Viewing guide: The pick of the week ahead in Parliament

With all the legislative heavy lifting being done by Their Lordships, business in the Commons in the forthcoming week seems, mostly, to be designed to keep the Devil from finding work for MPs' idle hands.

The glaring exception is Tuesday's Autumn Statement by the Chancellor - of which more below. Other than that, we have opposition day debates, backbench debates and general debates with the possibility of the odd bunch of Lords' amendments to assorted bills to process. And that will be the pattern until the end of the current Parliamentary year, in April. Still there are some very good committee hearings in prospect.

Commons business opens on Monday (at 2.30pm) with questions to the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith and his team, before MPs move on to a general debate on "Political developments and security in the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa."

The day's best committee business is probably the appearance by Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express and the Daily Star before the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions - with MPs and peers pondering whether the UK needs a privacy law. Mr Desmond's newspapers have opted out of the Press Complaints Commission, one of the key problems with the current system of self-regulation - especially in the light of the kicking they were given by the McCanns this week at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

But a close runner-up will be the joint committee (of peers and MPs) on Lords reform where Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury will give his thoughts on why - or whether - Church of England Bishops should be retained in a reformed House, whether and how other faiths should be represented among appointed members of a reformed House, and why he is sceptical about the need for an elected second chamber of Parliament. He will be followed by representatives of the British Humanist Association and religious think-tank THEOS

Elsewhere, the Public Accounts Committee has a session on the financial management of local authority schools following this report from the National Audit Office. The Communities and Local Government Committee has a double-headed session on the work of its Department and on financing new house building. And the Public Administration Committee quizzes Francis Maude, the machinery of government supremo in the Cabinet Office, on the Government's plan to split the role of Head of the Civil Service away from that of Cabinet Secretary. Wear your best anorak.

In the Lords, (from 2.30pm) peers continue their detailed scrutiny of the Health and Social Care Bill - on day 8 they will be looking at the provisions on Clinical Commissioning Groups, and the impact of abolishing Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities. They'll also scrutinise the bill's provisions on mental health. There is also a motion from Lord Roper, the peer who heads the Lords' extensive EU scrutiny operation, resolving that changes to EU regulations on distributing food to deprived people falls foul of the principle of subsidiarity - in other words it is a national matter with which the Commission should not be meddling. The motion does not reject the regulations, but instructs the Clerk of the Parliaments (the Lords top official) to pass that view to the Presidents of the European institutions. This is dinner break business - so should be taken at about 7.30pm.

Outside the chamber, the Welfare Reform Bill ends 17 days of detailed debate in Grand Committee - with lots of amendments piling up for the report stage debates before the full House.

Tuesday starts early in the Commons at 1130 - with the Chancellor's Autumn Statement the main item of business. Cynics believe the aim is to get his speech onto the lunchtime news, a belief which has led to much chuntering on the backbenches. But first there will be questions to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague and his team, and a ten-minute rule bill from Labour's Siobhain McDonagh, requiring that people register to vote as a condition of access to public services.

Then comes the Autumn Statement - at about 12.40pm. This is a going to be a difficult moment for the Chancellor, George Osborne, who will have to give his response to disappointing economic growth figures. And he will face challenges on two fronts - there will be the normal blame game with Labour, but there will also be a strong challenge from increasingly unhappy Tory backbenchers, who want tax cuts, deregulation and in some cases an immediate move to cut loose from the EU. There will not be a vote at the end of the statement, so dissent on the Coalition benches and hostility between pro EU Lib Dems and anti EU Tories can only be gauged from the questions which Mr Osborne will face.

MPs will then move on to consider Lords amendments to three bills - the London Olympic and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill, the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure Bill and the Public Bodies Bill.

Then they will move on to debate the National Policy Statements for ports.

There's plenty of high-profile activity on the committee corridor. The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, will be before the Treasury Committee to talk about his latest Quarterly Inflation Report - and, inevitably, that Autumn Statement. (3pm) The committee is attempting to set up further sessions on the statement later in the week - but the details have not yet been nailed down. Meanwhile the Home Affairs Committee (from 10.30) continues its inquiry into Policing Large Scale Disorders - ie the summer riots - with HM Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Dennis O'Connor, and the shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper may give evidence too.

The Foreign Affairs Committee (from 10.10am) will be pondering Britain's response to the "Arab Spring." And the Education Committee will hold its first session on the how exams for 15-19 year-olds in England should be run. It will examine the arguments for having one or more exam boards and the accuracy with which exams are marked.

At 10.30am the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has a session on debt management, with internet loan companies. It's part of their response to a Government consultation on debate and personal insolvency. And the Justice Committee continues its inquiry into the law around the presumption of death - the legal ramifications when someone simply disappears, and no body is found. This week's session produced some harrowing evidence about the problems this situation causes. The main witness next week will be Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly.

Transport Minister Norman Baker will be before the Transport Committee (from 10am) to outline the Government's response to the signal cable thefts which have hit rail services. And the Public Administration Committee has a valedictory session with Ann Abraham, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The Committee was set up when that office was created, and one of its functions is to follow up rulings and investigations by the Ombusdman.

At 1.40pm the Energy and Climate Change Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee join forces for the first of two joint hearings on solar power feed-in tariffs - and the complaint that the Government has abruptly cut its support for householders who install solar panels. Witnesses include senior figures from the solar industry and the Environment and Climate Change minister, Greg Barker. A second session will be held on Thursday.

Over in the Lords (from 2.30pm), peers have their first day of detailed committee stage debate on the Protection of Freedoms Bill. But watch out, too, for a question to ministers from Ukip's Lord Willoughby de Broke, on the suggestion that the EU Commission should have the power to scrutinise the budgets of member states, and penalise them if they go astray.

Wednesday in the Commons begins (at 11.30am) with questions to the Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Patterson and then (at noon) there are questions to the prime minister. Today's list includes a rare specific question from Graham Allen the Labour MP who, in the last parliament formed a partnership with Iain Duncan Smith, now the Work and Pensions Secretary, to press for more early interventions to forestall social problems. He askes Mr Cameron what plans he has to change the machinery of Government to facilitate the implementation of early intervention policies.

David Morris, the new Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale - a former salon owner - has a ten-minute rule bill, calling for the mandatory licensing of hairdressers and fines for unlicensed hairdressing in future. He says anybody can open a hairdresser's shop and start cutting and dying people's hair using corrosive chemicals without any training or licensing and believes that is "dangerous and wrong,"

That is followed by an opposition day debate on a subject to be announced - and proceedings end with an adjournment debate led by the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, about radioactive contamination in his constituency, in Dalgety Bay, Fife.

It's a busy day in committee-land. Highlights include the Education Committee, continuing its inquiry into child protection in England - they will hear from organisations working with refugee and disabled children and with the victims of forced marriages, people trafficking and ritual abuse. (From 9.30am)

The Public Accounts Committee, which is taking a slightly wider view of its mandate to investigate the effectiveness with which taxpayers' money is being spent, will be looking at the Ministry of Defence's handling of major projects - the question of why so many big weapons development projects go awry. This report on MoD reform may be germane. (3.15 pm)

The Work and Pensions Committee (9.30am) hears from pension funds and industry bodies in its continuing investigation into preparations for "auto-enrolment" - the requirement for employers to automatically sign up their staff to a pension scheme, if they don't already have one. This will affect millions of people, but there are fears that the system, which was introduced by the previous government, may not be introduced smoothly.

The Northern Ireland Committee (2.30pm) will quiz Secretary of State Owen Patterson about political developments in Northern Ireland - a rubric which covers everything from the security situation to the state of the economy.

Those hoping for another exciting hearing on the phone-hacking scandal from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee will have to wait a while… the committee has yet to decide whether to recall any of its earlier witnesses - and in any event most of its members are on a fact finding trip to Melbourne and Macau.

It's back to the Health and Social Care Bill for peers - at 3pm. The House of Lords reaches day 9 of the committee stage, with discussion on some of the key controversies within the Bill - the role of the Secretary of State and the work of the organisation which is supposed to police competition within the NHS, Monitor. There's also an intriguing-looking question from Lord Harries of Pentregarth about the accountability of Interpol for its treatment of UK citizens.

Thursday in the Commons starts at 11am with Energy Questions - starring Secretary of State Chris Huhne. The Leader of the Commons, Sir George Young, will announce the Commons business for the coming week and then the House will move on to two debates chosen by the Backbench Business Committee. Firstly, Labour's Austin Mitchell will lead a debate on cuts to the BBC. That's followed by a debate on debt advice and debt management led by Labour's Alex Cunningham.

The only committee business announced for today is the second joint meeting of the Environmental Audit and Energy and Climate Change Committees on solar feed-in tariffs will hear (at about 11.40am) from Chloe Smith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Jonathan Mills, deputy director at the Department of Energy and Climate Change - the key area on which the two committees are expected to weigh in is the transitional arrangements for people who have seen their expected return for an investment in solar energy cut, at very short notice. The two committee chairs, Conservative Tim Yeo and Labour's Joan Walley are keen to produce a report on the changes as soon as possible, so they can influence any adjustments Ministers make.

In the Lords (from 11am) there's a respite from detailed legislating as Peers hold a series of debates on subjects chosen by individual peers. These include: front-line nursing care led by Baroness Emerton and international development policy including proposals on the situation of Dalits, led by the Earl of Sandwich. However the biggest one will be the world Aids day debate - informed by the report of the HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom Select Committee. It will be opened by the former health secretary Lord Fowler, who was in office when the Aids crisis emerged in Britain. He will be focusing on the committee's disappointment that the Government rejected its recommendation for a new public information campaign.

There's also a debate in Grand Committee at 2.00pm, on the situation in the eurozone - led by the former Chancellor Lord Lamont.

Neither House sits on Friday.

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