Wishing a happy and healthy New Year to all our readers and just a reminder that we'll be back with our first offering of 2011 on Monday, January 17th. 

JRFIn work but still poor - A new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows the number of children living in poverty in working households has increased to 2.1m – the highest on record

The report shows that, despite the recession, overall the number of children living in poverty fell to 3.7m, with the number in workless households falling to 1.6m, the lowest since 1984.  But those in working families rose slightly to 2.1m, and they now account for 58% of the total.

Despite overall reductions, health inequalities between different class and/or income groups remain wide & persistent.  For instance, the risk of mental illness for someone in the poorest 20% of the population is around twice the average. In addition, although there have been improvements in educational attainment, 2009 saw the first rise in the proportion of children, aged 11, not reaching basic levels of numeracy & literacy for over a decade.
Press release ~ 13th Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion (see also 'related content') ~ Unicef: Material inequality in the UK leaves children further behind than differences in health & education ~ Frank Field review into poverty, The Foundation Years ~ www.endchildpoverty.org.uk ~ Unicef’s response ~ ippr’s response ~ ippr: In-work poverty in the recession ~ ‘Rural Financial Poverty: Priorities for action’ ~ Rural Financial Poverty: Good practice’ ~ How and why do people become trapped in a long-term cycle of low-paid jobs and unemployment? ~ JRF: Recurrent Poverty publications ~ JRF: What can we do to end child poverty? publications ~ JRF: Mental health and child poverty ~ JRF: The costs of child poverty for individuals and society ~ JRF: Long-term ill health, poverty and ethnicity ~ The White Paper – Universal Credit: Welfare that Works ~ Work Foundation PR ~ TUC PR ~ CBI PR ~ Adam Smith Institute PR ~ CAB PR ~ ippr PR ~ PCS union PR ~ iea PR ~ A step towards work or just stuck in a warehouse? ~ The State of the Nation: Poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency in the in the UK ~ PCS union press release in response ~ Child Poverty Strategy for Wales and Delivery Plan (closed) consultation ~ WAG: Child poverty ~ WAG: Children and young people ~ Child Poverty, The Way Forward for Wales ~ Child Poverty, Breaking the Cycle of DeprivationChild Poverty Solutions Wales ~ End Child Poverty Network ~ Child Poverty Act 2010 ~ Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 ~ Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales: Measuring Success ~ Inclusion Health ~ DH: Health Inequalities ~ Marmot Review ~ ScotGov: Early Years Framework ~ Equally Well - health inequalities framework ~ Achieving our Potential - anti-poverty framework ~ Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England ~ Implementation plan for reducing health inequalities in infant mortality: a good practice guide ~ Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland ~ IRISS - Severe Child Poverty in Scotland ~ Estimating the Cost of Child Poverty - Approaches and Evidence ~ Taking Forward The Government Economic Strategy: A Discussion Paper on Tackling Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in Scotland ~ Fairer Scotland Fund ~ Children and Families Measure ~ Demos: Destination Unknown ~ ESRC: Poverty Dynamics in Britain ~ UK Mental Health – Poverty website

OFT:  Does it matter who owns UK infrastructure as long as it is adequate to support a recovering economy? - The OFT has recently published its map of who owns what across the UK's economic infrastructure.  Its report also says that the potential for change of ownership through strong capital market competition can place an important discipline on firms and can put downward pressure on costs. In this context, it says foreign investment can be very positive in strengthening capital market competition.

However, the OFT found that the potential for market power exists in many infrastructure sectors and that this can affect outcomes for consumers. 4 case studies - into ports, waste, toll roads & car parks - highlight the importance of considering competition when awarding concessions and procuring infrastructure projects.

The key aims of the stock-take were to map ownership & control across the economic infrastructure sectors such as ports, airports, energy and water networks, assess how ownership of infrastructure affects outcomes for consumers in these markets and examine the different forms of ownership.
Press release ~ OFT: Infrastructure ownership and control stock-take final report ~ OFT Infrastructure stocktake webpage ~ Infrastructure – mind the gap! ~ Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure (CPNI) ~ Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) ~ National Planning Framework for Scotland ~ What's in a Name? Changing Critical National Infrastructure ~ Comment - The Defence Information Infrastructure ~ Resilient National Infrastructure in a Climate Changed World ~ HMT: Infrastructure UK ~ UK's infrastructure 'vulnerable' ~ State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2010 ~ Resilience of UK Infrastructure ~ RCUK: e-infrastructure ~ National Infrastructure Plan 2010 ~ CfST: A National Infrastructure for the 21st century ~ NAO: Financing PFI projects in the credit crisis and the Treasury's response ~ Infrastructure Financing Unit

NAORestoring the balance as to who funds public sector pensions? - Changes made in 2007-08 to the pension schemes of civil servants, NHS staff & teachers are ‘on course to deliver significant savings & stabilise pension costs’ around their current levels as a proportion of GDP.  The changes are also set to transfer, from taxpayers to employees, extra costs if pensioners live longer than currently expected.

The NAO estimates that these changes will reduce costs to taxpayers in 2059-60 by 14% compared to forecasts made without the changes.  Aggregate savings over all years in the period to 2059-60 are equivalent to £67bn in 2008-09 prices.
Press release ~ NAO report:  The impact of the 2007-08 changes to public service pensions ~ TUC comment press release ~ PCS union comment on NAO pensions report ~ Previous PCS PR ~ PCS: Facts about pay & pensions ~ AC: Local Government Pensions in England ~ NAO: The cost of public service pensions ~ TUC – Pay up for pensions ~ TUC Briefing on pension myth ~ Pension Policy Institute - An assessment of the Government's reforms to public sector pensions

MoDSomething all political parties can agree on (one hopes) - Prime Minister, David Cameron, has welcomed the publication of an independent report into innovative ways to support the Military Covenant - the bond between the nation and her Armed Forces, which the Government has promised to rebuild.

Professor Hew Strachan’s report looks at support that can be provided across Government & throughout society and makes many recommendations for the Government to consider.  The Government will begin work immediately on two recommendations in the report:
* The first is for an Armed Forces Community Covenant, which encourages communities across the UK to volunteer support for their local Armed Forces.
* The second is for a Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation Scheme, which will allow the head of the UK's Armed Forces to thank individuals or bodies who give exceptional support to the Armed Forces.

In addition to the task force report, the Government has also committed to ensuring that progress is made on rebuilding the covenant, year-on-year.  That is why it has brought forward legislation within the Armed Forces Bill for the Defence Secretary to present an Armed Forces Covenant report to Parliament every year, setting out how the Government is supporting our Armed Forces, their families & veterans in key areas such as healthcare, housing and education.
Press release ~ Report of the task force on the Military Covenant ~ The Nation’s Commitment Annual Report 2010 ~ Changes to R&R policy ~ Helping to house our injured heroes ~ Military covenant to be enshrined in law ~ The Nation's Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans ~ About the Service Personnel Command Paper ~ The Royal British Legion ~ Providing for our People website ~ NAO: Leaving the Services ~ NAO: Ministry of Defence - Service Families Accommodation ~ 2007 CPA press release ~ Public Accounts Committee report on the work of Defence Estates ~ Defence Estates: service family accommodation ~ 2007 BBC video report ~ Managing the Defence Estate: Quality and sustainability ~ Priority given to office accommodation ~ Fighting Fit - A mental health plan for servicemen and veterans ~ Reserves' Mental Health Programme ~ Shedding light on mental health in the forces ~ BIG: Forces in Mind Trust ~ Veterans UK ~ Community Veterans Mental Health Service ~ Experiences of homeless ex-service personnel ~ Mental Health Care Provision in the U.K. Armed Forces ~ NAO: MoD – Treating injury and illness arising from military operation ~ Howard League for Penal Reform – Veterans Inquiry ~ King's Centre for Military Health Research ~ KCMHR related publications (wait for page to load) ~ PR regarding Annual report of Service Complaints Commissioner ~ Community Pathway PR ~ Customised health care PR ~ Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Families Association (SAFA) – Forces Help ~ Charities that support Service Personnel in the field ~ SSAFA Operational welfare fund

ICOIt’s legal to ‘Smile please’ at school - The Data Protection Act does not prevent family & friends from taking photographs at school concerts or plays this Christmas, according to the Information Commissioner. Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham said: “It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools”.
Press release ~ For the full press release click here ~ Data Protection Good Practice Note: Taking Photographs in Schools ~ Related newspaper article

UKASLord Young to Review Accreditation and Regulation - Lord Young of Graffham, recently announced as Enterprise Adviser, has announced plans to review the potential for the wider use of UK AS accreditation to reduce bureaucracy and regulation.
Lord Young, who will undertake the review at the request of the Prime Minister, will work with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to identify areas in which accreditation can replace existing or new statutory regulation. 
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