• Research Briefing

    Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill Bill No 4 of 2010/11

    The Bill proposes reducing regulatory burdens on trade unions in relation to the balloting and notice requirements for lawful industrial action. It extends the provision for small accidental errors contained in section 232B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The burden of proof in applications by an employer to restrain strike action by injunction will be changed. The employer will have to show that the union has failed to achieve “substantial compliance” with the ballot and notice requirements.

  • Research Briefing

    Equitable Life (Payments) Bill [Bill 62 of 2010-11]

    This paper has been written for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. The Bill provides the authority for a payments scheme for eligible former and current Equitable Life policyholders in respect of the consequences of maladministration by regulatory bodies as identified by the Ombudsman and accepted by government. The paper outlines the commercial problems of Equitable Life; the series of investigations into the regulation of its activities; and the work of the office of Sir John Chadwick in devising principles for designing a workable system of payments. The Bill is a short, simple and technical measure. Although the precise shape of the payments scheme is as yet unknown, this Bill provides the authority for money to be paid once it is set up and clarifies the tax treatment of future payments.

  • Research Briefing

    Keydata Investment Services in administration

    Keydata Investment Services was placed into administration by the Financial Services Authority in June 2009. The administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, found a number of serious issues at the company, one of which was that many products sold as ISAs were in fact ineligible for tax-free saving status. More seriously, they subsequently found that income on certain investment products had not been paid in recent months, and, in the case of one type of investment, they had been unable to satisfy themselves as to the safe custody of the underlying assets", and suggested that "the assets have been liquidated and may have been misappropriated".

  • Research Briefing

    Taxpayer direct support to banks

    This Standard Note considers the Government's interventions ("direct support") in four major UK banks, namely Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Lloyds Banking Group (formerly Lloyds TSB and Halifax/Bank of Scotland). It considers the background of the "direct support" in the four banks, the role of the Government-owned UK Financial Investments Ltd in managing the taxpayers stakes in these banks, and the current valuation of these interventions. It also considers when the taxpayers' shareholdings in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group might be sold, and the possible privatisation of Northern Rock, and Bradford and Bingley.

  • Research Briefing

    Economic indicators, July 2010

    This Research Paper series summarises the main economic indicators currently available for the UK, along with comparisons with other major OECD countries. This edition includes articles on future growth in the UK economy, and the CPI and benefit indexation. [article:'Future growth in the UK economy' and 'The CPI and benefit indexation']

  • Research Briefing

    Digital Economy Act 2010

    The Digital Economy Act 2010 received the Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 following accelerated debate in the House of Commons as part of the pre-election "wash-up". The present Government has confirmed that there are no plans to repeal any of the Act's provisions

  • Research Briefing

    Metrication

    This note sets out the debate about the continued use of imperial measures and where they are still permitted in law.