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 Briefing papers: 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.
    • Lords Library Notes: 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.
    • POSTbriefs: Responsive policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on mini-literature reviews and peer review, typically commissioned by select committees and library research services.
    • POSTnotes: 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.
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    Topics: Research material can be filtered by subject using the topic terms. The topics are arranged in a taxonomy (a hierarchical classification) and can be further filtered using sub-topics.

Displaying 1-20 out of 5608

Self-build and custom build housing sector
Published 15 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN06784
This note describes various initiatives aimed at growing the self-build and custom build housing sectors. Both self-build and custom build provide routes into home ownership for individuals and groups who want to play a role in developing their own homes.
Corporate tax reform (2010-2015)
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN05945
This note discusses the Coalition Government’s approach to corporate tax reform over the period 2010-2015, focusing on the reductions made to the main rate, the decision to set a single rate of tax, and the reforms made to tax reliefs for capital investment, before looking at the debate over corporate tax avoidance.

Topic: Taxation

Defence Spending - NATO 2% Target
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN07134
NATO has a non-binding target for all of its constituent member states to spend 2% of their GDP on defence spending in each year. The UK Government has announced plans to the 2015/16 financial year which are likely, on the preferred measurement method of the UK Government, will see the UK fall narrowly short of the 2% threshold.
Comparing the Right to Buy in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7174
This briefing provides a comparison of Right to Buy policies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Alcohol: objecting to a licence
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN03788
Objections can be raised against an application for a new premises licence or a variation of an existing licence. It is also possible to trigger a review of an existing licence. Objections must relate to one of the licensing objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; the protection of children from harm.

Topic: Licensing

Novel Food Production
Published 12 June 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0499
Food production systems worldwide may have to adapt radically to meet the rising global demand for food. Emerging approaches in the food sector include controlled-environment farming, alternative animal feeds, edible insects, and lab-cultured meat. This POSTnote considers these new technologies and summarises their respective advantages and limitations.
Financial Indicators: Key Economic Indicators
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN05207
Financial Indicators: Data from FTSE100, as well as oil prices and gold prices.
Communications Data: The 2012 draft Bill and recent developments
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN06373
A draft Communications Data Bill was introduced and scrutinised by Parliament in 2012-13. The draft Bill, referred to by critics as a “snooper’s charter”, was not taken forward, following opposition from the Liberal Democrats. The Queen's Speech in 2015 promised an Investigatory Powers Bill, which is expected to replicate features of the earlier draft Bill.
Regulation of Synthetic Biology
Published 12 June 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0497
Synthetic biology can be defined as the design and engineering of novel biologically-based parts, devices and systems or the redesign of existing biological systems. It may deliver potential benefits across a wide range of applications. However, some future applications may raise social and ethical issues and challenge current regulatory systems.This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and challenges.
Trends in Political Participation
Published 12 June 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0498
Over the last fifty years in the UK, some aspects of participation in formal politics have decreased, such as political party membership. But new forms of participation, such as online activism, have emerged, which may become increasingly important, especially for younger people. This POSTnote discusses trends in political participation, with a focus on new forms, drivers of these trends and how UK democratic institutions are responding.
Landfill Tax (Qualifying Fines) Order 2015
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7228
Following a consultation exercise, in December 2014 the Coalition Government confirmed that from 1 April 2015, landfill site operators would be able to use a new 'Loss on Ignition' (LOI) test, to ensure they charged the right rate of landfill tax on 'fines' - residual waste from waste processing. Operators would be able to charge the lower rate of tax on 'fines' meeting certain criteria. This Order would introduce the new test. It is not expected to have an Exchequer impact.
The Living Wage
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN06675
The living wage is an hourly rate of pay set annually by reference to the basic cost of living in the UK and London. The current living wage is £7.85 per hour outside London and £9.15 per hour in London.
Building the new private rented sector: issues and prospects (England)
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN07094
Building more private rented sector homes: Looking at measures by Government and policy proposals from those within the sector to increase the supply of privately rented properties in England.
Industries in the UK
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN06623
This note presents data on the value and relative contribution of major industries to the UK economy
The Lausanne Accord with Iran
Published 12 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7178
The nuclear negotiations with Iran took a big step forward with the announcement of a framework for a full agreement, to be signed by the end of June 2015. Will they make it across the finishing line?
Devolution of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament: recent developments
Published 11 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN07077
This paper discusses the proposals made by the Smith Commission - in its report published in November 2014 - for further devolution of power to the Scottish Government, in relation to taxation, funding and borrowing, and the Government’s plans for their implementation.
The prescription charge and other NHS charges
Published 11 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7227
This briefing outlines the provisions for prescription, dental and other NHS charges under NHS legislation.
Fixed odds betting terminals
Published 11 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN06946
Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are electronic machines, sited in betting shops, which contain a variety of games, including roulette. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games. The maximum stake on a single bet is £100, the maximum prize is £500. Critics of the machines claim that they have a causal role in problem gambling.

Topic: Gambling

Money Laundering Regulations
Published 11 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN02592
Money Laundering Regulations. By Tim Edmonds. SN/BT/2592.
Government bank rescues: financial consequences
Published 11 June 2015 | Commons Briefing papers SN05748
This standard note gives some basic numbers concerning the government's net expenditure on banks rescued during the financial crisis of 2008-9 and the debts owed to it by other organisations.

Displaying 1-20 out of 5608

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House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

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The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.


The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.

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