• Research Briefing

    Health and safety

    This note sets out the framework of how the health and safety law operates, with a particular focus on the criminal law established by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

  • Research Briefing

    Wreck Removal Convention Bill 2010-11

    This note briefly describes the Wreck Removal Convention Bill 2010-11; a Private Members' Bill sponsored by Dr Thérèse Coffey MP. The Bill provides measures to enable the United Kingdom to ratify and implement the International Convention for the Removal of Wrecks. It would insert new sections and a Schedule into the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

  • Research Briefing

    Reforming financial markets III: commodity trading

    This is one of a series of notes which looks at actual or proposed reforms of either certain parts of the financial services sector or reforms of certain activities. The entire sector has received worldwide attention from regulators, governments, consumer and intra-industry and professional groups following the financial crisis which began in 2007. Whilst the 'rescue and recovery' phase of the crisis is (mainly) past, and the consultation and consideration phase nearing its climax, the legislative phase is still to come. This note looks at the arguments surrounding commodity speculation and its impact on the real world of commodity prices. A growing number of economic commentators and charity groups have highlighted what they see as a link between growing and ever more sophisticated forms of financial speculation (distinct from the traditional, real, commodity trading and hedging activities) and the volatility of food and other commodity prices. The statistical evidence from various surveys presents a more mixed picture on the links between speculation and price increases. Financial speculation does appear to make commodity prices more volatile but does not provide much of an explanation for the specific movement of individual prices in the short term. Regulators have their own concerns over the methods used by traders and dealers. Most trades are carried out using derivative swap instruments outside of the more open, transparent regulated exchanges. The note outlines what measures are being promoted to improve the regulation of the financial markets involved with these matters.

  • Research Briefing

    Rectification procedure

    This note reviews the origins and evolution of the rectification procedure. It notes how many times it has been used. It sets out John Lyon's proposals to change it. It reports the BBC's coverage of Sir George Young's letter to the Committee on Standards and Privileges. Finally, it outlines the Committee on Standards and Privileges' recommendations, and the House's decisions.

  • Research Briefing

    Loans to Ireland Bill. [Bill 125 of 2010-11]

    This paper on the Loans to Ireland Bill has been prepared for the Second Reading Debate on the Bill in the House of Commons. The Bill authorises the Treasury to loan up to £3.25bn to Ireland, and contains an order-making power to increase this limit subject to affirmative procedure in the Commons. It also arranges for six-monthly reporting to Parliament on the status of the loan. All Commons stages were taken on 15 December 2010.

  • Research Briefing

    Savings Account and Health in Pregnancy Grant Bill: Committee Stage Report

    The Bill gives effect to decisions made as part of the initial review of public expenditure undertaken soon after the 2010 General Election. This Paper summarises proceedings in the Commons Committee Stage of the Bill. Several amendments proposed but none were successful. The paper complements Research Paper 10/66, which was prepared for the Second Reading of the Bill.