HM Treasury: Enhancing the competitiveness of the UK's asset management industry is the focus of three new consultation papers (all closing on22 October 2008). These consultations follow a package of measures announced in Budget 2008, designed to make the UK a more competitive location for asset management and to advance the Government's City competitiveness agenda.
The consultation papers propose the:
* introduction of a direct tax exemption regime for UK Authorised Investment Funds
* removal of the tax as a barrier to Qualified Investor Schemes by replacing the substantial holding rule, and
* adaptation of the tax rules for Investment Trust Companies to deliver tax efficient investment into interest bearing assets
Press release ~ Authorised Investment Funds ~ Qualified Investor Schemes ~ Investment Trust Companies
DfT: Plans to help Councils tackle inconsiderate parking have been outlined in a consultation (closes on 21 October 2008). A new parking framework, introduced by the Department for Transport in March, gave councils in England the power to issue Penalty Charge Notices to motorists who park at dropped footways or double park.
To make the power more effective, DfT has now launched a consultation on plans to allow authorities outside London to enforce against these specific offences without having to indicate the restrictions with traffic signs or roads markings. The DfT expect the change to come into force in Spring 2009.
Press release ~ Consultation on prohibition of double parking and parking at dropped footways ~ British Parking Association ~ Statutory Guidance ~ CCTV for parking enforcement guidance ~ DfT - Traffic and parking management ~ Better Parking - Keeping Traffic Moving: Regulatory Impact Assessment ~ Better Parking - Keeping Traffic Moving - Report on Public Consultation ~ Directgov: Paying and appealing parking tickets ~ DfT - Parking factsheets
ScotGov: A number of innovative proposals on how to further reduce waste and increase recycling in Scotland have been published. Among the ideas being considered are increased recycling facilities at sports grounds, shopping centres, beaches and cinemas. The proposals form part of the Scottish Government's ambition for a 'Zero Waste' Scotland.
The consultation (closes 3 October 2008) is broken down into seven areas:
* Duties on public bodies and business to provide recycling facilities
* Specifying recyclate
* Waste prevention plans
* Deposit and return
* Mandatory waste data returns from business
* Other measures to encourage waste prevention, including action on carrier bags
Press release ~ Consultation Paper on Potential Legislative Measures to Implement Zero Waste ~ Ten Steps to a Greener Scotland ~ Climate Change Bill ~ Love Food Hate Waste Scotland ~ Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) - Scotland ~ Household Waste Prevention Action Plan (Scotland) ~ Waste Aware Scotland ~ Scottish Waste Awareness Group (SWAG)
HM Treasury: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, has launched a new programme of regional engagement, consulting on how various agencies can work together to provide a strong regional response to the changing economic circumstances and provide support for regional business & households.
The launch also provided the opportunity to seek advice from regional and local partners on the investment priorities for over £22bn of regional economic development to be spent across England over the coming years.
Press release ~ Supporting businesses in Yorkshire and Humber - A joint response to changing economic circumstances ~ Regional Funding Advice: Guidance on preparing advice
Defra: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set out plans to contribute £5m to a scheme to support households in England which face a particularly high risk of flooding, but which are not protected by traditional community level defences. A consultation (closes on 31 October 2008) inviting views on how best the money can be spent has been published and looks at the possibility of:
* providing a free home flood survey and
* offering a grant to cover some of the costs of the measures themselves
Defra has also published an outline of a proposed new National Flood Emergency Framework. In line with Sir Michael Pitt’s recommendations, the proposed framework, on which there will be public consultation, will bring together information, guidance and key policies in a single strand of planning.
Press release ~ Consultation on property-level flood protection and resilience ~ Defra's adaptation framework ~ National Flood Emergencies Framework ~ Property-level flood protection and resilience ~ Defra – Flood Management Insurance ~ Pitt Review ~ Hilary Benn's written ministerial statement in response to the Pitt report ~ Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk - Practice Guide ~ Defra – Flood & coastal erosion risk management
DCMC: The government is consulting on (closes on 20 November 2008) a new, legally enforceable system of age classification will help to make sure that video games are played by the appropriate age group, giving parents, retailers and consumers the guidance they need to make informed choices.
Clinical psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, in her report Safer Children in a Digital World, recognised the potential for learning, development and enjoyment that has come with the growth of video games, but also identified a need to protect children and young people from harmful or inappropriate material. The Government is now seeking views on four options for video games classification:
* a hybrid of the current BBFC and PEGI systems, with a legal requirement for the BBFC to rate all games suitable for players over the age of 12
* a system based solely on PEGI ratings, but enforceable by law
* a system using only BBFC ratings
* a continuation of the current arrangement, backed up by a code of practice to ensure that retailers and suppliers comply with the system
Press release ~ Video Games consultation ~ Dr Tanya Byron's review of the internet and video games and their impact on young people ~ British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ~ PEGI - Video Standards Council
ScotGov: Records of how a customer's age & identity were verified, full descriptions of knives sold and a ban on displays visible from the street or public entrance are among the conditions proposed in a consultation (closes on 22 October 2008) for those who sell non-domestic knives.
The new scheme (which can be introduced under Ministerial powers from the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Act 2007) would mean that dealers of non-domestic knives would need to be licensed by the local authority and comply with certain mandatory conditions set out by the ScotGov to help make sure such weapons don't find their way into the wrong hands.
Press release ~
Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Act 2007 ~ Licensing scheme for knife dealers: A Consultation
ScotGov: The Scottish Government has launched a consultation (closes onOctober 24 2008) on tackling two of Scotland's biggest killer diseases - Coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, which still claim the lives of thousands of Scots every year, despite significant progress to cut death rates in recent years.
Between 1997 and 2006, CHD deaths fell by 32% from 14,012 to 9,532, while stroke deaths fell by 45%, from 9,959 to 5,479. But progress among younger age groups and in the most deprived parts of Scotland has been less rapid, prompting the need for renewed action.
Press release ~ Better Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke Care: A Consultation Document ~ Improving Scotland’s Health ~ ScotGov's health action plan: Better Health, Better Care ~ Obesity Action Plan ~ ISD Scotland – Heart disease ~ ISD Scotland - Stroke ~ Strategy outlines an implementation plan for the future organisation os CHD and stroke services (2002) ~ Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland
Defra: Proposed changes to the system of environmental permit exemptions will increase waste recovery & recycling, whilst maintaining high levels of environmental protection and saving businesses money, Environment Minister Joan Ruddock claimed last week when launching a consultation (closes on 23 October 2008) as part of a review of which waste handling businesses can operate under exemptions and which require a permit.
The review will be of interest to any business recycling, re-using or disposing of any kind of waste. Most businesses currently operating under an exemption will continue to do so, but under the new proposals businesses may need to renew & re-register their exemptions more frequently.
Some businesses that have previously operated under a waste exemption may now need to apply for a permit, while those with an Environmental Permit may be able to register an exemption. It is proposed that the cost to the Environment Agency of regulating the system will be met through a charge for the registration of all exempt waste operations.
Press release ~ Review / consultation of exemptions from Environmental Permitting ~ Environmental Permitting Programme ~ Environment Agency – Permits and licences
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has launched a public consultation (closes on 24 October 2008) on the scope of its project looking at irresponsible lending in UK consumer credit markets. The consultation follows major changes to the Consumer Credit Act, which include the identification of irresponsible lending as a matter to which the OFT must have regard when it considers businesses' fitness to hold a consumer credit licence.
One of the key outcomes of the project is expected to be clear guidance on lending behaviours and practices which the OFT considers to be irresponsible. The study will consider all forms of consumer credit lending which the OFT licences and all participants in the market, including lenders, brokers and other intermediaries.
Press release ~ Consultation paper ~ OFT 969 ~ '
Non status lending guidelines' (1997) ~ Consumer Credit Act 2006
MoJ: A new Government consultation (closes on 20 October 2008) paper - 'Murder and Manslaughter: Proposals for Reform of the Law' - proposes the abolition of the existing partial defence of provocation and its replacement with two new partial defences:
* Killing in response to a fear of serious violence and
* In exceptional circumstances only, killing in response to words & conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged
See ‘In the News’ for more information.