issue brief

National Air Traffic Services

Air traffic control (ATC) is the management of aviation traffic. The principal aim of ATC is to ensure the safety of air transport - both civil and military. ATC in the UK is provided by National Air Traffic Services (NATS), a commercial enterprise that charges airlines fees for providing its services.Read More

National Blood Service

The National Blood Service is an NHS body responsible for the collection and distribution of blood and blood components in England and North Wales.Read More

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an agency of the National Health Service charged with promoting clinical excellence in NHS service providers in England and Wales, by developing guidance and recommendations on the effectiveness of treatments and medical procedures.Read More

National Insurance

National Insurance is a social insurance scheme, under which people become eligible for particular social security benefits - known as "contributory benefits" - through a history of contributions to the scheme made by themselves and by their employers.Read More

National Minimum Wage

The national minimum wage (NMW) is the hourly rate below which adult workers in most sectors of the British economy must not be paid. Read More

National Parks

Some areas of particularly significant and unspoiled natural heritage have been designated as National Parks to preserve their character and ecosystems for public enjoyment.Read More


The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a multilateral military and political alliance designed to secure the peace and security of its member states.Read More

Network Rail

Network Rail (NR) was set up in 2002 to replace Railtrack as the body responsible for Britain's rail network. Read More

NHS (National Health Service)

What is the NHS? The National Health Service is the UK's publicly funded healthcare system. Founded on the principle that good healthcare should be available equally to rich and poor alike, the NHS provides treatment 'free at the point of use' for all UK residents. Although funded centrally from taxation, the devolved administrations of Scotland,...Read More

NHS Direct

NHS Direct is a nurse-led telephone information service, which provides basic healthcare advice to callers and directs those with more serious complaints to the appropriate part of the wider NHS. It is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is one of the largest telemedicine services in the world.Read More

NHS Prescription Charges

NHS prescription charges are paid by patients for drugs or other treatments prescribed for them by a National Health Service medical practitioner.Read More

North Korea

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, occupies the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, bordering China and Russia to the north, and South Korea to the south. Its capital is Pyongyang.Read More

Northern Ireland Assembly

The Northern Ireland Assembly was established by the Northern Ireland (Elections) Act 1998, and elections were held to elect 108 members under the Proportional Representation Single Transferable Vote system.Read More

Northern Ireland Peace Process

The sectarian division of Northern Ireland into unionists and nationalists has been a source of strife ever since the Partition of Ireland in 1920, and the moves towards complete Irish independence from the UK in the 1930s and 1940s.Read More

Nuclear Deterrence

The strategic concept of deterrence aims to prevent war. It is the justification virtually every nuclear state uses for maintaining nuclear arsenals, including the UK.Read More