How is the increasing size of the private rented sector affecting UK Government policy? How are private landlords and letting agents regulated? How secure are private tenants in their housing? What are the main aspects of the debate around affordability and rent control? And how are private rented sector policies affecting Government housing policies more broadly?

The devolution settlement in Northern Ireland collapsed in January 2017 following a row over the handling of a renewable energy scheme. This came after almost 10 years of continuous power-sharing between the Unionist and Nationalist parties – principally the DUP and Sinn Féin. As part of this arrangement, various powers were devolved from the UK Parliament to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive. How is this devolution settlement supposed to operate in Northern Ireland? How is Northern Ireland being governed in the absence of a fully functioning Assembly or Executive? And what impact is Brexit having on Northern Irish politics? We tackle these questions and more in this episode of the Commons Library Podcast.

How much does the Ministry of Defence budget for equipment for the armed forces? Why has the budget been deemed 'unaffordable'? How does the MoD plan what equipment is needed for future conflicts and interventions and why are MPs concerned over shipbuilding?

  • What is the difference between Government borrowing and debt? What's the current state of public finances? Does it matter that debt is currently at 85% of GDP? And what effect might Brexit have?

  • How are water, energy and broadband prices calculated? How do these different utilities operate? How are they regulated? And what does this mean for everyday consumers?

  • How far has the roll out of Universal Credit come? What's the difference between 'managed' and 'natural' migration? Are there likely to be further delays? And what are the implications of recent High Court judgments?