In the News
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CLG: End to Heathrow Third Runway protests even without ‘fixing’ consultation results? - Planning Minister, John Healey, has ‘heralded’ the start of the new planning regime for major infrastructure, as the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) begins receiving applications for energy projects that have the potential to provide up to £50bn worth of international investment & supply electricity to 22m homes.
From 1 March 2010, the IPC will be able to consider proposals for major energy & transport projects. The IPC is a new development consent process for large projects such as large wind farms, power stations and major roads. It combines up to 8 former planning systems into a single process and is intended to cut the time taken to make planning decisions from up to 7 years to under 1 year.
DH: The new ‘normal’ reality of an aging population - 32% of people are uncomfortable around people with dementia according to new research, Care Services Minister, Phil Hope, claimed as he launched a new awareness campaign. The new ‘Living Well’ campaign employs real people with dementia who declare 'I have dementia - I also have a life' to educate the public about the condition and demonstrate the simple things everyone can do to help people live well with dementia.
The campaign will appear on TV, radio, online and in print across England. It asks people to take a moment to find out more about dementia and provides 5 simple ways to help someone living with the condition. Research, published by the Alzheimer’s Society, shows that over 700,000 people currently have a form of dementia and, in less than 20 years, 1m people will be living with the condition.
DH: Helping them have a ‘normal’ life - The first strategy to help adults with autism in England live independently in a society that understands them has been launched by Care Services, Minister Phil Hope. For too long, adults with autism have been excluded. Just 15% are in paid employment and 49% live at home with parents.
Fulfilling and rewarding lives, the strategy for adults with autism in England, is intended to be a foundation for culture change. It will start fundamental change in public services helping adults with autism to find work and live independent lives.
The Government will publish a first year delivery plan in March 2010, followed by statutory guidance for health & social care by December 2010. The strategy will be reviewed in 2013.
CRC: No access to Technology, no future - The Government has been told that the long-term future of the countryside is in jeopardy because so many young people are being forced out of rural areas to find homes, jobs & support. The alert comes from Dr Stuart Burgess − the Government’s Rural Advocate - in a report being delivered directly to the Prime Minister.
Dr Burgess says: “Wherever I go, I hear deep concerns − that challenges with housing, work, transport, training and social exclusion are preventing young people from living in the countryside. Without young people to provide a work force, rural economies are unable to fulfil their full potential and rural communities can go into a decline. On top of this, lack of broadband and mobile phone coverage in many rural areas is hitting young people and businesses alike….”
At the same time, the Commission for Rural Communities, which Dr Burgess chairs, published a ‘State of the countryside’ update, setting out the statistical facts of rural life for children & young people, including the current rate of outward migration. See also BIS item in ‘Policy Statements and Initiatives’ section.
Newswire – DSC: As well as being 'underfunded' - The MoD is spending hundreds of millions of pounds a year on unproductive activities because it has commissioned more work than it can afford to pay for, says the Defence Select Committee in its Report - Defence Equipment 2010.
In its Report, the Committee notes that both the NAO: Major Projects Report 2009 and Bernard Gray’s: Review of Acquisition for the MoD have confirmed that the MoD’s 10 year equipment programme is unaffordable. Furthermore the MoD’s practice of delaying projects, so as to reduce costs in the early years of a programme, is adding to overall procurement costs and so further increases the funding gap.
The Committee considers it shocking that the MoD has apparently made no attempt to calculate the full extent of the costs of delays and that it has therefore taken decisions to delay projects without understanding the full implications of those decisions.
White paper: Shaping the Future with SMART Communities - Public Service provision is being severely challenged by increasing citizen expectations, a difficult economic climate and reduced public spending. At the same time, there is a need to support more complex outcomes - often delivered by a collaboration of many service providers from Public, Private and 3rd Sector.
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