Research briefings

This page provides access to research briefings produced by the Libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You can find research briefings by sorting by date, type, or one of 350 topics. Pick your options from the dropdown menus.

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    • Commons Library Research Papers: in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other major topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
    • Commons Library Standard Notes: 3,000 briefings on topical issues or frequently asked questions.
    • Lords Library Notes: Written by the research section of the House of Lords Library to provide information on topics of current interest to members
    • POSTnotes: Short briefings produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology analysing policy issues that have a basis in science and technology.
    • POST Reports: Occasional major reports produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Displaying 41-60 out of 5590

  • Household Debt Published 30 January 2015 | Standard notes SN02885 Household debt: Data on the latest household debt statistics, including net lending, mortgage interest rates and insolvencies. Topic: Economic situation, Financial services
  • NHS Winter Pressures 2014/15 Published 30 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07057 During the winter months, NHS England publishes daily situation reports on winter pressures facing acute hospital trusts. These cover pressures such as accident and emergency diverts, ambulances queueing, bed days lost to norovirus closures, delayed transfers of care, cancelled operations, and trolley waits. This note summarises figures for 2014/15 (up to 25th January) and compares them with the equivalent periods in 2013/14 and 2012/13. Data for individual hospital trusts or areas is available on the NHS statistical website and can be compiled or analysed by the Library on request. Topic: Ambulance services, Health services
  • A Brief History of the Magna Carta Published 29 January 2015 | Library notes LLN 2015/001 This Note will consider the background to the introduction of the Magna Carta and consider the influence the Magna Carta has had in the 800 years since its creation. Topic: Constitution, Parliament
  • The National Insurance Contributions Bill 2014-15: Parliamentary scrutiny Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN06975 The National Insurance Contributions Bill 2014-15 would allow for both categories of National Insurance contributions (NICs) which are payable by the self-employed – Class 2 and Class 4 – to be collected through self assessment from April 2016. The Bill would also extend existing tax rules regarding ‘accelerated payments’ and ‘high-risk’ tax promoters to NICs, and introduce a Targeted Anti-Avoidance Rule to prevent the avoidance of NICs by ‘intermediaires’. Topic: National insurance, Taxation
  • Grammar Schools Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07070 This note provides an outline of the current position relating to grammar schools. It covers England only. Topic: Schools
  • Mitochondrial Donation Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN06833 This note seeks to provide a summary of the role of mitochondria, mitochondrial disease and the proposed new techniques. It will also outline the investigations into these techniques that took place prior to the Government announcement; a HFEA scientific review of the safety and efficacy of methods, an ethical review of the techniques for mitochondrial replacement undertaken by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and an HFEA public consultation. The main safety and ethical considerations associated with the introduction of these techniques into clinical practice will be discussed. Topic: Diseases, Genetics, Medical ethics, Medicine, Science
  • India-Pakistan relations: January 2015 update Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN05773 India-Pakistan relations remain fraught with danger and mistrust. Since October 2014, there have been regular exchanges of fire between their troops across the ‘Line of Control’ which runs through contested Kashmir. Turbulent times could lie ahead.The two nuclear-armed governments accuse each other of responsibility for these skirmishes. The tenor of their exchanges has become increasingly hostile. There are also Indian claims that militant groups based on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control are seeking to infiltrate Indian-administered Kashmir in larger numbers. Over recent months, there have been several battles between militants and security forces. Hopes that India and Pakistan could resume talks in earnest following the electoral victory of Narendra Modi in India last year have not yet been realised. He is currently acting like a man for whom a deal with Pakistan is desirable but not essential. His self-confidence may soon receive another boost. Political developments within Indian Jammu and Kashmir could produce a coalition government involving his party, the BJP – an outcome which few observers would have predicted until very recently. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is keen to do a deal with India on Kashmir and other issues but cannot afford to look weak. He will be hoping that the PDP decides against joining up with the BJP in Indian Jammu and Kashmir. The more moderate Kashmiri separatist leaders will share the dismay of the Pakistan government if it does. However, the armed militant groups – whose influence and reach have waned in recent years – are likely to be delighted if the BJP shares power, as increased political polarisation could act as a recruiting-sergeant for them. Pakistan’s anxieties about the increasingly close US-India relationship have heightened recently. President Obama recently finished a three-day visit to India in which numerous deals were signed. Topic: Asia, Human rights, International politics and government, Terrorism
  • Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill: Progress of the Bill Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN06997 This is a note on the progress through both Houses of Parliament of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill (the Bill). It complements Library Research Paper 14/38 prepared for the Commons Second Reading. Topic: Charities, Civil law, Voluntary organisations
  • Dairy industry in the UK: Statistics Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN02721 This note sets out key statistics and current trends for the UK dairy industry. Milk accounted for 16.1% of total agricultural output in the UK in 2013. The number of dairy cows in the UK has declined steadily since 1980. The total has fallen from 3.2 million in 1980 to 1.8 million in 2013: a 45% reduction. Farm-gate milk prices rose from 18p/litre in 2007 to 34p/litre in 2013, and have since fallen to 29p/litre as of November 2014. Topic: Agriculture, Food
  • Bovine Tuberculosis Statistics: Great Britain Published 29 January 2015 | Standard notes SN06081 In 2013 there were 4,817 new herd incidents of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in Great Britain, and 4.5% of tests on TB-free herds led to TB-free status being withdrawn. This note presents statistics measuring the incidence of bovine TB in Great Britain. Topic: Agriculture, Agriculture and environment, Animal diseases, Animals, Farmers, Wildlife
  • Greece's new anti-austerity coalition Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07076 The recent parliamentary election in Greece was a triumph for the radical left-wing Syriza party, which has now formed an anti-austerity coalition. What are the political and economic implications of these developments? Topic: Economic and monetary union, Europe, International politics and government
  • Council tax : discount on second homes and long-term empty properties Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN02857 Amended 29 January 2015 Certain council tax discounts have been awarded at the discretion of local authorities, in England, since 1 April 2013. The 'empty homes premium', allowing up to 150% council tax on long-term empty properties, was introduced at the same time. This note outlines the changes that have taken place. Topic: Local government, Taxation
  • Council tax: constituency issues Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN06583 This note provides guidance on a number of common constituency casework issues related to council tax. Topic: Local government, Taxation
  • Ofsted inspections of maintained and academy schools: FAQs Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07091 This note gives answers to some common questions on Ofsted inspections of state-funded schools. It looks at the practicalities of inspection and the implications of Ofsted 'gradings'. It also provides information on current topical issues and reforms in this area. Topic: Schools
  • Gross Domestic Product Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN02783 UK Gross Domestic Product: Regularly updated data on growth and forecasts. Topic: Economic situation
  • Devolution of corporation tax to Northern Ireland Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07078 On 7 January 2015 the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, announced the introduction of legislation to enable the devolution of corporation tax in Northern Ireland in April 2017. A Bill was presented to the House the following day. This note discusses the development of the Government’s policy and the wider debate over corporate tax competition. Topic: Devolution, Northern Ireland Assembly, Taxation
  • Planning: change of use system Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN01301 The planning use class system allows change of use of buildings without the need for planning permission. The Government has a range of proposals to further decrease the need for planning permission - particularly in respect of residential homes. Topic: Planning
  • Scotland the referendum and independence: Selected timeline Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN06911 This Note gives a selected timeline of events and significant publications leading up to the Referendum in Scotland on 18 September 2014 and to some of the potential follow-up events. Topic: Devolution, Parliament, Scottish Parliament
  • Draft Scotland Clauses: summary Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07090 The Government has published draft clauses on further devolution to Scotland, taking forward the Smith Commission Agreement. This note provides a summary. Topic: Benefits policy, Devolution, Scottish Parliament, Taxation
  • Social Enterprise Published 28 January 2015 | Standard notes SN07089 This note describes the constituent parts of what is often called the Third Sector or social enterprise. Topic: Financial institutions

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