DECC: Greater certainty for investors in renewable heat & small scale electricity technologies and a fair deal for consumers were delivered recently by Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, as he clarified future arrangements for Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
BIS: Restoring relationships built on long term trust & confidence and realigning incentives across the investment chain should be the basis of a much needed shift in the culture of the UK’s equity markets, according to a new independent review from Professor John Kay, published last week.
In his review, ‘UK equity markets & long-term decision making’, Professor Kay sets out a clear vision and a set of principles to ensure that equity markets support their core purpose of enhancing the performance of UK companies, and providing returns to savers.
The report finds that short-termism is an underlying problem in UK equity markets, principally caused by a misalignment of incentives within the investment chain and the displacement of trust relationships by a culture based on transactions and trading.
HMT: Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke has announced Government proposals to crack down on the promoters of contrived & aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
The proposals include making the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules an even stronger & more effective weapon in the battle against tax avoidance, for example by giving HMRC stronger powers to force promoters to tell them about avoidance schemes and who is using them, and tightening the rules so that it is easier to impose penalties for failure to provide information to HMRC about a scheme.
CLG: A new dedicated call centre & user-friendly website have now gone live to ensure aspiring home-owners among England's 2.5m social tenants can get advice & information about changes to the Right to Buy.
BIS: New official statistics show that the number of women in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies has increased in the past year. Last week saw the first year anniversary of the voluntary code of conduct for executive search firms. The code, developed by leading members of the industry in direct response to Lord Davies’ review into ‘Women on Boards’, sets out 7 key principles of best practice for executive search firms to abide by throughout the recruitment process.
Defra: Britain’s world class engineers, scientists & designers are being challenged to come up with innovative ways to help protect UK infrastructure from the effects of climate change in a new competition. With a total prize fund of £400,000, it will provide successful candidates with funding to develop their pioneering solutions to protect infrastructure such as roads, airports, power stations, water treatment plants and Wi-Fi networks against the threats of climate change.
This competition closes on 7 September 2012 and applicants must be in a position to start their design work by October 2012.
WAG: New plans to develop a Pollinator Action Plan for Wales that will help protect Wales’ unique environment & boost its bee population have been announced.
DECC: Community groups up & down the nation will be able to bid for a share of £8m to install low carbon heating like solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps into homes in their local area. Community-based organisations including community co-operatives, voluntary groups, social enterprises & development trusts are eligible to apply.
Community groups will need to submit a first stage application to the Energy Saving Trust by 7 September 2012. Applications will be judged on a range of criteria, including the project’s vision, potential benefits for the local area, potential partners and any relevant experience of delivering similar projects.
DECC has also announced winners of this year’s £10m RHPP social landlord competition, helping to get low carbon heating systems into the homes of thousands of social housing tenants.
BIS: Business Minister Norman Lamb has welcomed the progress made by payday lenders as they published newly revised Codes of Practice to increase transparency and better help vulnerable borrowers, but warned that they need to maintain their focus on protecting consumers and tackling bad practice.
The revised Codes of Practice were published by the 4 Trade Associations which represent over 90% of the payday & short-term loan industry. They follow on from the Government’s Response to the BIS Select Committee’s Report into Debt Management, when new commitments were agreed to help deliver increased protection for consumers.
DH: Patients could benefit from faster access to medicines such as pain relief & anti-inflammatories thanks to proposed new prescribing powers for advanced practitioner physiotherapists & podiatrists:
* Physiotherapists would be able to prescribe medicines for issues such as chronic pain & respiratory diseases like asthma. The opportunity to prescribe pain relief and other medicines would help many patients to respond more quickly to their treatment.
* Podiatrists who treat patients with a wide range of conditions including diabetic foot ulcers and arthritic disorders in the foot & ankle would be able to prescribe medication, if required, more promptly.
CLG: Baroness Newlove, the Government's Champion for Active, Safer Communities, recently announced the names of 10 areas across the country that will each be awarded small grants of up to £10,000 to test innovative ideas that will help reduce problem drinking and related antisocial behaviour, improve how communities work together and make real changes to their area.
DfT: The new 15 year Great Western franchise will see passengers benefit from new express trains, additional capacity, smart card ticketing and passenger satisfaction targets as part of proposals being put forward by Rail Minister Theresa Villiers.
CLG: Nearly 400 Town Teams are to win backing from a multi-million pound package of Government support to revive their high streets and make them the beating hearts of their communities, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps announced last week. The news comes as Shapps announced 15 new Portas Pilots, taking the total across the country to 27.
Mr Shapps issued a call to MPs from the 392 Town Teams not chosen, to come forward and sign a national pledge to become a Town Team Partner - enabling access to a package of support to their own town. The package of support is worth £5.5m nationwide.