Newly published official publications from:
Westminster and the UK Government
Nuclear weapons – at a glance: “This landing page features a new series of Commons Library briefings on the policies, capabilities and programmes of the nuclear weapon states.
There are nine countries in the world that possess nuclear weapons. Between them they hold an estimated 13,400 nuclear warheads. 9,340 of those are thought to be operational nuclear warheads.
The House of Commons Library is writing a series of briefings examining, at a glance, the nuclear policies, capabilities and modernisation programmes of the nine nuclear weapon states.“
Student loan statistics:: “Student loans are the main method of direct government support for higher education students. More than £17 billion is loaned to students each year. The value of outstanding loans at the end of March 20 reached £140 billion. The Government forecasts the value of outstanding loans to be around £560 billion (2019‑20 prices) by the middle of this century. The expansion of loans has raised questions about graduate repayments and ultimately the cost of the system to the taxpayer.”
Coronavirus: Getting people back into work: “The coronavirus pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a substantial impact on the UK labour market. The evolving impact is tracked in the library paper Coronavirus: Impact on the labour market.
By September 2020, employment levels had fallen by around half a million people from levels prior to the pandemic, while unemployment levels had risen by around 250,000. The OBR has projected a rise in unemployment of 800,000 in the second quarter of 2020, following the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, peaking at a total of 2.6 million.”
The Scottish Parliament and Government
Short-term lets – licensing scheme and planning control areas: consultation analysis: “Report on the Scottish Government’s short term lets: consultation on a licensing scheme and planning control areas in Scotland which ran from 14 September to 16 October 2020.”
What is social security co-ordination and why does it matter for Scotland?: “This briefing explains what EU social security co-ordination is, who and which benefits are covered, and the four basic principles which underpin the system. It is the first in a series of three briefings on Scottish social security and Brexit being produced under the Parliament’s academic fellowship scheme.“
Adult social care and support in Scotland: “This briefing describes how adult social care and support operates in Scotland. It includes information on the history, key legislation and policy to help explain the ‘system’ that comprises adult social care and support. It includes data from key sources and a summary of written evidence provided to the Health and Sport Committee’s social care inquiry in 2020.“
The European Union
Getting the future right: Artificial intelligence and fundamental rights : report: “Artificial intelligence (AI) already plays a role in deciding what unemployment benefits someone gets, where a burglary is likely to take place, whether someone is at risk of cancer, or who sees that catchy advertisement for low mortgage rates. Its use keeps growing, presenting seemingly endless possibilities. But we need to make sure to fully uphold fundamental rights standards when using AI. This report presents concrete examples of how companies and public administrations in the EU are using, or trying to use, AI. It focuses on four core areas – social benefits, predictive policing, health services and targeted advertising. The report discusses the potential implications for fundamental rights and analyses how such rights are taken into account when using or developing AI applications. In so doing, it aims to help ensure that the future EU regulatory framework for AI is firmly grounded in respect for human and fundamental rights.”
Employee monitoring and surveillance: The challenges of digitalisation: “New digital technologies have expanded the possibilities of employee monitoring and surveillance, both in and outside the workplace. In the context of the increasing digitalisation of work, there are many issues related to employee monitoring that warrant the attention of policymakers. As well as the often-cited privacy and ethical concerns, there are also important implications for worker–employer relations, as digitally enabled monitoring and surveillance inevitably shift power dynamics in the workplace. Based on input from the Network of Eurofound Correspondents, this report explores the regulatory approaches to workplace monitoring in Europe, and the many challenges arising from the use of new digital technologies. Drawing from empirical and qualitative research, the report also provides some insight into the extent of employee monitoring in Europe and the implications for job quality and work organisation.”
Data subjects, digital surveillance, AI and the future of work: “The report provides an in-depth overview of the social, political and economic urgencies in identifying what we call the ‘new surveillance workplace’. The report assesses the range of technologies that are being introduced to monitor, track and, ultimately, watch workers, and looks at the immense changes they imbue in several arenas. How are institutions responding to the widespread uptake of new tracking technologies in workplaces, from the office, to the contact centre, to the factory? What are the parameters to protect the privacy and other rights of workers, given the unprecedented and ever-pervasive functions of monitoring technologies? The report evidences how and where new technologies are being implemented; looks at the impact that surveillance workspaces are having on the employment relationship and on workers themselves at the psychosocial level; and outlines the social, legal and institutional frameworks within which this is occurring, across the EU and beyond, ultimately arguing that more worker representation is necessary to protect the data rights of workers.”
Office for National Statistics
A “new normal”? How people spent their time after the March 2020 coronavirus lockdown: “During the first national coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, many people in Great Britain were forced to make changes to their lifestyles. But it appears that some of those changes may not have lasted long.
Between March to April 2020 and September to October 2020 we have socialised more, slept less, and reverted to older patterns, such as women doing 99% more unpaid childcare than men. Our analysis shows the change in average time spent on different activities.”
Coronavirus and the social impacts on different ethnic groups in the UK: 2020: “Estimates from the Understanding Society: COVID-19 Study, 2020, UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) to explore the social impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people from different ethnic groups in the UK.”
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