TUC:  Could a ‘worker representative’ help protect the interests of small shareholders? - As ministers talk tough on top pay as bank bonus season gets underway, the TUC set out 5 reasons why the government should introduce worker representation onto remuneration committees as 'a way of tackling the widening pay gap between top directors and the rest of the workforce'.
Press release & links ~ HPC final report: Cheques with Balances: Why tackling high pay is in the national interest (+ other related links) ~ IPPR Top Pay comment ~ iea comment ~ HPC:  Nowhere near the ‘a maximum of 20 times the lowest paid’ then? (third item) ~ Getting what we deserve? Attitudes to pay, reward and desert

DHIt is cheaper to prevent than cure - Preventing cancer, cutting tooth decay in children and the population weighing less, are just some of the challenges local councils will be able to track their progress against when they take over looking after the health & wellbeing of their residents, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced last week.

For the first time, public health will be measured against a framework which sets out 66 health measures so ‘councils and the Government are able to see real improvements being made and take any action needed’From April 2013, councils will be given a ring-fenced budget – a share of around £5.2bn based on 2012/13 funding – and will be able to choose how they spend it according to the needs of their population. Those who make the most improvements will be rewarded with a cash incentive.

The Health Secretary also highlighted how public health has already started to change, thanks to the Responsibility Deal.
Press release ~ Public Health Outcomes Framework ~ Responsibility Deal ~ TKF comment ~ RoSPA welcomes the inclusion of 4 explicit accident prevention indicators in the new PHOF ~ Service integration to deliver the Nicholson Challenge more important than management change say MPs ~ NHS Confed comment ~ More comment from NHS Confed ~ TKF comment

CSJHow does one support non-working families above this level and also care for the elderly as well? - Gavin Poole, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, has issued the following statement: 
Plans to limit the level at which households receive benefits – to £26,000 a year – form an important part of smashing through the welfare culture that grips our poorest families and holds them back from a better future. ……

“This cap is about fairness for taxpayers and life-changing intervention for families currently receiving more than a £26,000 in benefits.  It will promote work – a household where someone works 16 hours a week or more will be not be affected – and, alongside other radical reforms like Universal Credit, it will remove a major disincentive to look for and take such work.

“Britain has been gripped by a worklessness crisis for years – the number of households where no one has ever worked doubled since 1997, and 2m children are growing up in workless households”.
Press release ~ Welfare reform: Lord Carey attacks bishops opposed to benefit cap ~ 57% of people who go through the Work Capability Assessment are found fit for some form of work ~ 21st Century Welfare: Response of the Centre for Social Justice ~ Dynamic Benefits: Towards Welfare That Works" A Policy Report by the CSJ Economic Dependency Working Group ~ Breakdown Britain: Executive Summary ~ Related previous PR ~ Housing Benefit Regulations ~ DWP:  Those that work & pay taxes don’t see why those who don’t, can’t, unless they are truly physically unable to do so (third item) ~ BBC Q&A: Universal Credit and the benefits overhaul ~ IFS:  The better off can cut back on expensive luxuries, but for the poor that is often not an option (first item) ~ AUK:  Little dignity or safety in old age for many (first item)

ScotGovThe spinning started last October - First Minister, Alex Salmond (at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh), has outlined detailed proposals for the referendum in autumn 2014 on whether Scotland should be an independent country.  The consultation will close on May 11, 2012.

The consultation paper - Your Scotland Your Referendum - seeks views on:
* what the ballot paper should say
* what spending limits should be set
* how the referendum should be managed / regulated
Press release ~ Your Scotland Your Voice ~ First Minister: London speech on independence ~ More information on the referendum ~ Timetable for consideration of proposals ~ Professor Robert Cialdini: Scottish independence question 'is loaded' ~ Guardian: Scottish referendum - is the SNP's question fair? ~ UK Government consultation on constitution (closes on Friday 9 March 2012) ~ Alex Salmond apologises for reading fake independence referendum letter (scroll down for related articles on Scottish energy and regarding euro / EU membership) ~ Scottish renewables targets could worsen fuel poverty, say engineers ~ See also:  CO:  The impact of Scottish independence will be far wider than just having 2 PMs for these islands ~ ScotGov:  Will the Scots pay back the rest of the UK for rescuing their banks?

DfTSomething for Tory MPs in the Chilterns to ponder on - The Department of Transport has published a document which provides an update to the appraisal of the key Strategic Rail Alternatives to the HS2 proposition.  The report outlines the appraisal of the alternatives being considered.  It summarises the interventions developed, examines the Capital & Operating Costs, and then details the Economic Appraisal of the Alternatives.
Press release & links ~ Out-law.com highlights greater cost benefit of alternatives to HS2 ~ DfT:  Would an independent Scotland pay all the costs to extend HS2 beyond Leeds & Manchester?

PC&PEA simple change that wouldn’t mean more government borrowing - The House of Lords Constitution Committee has published a short report on the position of voters at the close of polls which calls on the Government to change the law to ensure voters are not disenfranchised, as some were at the 2010 General Election.

Commenting Baroness Jay, Chairman of the Committee, said: “This cannot wait for a Law Commission review that doesn’t report until 2017, the Government should make these changes before the next general election."
Press release & links

EU NewsTime to review our electronic rights - The European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU's 1995 data protection rules to ‘strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy’.  A single law will do away with the current fragmentation and costly administrative burdens, leading to savings for businesses of around €2.3 billion a year.

The Commission's proposals include a policy Communication setting out the Commission's objectives and 2 legislative proposals, a:
* Regulation setting out a general EU framework for data protection
* Directive on protecting personal data processed for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences and related judicial activities
Press release & links

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