Policy Statements and Initiatives

BERR: T he Government has unveiled a new strategy for the UK's manufacturing sector - 'New Challenges, New Opportunities' - to help UK firms take advantage of changing global trends in manufacturing.
It brings together almost £150m of medium term support for UK manufacturing and sets out the Government's view of what the sector needs for success in the long term - including seizing the opportunities of the low carbon economy, supporting skills, realising overseas opportunities and improving the perceptions & understanding of manufacturing.
Press release ~ 'New Challenges, New Opportunities' and related documents ~ Ministerial Advisory Group on Manufacturing (MAG) ~ Enterprise: Unlocking The UK's Talent
DFID:  Shahid Malik, UK Minister for International Development, has visited Kosovo to give the UK's backing for the world's newest country. As the first UK Minister to meet the new republic's President and Prime Minister, he signalled the UK's support for economic growth in Kosovo. 
The UK is backing the Government of Kosovo's progress towards entry to the EU by helping it improve the performance of government institutions and helping it to strengthen the management of its public finances.
Press release ~ Factsheet ~ DFID
ScotGov:  On the eve of the consultation on tackling alcohol misuse closing, Public Health Minister Shona Robison visited Stenhousemuir to learn more about a project, which has been operating in the Central Scotland police force area. 
Operating since April 2008 in Larbert and Stenhousemuir, the project has seen calls to police about anti-social behaviour fall by 40%.  Between April & June, compared to the corresponding period last year, breaches of the peace also fell by nearly 40%, minor assaults by nearly 30% and serious assaults by 60%.
Police said the success of the voluntary project had been down to the full support of retailers in the towns, who have enthusiastically backed the move to restrict sales to over-21s at key times.
Press release ~ Closed consultation on alcohol misuse ~ ScotGov - Alcohol ~ Discussion paper setting out our strategic approach to tacking alcohol misuse
ScotGov: Closer working relations with Ireland were on the top of the agenda when Richard Lochhead welcomed his Irish counterpart to the second meeting of the Rural Development Council (RDC) last week.
The Rural Development Council met to reach consensus on a vision for rural Scotland to guide its deliberations and to agree how to proceed in measuring the strengths and weaknesses of rural areas.
Press release ~ Rural Development Council (RDC) ~ ScotGov - Fishing ~ Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP)
ScotGov: Adults with literacy difficulties are to be given new help to write their own stories and develop their own publications, through a partnership between the Scottish Government and Scottish Book Trust.  The scheme - announced by the Minister for Schools and Skills, Maureen Watt, at a conference to mark International Literacy Day - is the first partnership of its kind between the Trust and the Scottish Government.
The project has been awarded £55,000 to appoint a development worker who will support learners through Scotland's 32 local adult literacy & numeracy partnerships and help them to write stories for a series of publications.
Last week also saw the publication of the 2007-08 Adult Literacy and Numeracy progress report, which summarises progress taking place across the country to give adults help with improving their reading, writing and numbers.  This report contains many examples of the effective partnership working which is underway to give adult learners the support they need.
Press release ~ Scottish Book Trust ~ International Literacy Day ~ ScotGov - ILD ~ Learning Connections ~ 2007-08 Adult Literacy and Numeracy strategy progress report
ScotGov: In only 4 years, one hundred thousand more school pupils will be benefiting from a 21st Century education, delivered in cutting edge schools.  That is the pledge by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Lifelong Learning, who announced the ‘number of pupils being educated in crumbling schools will be cut by over a third in the lifetime of this parliament’.
The number of schools in Condition C (poor) & D (bad) in 2007 was almost 1,000, covering around 260,000 young people.
Press release ~ Audit Scotland report 'Improving the School Estate' ~ ScotGov - Schools ~ School Estate Strategy
DfT: T ransport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has announced a £67m boost to the Sustainable Distribution Fund that will help the freight industry reduce costs and cut emissions.  The money will be targeted at increasing the use of rail & water transport where current schemes support the removal of over one million lorry journeys each year.  It will also be used to help hauliers & freight operators cut costs and be more fuel efficient, reduce emissions and cut road congestion.
Press release ~ Sustainable Distribution Fund ~ Freight Best Practice ~ Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFED) programme ~ Rail Environmental Benefit Procurement Scheme (REPS) ~ Waterbourne Freight Grants ~ Freight Facilities Grant
ScotGov:  Gaelic development body Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) is to use £150,000 of its Scottish Government funding as a Challenge Fund to support projects promoting the use of Gaelic in communities.  The Challenge Fund supports the Scottish Government's priorities for preservation & promotion of the language, set out in the National Plan for Gaelic.
Press release ~ Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG) ~ National Plan for Gaelic ~ Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ~ Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005
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