issue brief

Speed Cameras

"Speed cameras" is the common name given to safety cameras operated by local police forces as a means of enforcing speed limits on dangerous roads. Safety cameras are also used to enforce traffic signals, by photographing vehicles driving through red lights.Read More

State Opening of Parliament/The Queen’s Speech

The State Opening, with all its pageantry and pomp, marks the beginning of a new Parliamentary Session. The monarch comes to the Palace of Westminster and announces the Government’s legislative programme for the coming Session to dignitaries and peers in all their finery and to MPs called to the House of Lords for the occasion....Read More

Teachers’ pay

State school teachers are employed by Local Education Authorities or the governing bodies of their schools, but their pay and conditions are set centrally by the Education Secretary.Read More

Tobacco Advertising

Tobacco Advertising refers to the promotion of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, in the media and at retail outlets.Read More

Tobacco duty

Properly referred to as Tobacco Products Duty, but more widely known by its shortened name, Tobacco Duty is an excise duty charged on purchases of tobacco products.Read More

Tuition Fees

The Coalition government elected in May 2010 announced its intention to radically reform higher education and student finance. In November 2010 the new government outlined plans to raise the cap on tuition fees in England from 2012 to £6000 and up to £9000 "in exceptional cases".Read More


Unemployment is an economic indicator that refers to the number or proportion of people in an economy who are willing and able to work, but are unable to get a job; a person in this situation is said to be unemployed. Read More

United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an international organisation of 193 independent states - nearly every recognised independent state in the world. Read More

Vehicle Excise Duty

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is an annual tax on the ownership of road vehicles, frequently referred to as "car tax" although it applies equally to vans, lorries and motorcycles.Read More

Voting Systems and Electoral Reform

Proportional Representation (PR) is the principle behind a number of electoral systems, all of which attempt to ensure that the outcome of the election reflects the proportion of support gained by each competing group.Read More

Water regulation and Ofwat

The Water Services Regulation Authority, better known as Ofwat, is the independent economic regulator of the privatised water and sewerage industry in England and Wales.Read More

Welsh Independence

Wales was last an independent principality in 1282, when Edward I of England finally defeated the Prince of Wales, Llywelyn the Last, after years of on-off warfare and manoeuvring. Edward named his son as Prince of Wales in 1301 to seal his victory.Read More


Whaling is the hunting and killing of whales for commercial, recreational or scientific purposes.Read More

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is a permanent institution which agrees, governs and administers the rules of the international trading system. The WTO's member states together contribute around 90 per cent of world trade.Read More

Written constitution

A written constitution is a formal document defining the nature of the constitutional settlement, the rules that govern the political system and the rights of citizens and governments in a codified form. Read More

Young Offender Institutions

Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are prisons for 15-21 year olds. They are run by the Prison Service as part of the prison estate as a whole.Read More


The Republic of Zimbabwe is a landlocked state in the south of the African continent and was formerly the British colony of Southern Rhodesia.Read More