issue brief

Fuel duties

Most oils, including road fuels, are subject to excise duties. The system of duties is administered by HM Customs and Excise, and revenues are collected from manufacturers and importers of liable oil products. This means that none of the price paid by the motorist at the petrol pump goes directly to the state. Rather, it reflects the price charged by the manufacturer or importer to the distributor or retailer, which is passed on in turn to the consumer.Read More

Gay Marriage

'Gay marriage' is a term used for marriage between two people of the same sex.Read More


What are GCSEs? GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. GCSE examinations are taken by most pupils at the end of compulsory school education (year 11)in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. GCSE provides a uniform framework for assessment, with all candidates in all subjects graded from A* to G (with U being the result...Read More


Gibraltar is a small British Dependent Territory, connected to southern Spain by a narrow strip of land, which has been regarded as important throughout history because of its crucial strategic position as one of the 'Pillars of Hercules' that stands at the Mediterranean's opening into the Atlantic.Read More

GM crop trials

Genetically modified crops are plants in which genes are altered in the laboratory to make them perform in a very specific way, such as not being harmed by certain herbicides.Read More

Grammar Schools

What are grammar schools? Grammar schools are state secondary schools, which select their pupils by means of an examination taken by children at age 11, known as the "11 Plus". Pupils who pass the exam go to the local grammar school, while pupils who do not go to the local "secondary modern school". Most parts...Read More

Green Belt

What is the Green Belt? A Green Belt is an area of land protected from development. Green Belt land surrounds cities and towns to inhibit ‘urban sprawl’, prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another, preserve the countryside and the setting and character of historic towns, and assist in urban regeneration by promoting ‘brownfield’ development (development...Read More

Gulf War Syndrome

'Gulf War Syndrome' is the phrase coined by the media to describe the unattributable illnesses showing in veterans of the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990.Read More

Gun Crime

Unlike in America, there is little debate between pro-gun control and pro-gun ownership lobbies in the UK. There is general public consensus against ownership of handguns, which is enforced under strict legislation. Guns for sport are more readily accepted, but are controlled by a strict licensing regime.Read More

High Speed 2 (HS2) examines the issues surrounding High Speed 2 (HS2), including the background, controversies, statistics and key quotes. Read More


'HIV' stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV attacks the body's immune system, reducing its ability to fight off infections. Read More

Home Information Packs (Hips)

What are home information packs From August 1st 2007 anyone marketing a property in the UK, or their representative, had been legally required to produce a home information pack (HIP) for the prospective buyer. However, the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government elected in May 2010 announced that HIPs would be abolished. The requirement for sellers...Read More

Honours System

The UK honours system is a means by which individuals are recognised and rewarded for merit, bravery, achievement, or services to the country.Read More

House of Commons – guide

It is the settled constitutional position of the United Kingdom that sovereignty rests with parliament. Read More

House of Lords Reform

The House of Lords is the second chamber of Parliament and is also called the Upper House. Because it is not elected, it does not have the same powers as the Commons, but it retains the right to revise and scrutinise the Government's actions and legislation.Read More

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit (HB) is an income-related social security welfare scheme to help people pay their rent. It is also sometimes referred to as Rent Allowance or Rent Rebate. The scheme is only open to people living in rented accommodation (including council and social housing) and on low incomes.Read More

Human Rights

Human rights are rights that are deemed to belong to all people as such - that is, by virtue of their humanity. In the past, rights so conceived have more commonly been known as natural rights or "the rights of man". Read More

Hunting with dogs (fox hunting)

Hunting with dogs has been practised widely across rural Britain, involving the pursuit and usually killing of animals with one or more dogs, frequently followed by riders on horseback.Read More

Identity Cards

What are identity cards? The UK has traditionally not had a system of identity cards during peacetime, with the idea of officials asking for citizens’ papers long seen as something highly alien to Britain. Identity cards are used for a variety of purposes, but the basic principle underlying them all is that the bearer of...Read More