In the News
DWP: Claimants tempted by the fact that 1+1 can be greater than 2 - People who tell the DWP they are single parents to get Income Support and Jobseekers Allowance, but are actually secretly living with someone as husband & wife, cost the taxpayer nearly £100m in overpaid benefits, making it one of the most frequently committed benefit frauds. Just 10 recent cases have cost the taxpayer over £1m.
The Welfare Reform Bill will introduce tougher penalties for both fraud & error:
* A minimum administrative penalty of £350, or 50% of the overpayment, whichever is higher, with 4 weeks loss of benefit
* Extended loss of benefit for offences which result in a conviction of up to 13 weeks for a first offence, then 26 weeks for a second offence and 3 years for a third offence
* An immediate 3 year loss of benefit for serious or organised benefit fraud or identity fraud
*A new £50 civil penalty in cases of claimant error which results in an overpayment as a result of negligence or failure.
CIPD: But how do we compare to the rest of Europe – Below the average! - The first quarter of 2012 will be the most difficult quarter for the jobs market since the recession, as the number of private sector firms surveyed planning to make redundancies increases.
This is the main finding of the latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) quarterly Labour Market Outlook survey of more than 1,000 employers, conducted by YouGov. The survey results also point to a further widening of a north-south jobs market divide.
The report’s net employment balance, which measures the difference between the proportion of LMO employers that intend to increase total staffing levels and those that intend to decrease total staffing levels in the first quarter of 2012, has fallen to -8 from -3 since the autumn 2011 quarter. This is the report’s worst figure since spring 2009.
No, 10: Family break-ups are never easy or straight-forward - The PM David Cameron visited Scotland last week to make the case for keeping the United Kingdom together.
The PM has also had talks with Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond in Edinburgh. The meeting came after the First Minister discussed his plans for staging a ballot on independence with the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore earlier this week.
NHS Confed: There is a need for change in the NHS - Mental Health Network director Steve Shrubb said the latest Death by Indifference report from Mencap was saddening and more must be done to help people with learning disabilities.
He said: “The NHS has made progress in this area but there is absolutely no doubt there is still much more to be done in caring for people with learning disabilities. "The solution lies in the NHS taking responsibility when problems occur and taking steps to rectify the situation. The report includes a number of recommendations to increase the auditing and oversight of services.
"This is important but so is creating the right working cultures and collaborations so that, for example, health and social care work together and people can be offered the most appropriate care in the right environments. The most appropriate environment even for people with the most complex health issues is usually based in their own homes, supported by friends, carers and family”. ……..
EU News: Forget budget increase demands, EU finds €82bn down back of the sofa - A Commission plan to channel up to €82bn in uncommitted EU structural funds into schemes to create jobs for young people and support small firms could undermine trust in regional policy, because this is precisely what regional policy already aims to do, MEPs warned in a debate last Monday. The plan would use funds not yet allocated to specific regional policy projects.
DfE: Shaking up the closed shop of LA education - Groups that want to open mainstream, special and alternative provision Free Schools in September 2013 can now submit their detailed plans to the Department.
STFC: Even big organisations started from small beginnings - The Science in Society Programme Small Awards Scheme provides funds for small, local or 'pilot' projects promoting STFC science & technology. Anyone can apply, including grant-funded research groups, STFC research facility users, schools, museums, etc. Awards range from £500 to £10,000 and the expenditure can go towards materials, salaries and travel & subsistence. The 2012 closing date is 12 April 2012 at 16:00.
WAG: Stay at home and don't spread your germs - The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, is reminding people with the winter vomiting bug norovirus NOT turn up at hospital Emergency Departments for treatment, and not to visit anyone in hospital.
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