issue brief

3G mobile telecommunications

What is 3G? 3G – short for third generation – is a generic term for the next generation of mobile telecommunications systems. Mobile phones today are predominantly ‘2G’, and use the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) digital systems. These protocols support high bit-rate voice communications and limited data...Read More


A-Levels are properly referred to as the Advanced General Certificate of Education. They are one of the types of principal examination course studied by pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland immediately after the conclusion of compulsory education,Read More


What is abortion? Abortion describes the medical procedure for the premature termination of pregnancy. Abortion procedures change according to the gestation (stage) of the pregnancy. The gestation is measured in weeks counting from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period. These methods range from the administration of drugs at early stages, through to...Read More


What are Academies? In the English education system academies are publicly-funded schools which operate independently of local authorities within a framework designed to promote innovation, raise school standards and increase levels of achievement for all children. Academies have greater autonomy than traditional state schools in areas such as delivery of the curriculum, setting staff pay...Read More

Adoption and Fostering

Adoption is the term given for the permanent transfer of legal rights in relation to the parental responsibility of a child. Foster care describes the temporary acquisition of guardianship rights in relation to a child. Foster care is often used when a child is waiting to be adopted or the courts are considering an adoption order. Read More

Air Pollution

The European Environment Agency defines air pollution as "the presence of contaminant or pollutant substances in the air at a concentration that interferes with human health or welfare, or produces other harmful environmental effects."Read More

Airport expansion – London

London airports have seen continued passenger growth since the end of 2008 and London's three largest airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) are all expected to be at capacity by 2030. This predicted growth in demand has prompted a national debate on how best to provide more capacity in the future for London and the South East.Read More

Alcohol duties

Most products containing alcohol are subject to a series of excise duties: either spirits duty, wine and made wine duty, beer duty or cider and perry duty. These duties are collected by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and are levied on manufacturers and importers.Read More

Ambulance Service

The ambulance service is the emergency response wing of the National Health Service (NHS).Read More


Angling is the capture of fish for recreational purposes. It therefore may be distinguished from commercial fishing.Read More

Animal Testing

Both live and deceased animals are used for commercial or scientific research or educational purposes in a range of capacities.Read More

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare relates to the general health and well-being of animals and covers a wide range of issues, from the care of family pets to concerns about exploitation and abuse.Read More

Aviation expansion

The aviation industry experienced massive growth in the 1980s and 1990s. The UK was one of the principal beneficiaries of this growth, and today, it has an aviation sector that is second only to that of the USA.Read More

Aviation Noise

Aviation noise is unwanted sound generated by aircraft, and it is a serious and growing problem in the UK. As airports expand and air services increase, more and more homes are exposed for large parts of the day to a persistent background noise from aircraft.Read More

Battery hens and broiler chickens

Battery hens and broiler chickens are the terms used to describe poultry raised in "industrial" highly intensive farming environments, for egg production and meat production, respectively.Read More


The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is an independent, publicly-funded television and radio broadcasting organisation, with extensive interests in programme production, news gathering and commercial publishing.Read More


What is begging? Begging is the solicitation of money or food, especially in the street. There is a close relationship between begging and homelessness and homeless charity Crisis estimates that over 80 per cent of beggars are homeless. People who beg are among the most vulnerable in society, often trapped in poverty and deprivation, and...Read More

Binge Drinking

What is binge drinking The definition of binge drinking has been open to debate, but has tended to become increasingly more inclusive the higher binge drinking rises up the political agenda. Traditional medical definitions of binge drinking tended to assume a period of intense drinking extending over several days, whereas now journalists and increasingly many...Read More

British Summer Time (BST)

British Summer Time marks the beginning and the end of the official summer season. BST is calculated by putting Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) forward one hour at the start of the period and removing one hour at the end. Read More