016Sale of Goods Act 1979
This Commons briefing paper provides a detailed overview of a consumer's statutory rights to return a defective good under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 in respect of goods purchased on or before 30 September 2015. In respect of goods purchased on or after the 1 October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 would apply.
09.08.2016Water bills - affordability and support for household customers
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper examines the issue of water affordability. It includes statistics and analysis of the cost of customer bills; discussion of affordability and vulnerability; and information on the help that is available for customers struggling to pay. It also discusses the economic regulation of the industry as well as actions of the UK Government since 2009.
13.07.2016Sources of Statistics: Inflation and Prices
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on inflation and prices.
24.06.2016Nuisance Calls: Unsolicited sales and marketing, and silent calls
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper sets out the regulations which seek to address nuisance calls, including unsolicited sales and marketing calls, and the main ways in which individuals can try to reduce the number of unwanted calls or texts they receive.

Lords Library Notes

26.06.2014Consumer Rights Bill (HL Bill 29 of 2014-15)
The Consumer Rights Bill makes provision for the reform of consumer law in the UK and connected areas of law. This Note summarises the Bill's report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.
19.04.2012Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill [HL] (HL Bill 139 of 2010-12)
This Library Note provides background information on the Sunday Trading (London Olympic and Paralympic Games) Bill due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 24 April 2012.


09.08.2016Electronic Cigarettes
This POSTnote updates POSTnote 455 (January 2014), summarising the latest data on scale of use, safety and quality of electronic cigarettes, and their value as a stop smoking tool. It also explores the implications of the new EU Tobacco Products Directive and regulatory approaches in the UK.
24.05.2016Financial Technology (FinTech)
Financial Technology (FinTech) describes the application of digital technology to financial services. This POSTnote reviews how and why FinTech is being used, and the benefits and challenges it presents to the UK.
29.05.2015UK Broadband Infrastructure
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
28.05.2015Sugar and Health
Sugars can be added to food and drinks or occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk. A high sugar diet increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain, and high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with type 2 diabetes. This paper describes trends in sugar consumption in the UK, the public health implications and outlines policy options.
08.08.2014Alternative Currencies
This POSTnote outlines the different types and aims of these currencies. It also sets out how alternative currencies are being used and highlights regulatory and policy challenges regarding consumer protection, financial crime and taxation and benefits.
15.07.2014Big Data and Business
POSTnote exploring how big data is being used by UK companies and the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Select Committee Reports

24.03.2010Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Helping over-indebted consumers.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
14.07.2009Environmental labelling.
Government response. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]
07.07.2009EU Consumer Rights Directive: getting it right.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
03.03.2009Environmental labelling.
Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House regrets that the victims of the failed Christmas hamper and savings company Farepak have not yet received compensation following the company's liquidation in October ...
That this House is concerned that Virgin Media is proposing to close itsLiverpool offices in Albert Dock with the loss of over 400 jobs; notes that Virgin's aim is to reduce office ...
That this House believes that the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot should be properly commemorated and that the significance of 5 November should be remembered; recognises the importance ...
That this House believes that unfair bank and financial transaction charges are still causing significant problems for millions of UK consumers, especially those on low incomes; notes ...
That this House welcomes the super-complaint made by Consumer Focus to the Office of Fair Trading on 21 September 2011, raising concerns about the amount that UK consumers pay for foreign ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses