Westminster & the UK Government
Gigabit-broadband: Funding for rural and hard to reach areas – “As of January 2022, 64% of UK premises had a gigabit-broadband connection available, according to the telecoms regulator, Ofcom. That’s a connection that can support download speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second.
The Government’s target is for gigabit-broadband to be available nationwide by 2030, with 85% of premises expected to be met by 2025. Nationwide coverage means “at least 99%”.
Around 20% of premises, mostly in rural areas, are estimated to require public funding to deliver gigabit-broadband. This briefing looks at current and past government funding programmes for gigabit-broadband roll-out. These programmes follow the Government’s previous publicly-funded superfast broadband programme.”
NATO enlargement: Sweden and Finland – “Sweden and Finland have applied to join NATO, ending decades of neutrality and non-alignment. Both countries say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and domestic re-appraisals of their security environment, has prompted them to seek to formally join the Euro-Atlantic security alliance.
NATO has an ‘open door’ policy and any European country is eligible to join NATO. The only requirement for any applicant is that they are in a position to further the principles of the founding Washington Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”
Scottish Devolution: Section 30 Orders – “A section 30 Order is a type of subordinate or secondary legislation which is made under the Scotland Act 1998. It can be used to increase or restrict – temporarily or permanently – the Scottish Parliament’s legislative authority. It does this by altering the list of “reserved powers” set out in Schedule 5, and/or the protections against modification set out in Schedule 4 of that Act.
Such Orders have been used several times since 1999. The most high-profile example was the Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedule 5) Order 2013, which temporarily devolved authority to legislate for a Scottish independence referendum. This took place on 18 September 2014.
Section 30 Orders can be initiated either by the Scottish or UK Governments but require approval by the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament before becoming law. There are equivalent provisions in the Government of Wales Act 2006 and Northern Ireland Act 1998.”
Scottish Parliament & Government
Intergovernmental relations – “This briefing is about intergovernmental relations in the UK. It describes the UK’s intergovernmental architecture and discusses reforms proposed as part of a recent joint review of intergovernmental relations by the UK Government and devolved governments.”
Independence in the modern world. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland? – “This paper sets out a detailed analysis of the UK’s performance across a range of economic and social indicators relative to that of ten European countries. It is the first in the ‘Building a new Scotland‘ series, focusing on independence.”
Biodiversity strategy: consultation – “Biodiversity is vital for us all and it is in crisis, globally and in Scotland, so we need to change the way we use natural resources. We are seeking views on how we should tackle the biodiversity crisis through a new biodiversity strategy which will drive this transformation.”
War in Ukraine: implications for the ECB – “The war in Ukraine, overlapping with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, is causing a significant economic impact on the euro area economy. On the rise since mid-2021, annual headline inflation in the euro area surpassed 8% in May 2022. Previously driven mainly by increasing energy prices and supply chain bottlenecks, inflationary pressure is becoming more persistent and broad-based. The European Central Bank (ECB) is now facing a difficult challenge: commencing a monetary policy tightening cycle while, at the same time, avoiding triggering a recession and financial instability. Five papers were prepared by the ECON Committee’s Monetary Expert Panel, looking into current monetary policy challenges in the context of the war in Ukraine. This publication is provided by Policy Department A for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), ahead of the Monetary Dialogue with ECB President Lagarde on 20 June 2022.”
Key challenges of our times – the EU in 2022 – “European citizens support massively a common security and defence policy (81%) and expect the EU to phase out its dependency on Russian sources of energy (87%). The survey also confirms the large support for the EU’s response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine (59%).”
Integration of Immigrants in the European Union – “People tend to overestimate the number of third country nationals as a proportion of the population of their country (68%). Only 38% of Europeans consider themselves well informed about migration and integration. More than half of respondents (56%) receive information on these topics through traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers), while the second largest information source (15%) is social media and networks. At the same time, a strong majority of Europeans (70%) view integration as a two-way process, in which both host societies and immigrants play an important role. Half of Europeans agree that integration of migrants is successful in their city or local area, while slightly less (42%) think the same about integration in their country. Just over half of Europeans (53%) agree that their national government is doing enough to promote the integration of migrants into society. A clear majority (69%) of respondents agree that it is necessary for their country to invest in integrating migrants. Moreover, three out of four Europeans (75%) believe that the integration needs of migrants should be taken into account when designing measures to fight the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
History of the census: 1801 to 2021 – “How the census in England and Wales has evolved over 220 years, from the first census in 1801 to 2021 and the future of population statistics.”
Insurance and pensions methods changes: 1997 to 2020 – “Improvements in calculating estimates for the insurance companies and pension funds subsector. Changes to the financial and non-financial accounts resulting from methods and data source changes.”
Socio-demographic differences in use of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services, England: April 2017 to March 2018 – “Characteristics of patients treated in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services and whether patients are representative of the population with a probable Common Mental Disorder (CMD) as defined by the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) in England. This identifies groups with lower access to IAPT to help to improve the coverage of the service.”
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