Please note that the WGPlus newsletter is taking its Christmas / New Year break and the next scheduled publication date will be on Monday 7 January 2013. We will, however, be continuing to publish individual news items on a daily basis as usual during this period.
HMT: Read what he said, check out what other organisations commented (before & after the speech) and then read the background documents to make up your own mind - The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament on 5 December 2012, alongside the publication of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s updated forecasts for growth & borrowing.
Press release & links ~ IFS: Autumn Statement 2012 ~ Welsh Secretary responds to Autumn Statement ~ ONS: Household spending edges higher, while spending patterns differ by income ~ Autumn Statement 2012: CBI full reaction ~ STFC welcomes £600m investment in research and innovation ~ NIESR: Autumn Statement 2012 and the OBR’s forecasts ~ Autumn statement is 'pain without purpose', says TUC ~ TUC: Welcome for regional pay retreat, but dismay at pay plans for teachers ~ Unite: Ditching NHS regional pay plans “nail in coffin” for local pay in the South West ~ TUC: A million public sector jobs set to disappear by 2018 ~ TUC: Working families to lose £3,000 a year from child benefit and tax credit cuts by 2015 ~ VSO: Autumn Statement - “UK has shown leadership in budget commitment to tackling poverty” says VSO ~ IfL comments on the autumn statement ~ IfG: Autumn Statement 2012 ~ FDA: Chancellor metes out long-term blow, says civil servants’ union ~ nef: 4 reasons why the benefit freeze makes no sense ~ CBI Scotland on the Autumn Statement - DCMS: Ultrafast broadband for 12 UK cities, GREAT boost and £6m for creative and digital skills ~ TWF: Autumn Statement boost for science & higher education welcome yet billions being wasted on ineffective & populist measures ~ IEA: Chancellor not credible on deficit reduction ~ ASI: Economic stagnation is here to stay ~ Snipping safety net risks decade of destitution for people in poverty, says JRF ~ IPPR: Chancellor’s fiscal rules 'a busted flush' ~ IPPR North: North needed to heal national finances ~ Centre for Social Justice respond to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement ~ Pre-speech AS PRs ~ Chancellor risking 'fatal error' on growth, warns LGA ~ FDA: The avoided billions - ARC proposes investment of £120m to recoup an extra £3.7bn ~ HL: Welfare changes pushing young people into homelessness, Young & Homeless 2012 report warns ~ TUC - Poor families will lose most if Chancellor freezes benefits in Autumn Statement ~ CBI responds to Funding for Lending data ~ Civitas: £100 billion motorway sell-off can kick-start the faltering economy ~ New tax avoidance plans won't force big companies to pay more tax, warns TUC ~ WAG: First Minister calls on Chancellor to boost capital investment ~ New capital spending won't undo damage from Chancellor's £22bn infrastructure cuts, says TUC
Defra: Probably a lost cause now, but they have to try - A new strategy to tackle Ash dieback has been published by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson alongside the Tree & Plant Health Task Force’s interim report. The Chalara Control Plan sets out the Government’s objectives for tackling the disease and outlines what further action they will take over the next few months.
The plan also re-affirms the Government‘s commitment to focus its efforts on:
* reducing the rate of spread
* developing resistance to the disease in the native UK ash tree population
* encouraging citizen, landowner and industry engagement and action in tackling the problem
* building resilience in the UK woodland and associated industries
HO: A more common sense approach to client protection - A new streamlined organisation to oversee criminal records checking, referral & barring went live recently.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will provide a one-stop shop service to those requiring criminal records disclosures & barring checks for employment purposes. It was formed from the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
The DBS will also oversee a number of key government reforms including the introduction of portable CRB checks which will eliminate the need for multiple checking and an online update service which will make it easier for employers to assess individuals.
ScotGov: Already moving towards a ‘Devo Max’ - In an historic first for the Scottish Parliament, Finance Secretary John Swinney has introduced the first bill that will enable the Parliament to both set & collect a proportion of its own revenue.
Mr Swinney has introduced the Land & Building Transactions Tax (Scotland) Bill using powers in the Scotland Act 2012 to collect & manage taxes on the purchase or leasing of land and buildings.
From April 2015, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) will replace the UK Government’s system of stamp duty land tax in Scotland.
ICO: Rushed legislation is not the best answer even if it may be part of an eventual solution – The Information Commission Office’s statement in response to Lord Justice Leveson’s report:
‘From an initial reading, it is clear the report offers much for the ICO to consider, and we’ll reflect on where improvements can be made to the ways in which we carry out our statutory duties. ….. The report proposes significant changes to some parts of the Data Protection Act ……. we will be offering our views on the detail & practical effects of the proposals in a response to the Leveson Report which we will publish early in the New Year’.
ICO: Best not to ‘Do a favour for a friend’ regarding accessing personal data - A bank employee has been fined after a court heard she unlawfully accessed bank statements of her partner’s ex-wife. At the time her partner was involved in a legal dispute over the terms of a divorce settlement.
But when eBay transactions were raised in a meeting between the estranged couple, the ex-wife became suspicious that her account had been viewed. Barclays, where Ms Davies worked, were contacted, and when they investigated the matter she left her job. Ms Davies pleaded guilty to 11 offences under section 55 of the Data Protection Act, and was fined £500 by Derby Crown Court and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge & £1,410.80 prosecution costs.
EU News: So much for the argument that leaving the EU would mean the UK couldn’t reach a Free Trade agreement with them - Over the next 2 years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the EU. That's why it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for European businesses by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries.
Press release & links ~ Trading Places: Is EU membership still the best option for UK trade? ~ HMRC: Overseas Trade Statistics - EU November 2012 ~ BIS: Trade Policy and the European Union
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