AC: The Audit Commission has announced the reduced scale audit fees it will charge individual councils, health & other public bodies for 5 years from 2012/13. Nearly 800 of the larger local public bodies in the Commission's regime will save a total of £250m over the 5 years, for most a 40% cut on current rates.
WAG: 80 local radio stations across Wales are to receive a share of £100,000 from the Welsh Government to help them continue to play a valuable role in their communities. Community radio stations are small-scale, not-for-profit stations operated for the good of members of the public, or of particular communities, and in order to deliver social gain.
DfT: More than 300,000 school children will learn to cycle safely, competently & confidently on the road over the next year, thanks to nearly £11m worth of government funding allocated last week A further £24m will be allocated by the Department for Transport over the following 2 years. This includes an extra £2m to support expansion of the scheme on top of money originally earmarked for Bikeability.
MoD: Troops from the British Army's rapid reaction force have taken part in an aviation skills master class. The training was about honing key skills required for the Airborne Task Force (ABTF), which sees the Brigade maintain a force ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice to do anything from disaster relief to war fighting.
Press release & links
Press release & links
PCS: Members of the PCS union are being called on to ‘lobby their MPs in a last ditch bid to defend legal aid’. During its passage through the House of Lords, The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was heavily amended, so that disabled, vulnerable, victims of domestic violence and brain damaged children will be protected from the worst of the legal aid cuts. But the amendments could be undone when the bill goes back to the House of Commons on 17 April 2012..
MoD: The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme gives politicians a taste of military life. It is intended to help ensure that, when Parliament is moulding the armed forces future, those expressing their views at least know what they are talking about.
OCUK: Last week, Online Centres UK launched a new network offer to ‘cement all the great benefits that you can access by being a UK online centres partner’.
ScotGov: The Saltire scholarship scheme – which offers international students a £2,000 fee waiver – is being extended to cover a wider range of qualifications & courses. With 600 students from India, China, the USA & Canada already having benefited from the scheme, the Scottish Government has decided to open applications across undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses.
ECC: The Government has welcomed the release of more environmental data by TOTAL relating to the ongoing gas release at the Elgin wellhead platform. Aerial surveillance flights indicate that the sheen is dispersing naturally, and the analyses confirm that the sheen consists of a lightly weathered condensate that is expected to have a minimal environmental impact as it will evaporate & be dispersed in the water column within a fairly short period of time.
UNICEF: As malnutrition reaches emergency levels across the Sahel region of West Africa with at least 1m children at risk, UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake has called for an urgent escalation of humanitarian efforts to stop the crisis and the cycle of disasters.
TfL: Transport for London (TfL) will begin installing the new tensioning cables inside the Hammersmith Flyover this week, as part of its ongoing work to fully reopen the structure to all traffic. The new cables are surrounded by wax oil to prevent deterioration and allow inspection & replacement if required in the future.