Newly published official publications from :
Westminster and the UK Government
Reading list on UK-EU relations 2013-16: reform, renegotiation, withdrawal – “The Commons Library has compiled a selection of books, journal and press articles, think tank, parliamentary and library publications relevant to the UK’s renegotiation of its membership of the European Union. This reading list accompanies a series of Commons Library briefing papers on the EU reform proposals and negotiations by the UK, and a possible EU exit.“
The School Day and Year – “The rules and debate relating to the setting of school hours and term times. Do children benefit from a longer school day or year?”
ISIS/Daesh: the military response in Iraq and Syria – “US-led air strikes against ISIS continue in Iraq and Syria, alongside a training programme to build the capacity of Iraqi security forces. The UK has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq since September 2014 and has been providing training assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga. Following a vote in Parliament, the UK recently expanded its air campaign into Syria. How is the campaign progressing?“
The European Union
Exploring tomorrow’s organised crime – “This report outlines key driving factors for the evolution of serious and organised crime in the EU. The document describes these key drivers, their impact on serious and organised crime and the potential impact on individual crime areas and organised crime groups (OCGs). It does not claim to make definitive predictions or provide a complete picture of crime in the future, but rather aims to outline plausible developments and to encourage law enforcement authorities to consider and explore the potential evolution of serious and organised crime.”
Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare – “The study aims at (1) understanding the relationship between Europeans and animal welfare, (2) assessing European awareness and perceived importance of EU activities in this field; (3) Determining European views on availability and recognition of animal welfare friendly products. The study shows that citizens attach a great importance to animal welfare. They want to receive more information on the conditions in which farm animals are treated. EU citizens believe that it is important to establish international welfare standards and the EU should promote greater awareness of animal welfare at global level. They also declare to be ready to pay more for animal welfare friendly products but think that their availability is still limited.”
Why is cash still killing? – “A strategic report on the use of cash by criminal groups as a facilitator for money laundering.
In spite of steady growth in non-cash payment methods and a moderate decline in the use of cash for payments, the total value of euro banknotes in circulation continues to rise year-on-year beyond the rate of inflation. Cash is largely used for low value payments and its use for transaction purposes is estimated to account for around one-third of banknotes in circulation. Meanwhile the demand for high denomination notes, such as the EUR 500 note, not commonly associated with payments, has been sustained. These are anomalies which may be linked to criminal activity. Perhaps the most significant finding around cash is that there is insufficient information around its use, both for legitimate and illicit purposes. The nature of cash and the nature of criminal finances mean that there is little, if any, reliable data available on the scale and use of cash by ordinary citizens, let alone by criminals.“
The Scottish Parliament and Government
Scottish Social Attitudes 2015: Attitudes to Government, the National Health Service, the Economy and Standard of Living – “This report provides the findings of the core module of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2015 on attitudes to government, the National Health Service, the economy and standard of living. The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has tracked attitudes since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. The 2015 findings are presented in this context.”
Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – SB 16-31 – “Stage 3 proceedings on the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill are scheduled to take place on 22 March 2016.
This briefing considers a number of the key issues raised during the Justice Committee’s stage 1 consideration of the Bill and also considers some of the key amendments lodged at stage 2 in relation to those issues. The briefing focusses on provisions in the Bill dealing with: domestic abuse; the disclosure or threatened disclosure of intimate images (“revenge porn”); and statutory jury directions relating to sexual offences.”
Scottish Government proposals for Council Tax reform – SB 16-28 – “This Briefing discusses and analyses the Scottish Government’s recent proposals to reform Council Tax, in response to the report of the Commission on Local Tax Reform.“
Office for National Statistics
NHS Scotland Statistics – “How does the NHS perform in Scotland? Key statistics and trends on A&E waiting times, ambulance performance, waiting times (including for diagnostic tests, cancer and mental health), workforce, bed occupancy, delayed discharges, healthcare associated infections and health expenditure
Health is a devolved policy area in Scotland, and the Scottish NHS differs in many regards from the NHS in other parts of the UK, in terms of structure, policy and performance. This briefing paper looks at statistics, key trends, and, where possible, comparison with other parts of the UK…“
Consumer price inflation basket of goods and services: 2016 – “The ‘shopping basket’ of items making up the suite of consumer price inflation indices (CPI, CPIH, RPIJ and RPI) are reviewed every year. Some items are taken out of the basket, some are brought in, to reflect changes in the market and to make sure the indices are up to date and representative of consumer spending patterns. This article describes the review process and explains how and why the various items in the inflation baskets are chosen.“
Contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours: March 2016 – “…biannual estimates of the number of contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours (NGHC), based on a survey of businesses. These estimates were first produced on 30 April 2014. They complement the figures from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which show the number of people who report that they are on a “zero-hours contract” in their main employment. This report includes the latest figures from the LFS for October to December 2015 as well as new estimates from the fourth and fifth survey of businesses for May and November 2015, respectively.”
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