This week in the Lords (13-16 November) – the preview…

Parliament returns after the short November recess, and whilst some members of both chambers have been on Parliamentary delegations, the majority of Peers will still be wondering what might happen next. It’s a busy enough week though.

Monday sees the Committee Stage of the European Union (Approvals) Bill (don’t get excited). Despite our taking the road towards Brexit, there are still bits of business to transact, and in this case it is permitting the participation of Albania and Serbia in the work of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, plus the signing and conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and Canada regarding the application of their competition laws. Ah well, we might as well benefit whilst we can.

There’s also the third day of the Committee Stage of the Data Protection Bill, when the noble Lords Clement-Jones and Paddick will no doubt probe away. Day 4 is on Wednesday.

Dominic Addington has an Oral Question on the payment of assessment by dyslexic students for Disabled Students’ Allowance. I admit that I hadn’t appreciated that the cost of any needs assessment is met from the total amount of DSA available to them, and that it can be as much as £600.

Sometimes, it can seem a bit quiet in the Lords, and Tuesday looks like one of those days. The only legislation to be debated is the Space Industry Bill, although Sue Miller will be seeking the Government’s view on The likely effect of Brexit on UK food prices over the next five years.

Away from the chamber, Select Committees are carrying on with their less well-publicised work, looking into such subjects as life sciences and the industrial strategy, political polling and digital media, artificial intelligence and the economics of higher, further and technical education.

The Finance Bill takes centre stage on Wednesday, although the Lords doesn’t have much input. Indeed, the Bill will have its Second Reading, Committee Stage, Report Stage and Third Reading, all on the same day. Susan Kramer leads for us on this, and one therefore can at least be reassured that one speaker will have a firm grasp of the subject matter.

Alan Beith has a question on the expected report of the English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review, and the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee are looking at Brexit as it impacts on reciprocal healthcare arrangements.

Thursday is a busier day for Liberal Democrats, with oral questions from Mike Storey on reducing the number of young women who are self-harming, and from Sarah Ledford on an adequacy decision for data transfers between the UK and the EU after Brexit. I’ll be honest, the latter is a bit too technical for me, so if someone wants to explain this in the comments, or write a piece for Liberal Democrat Voice, I’d be quite relieved.

Archy Kirkwood and John Shipley go into bat for us in a debate on the impact of Universal Credit on claimants. Frankly, the notion of combining benefits to reduce the administration costs has been lost amidst attempts by the Government to use the opportunity to withdraw support from some of the neediest in our society.

And that’s it for another week. I’ll be back next week with another preview.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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