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Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGovMore than half of the value of North Sea oil & gas reserves is yet to be extracted – representing an asset with a ‘potential wholesale value of a trillion pounds’ – Alex Salmond claimed last week, as he urged the UK Chancellor to deliver long-term stability in the tax regime to support maximum recovery by the industry.
CO: As part of its continuing pledge to leave no stone unturned in the hunt for waste, the government has claimed that in just 8 months it has secured £3.25bn in cash savings from efficiency measures.
DH: Patients are alreadybenefiting from GPs starting to take a lead in designing local health services and a renewed focus on health outcomes.  Examples from around the country highlight that during the first year of emerging clinical commissioning groups redesigning services, patients are starting to experience improvements in quality of care.
DfT: The first vans eligible for the Government’s new Plug-in Car Van Grant, have been announced by Transport Secretary Justine Greening and Business Minister Mark Prisk recently.  Van buyers will be able to receive 20% - up to £8,000 - off the cost of this first wave of 7 plug-in vans.
ScotGov: The Scottish Land Fund which will help more rural communities buy their land has been launched by Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson.
BIS: Skills Minister John Hayes has set out the funding available to those undertaking initial teacher education (ITE) to teach in the Further Education (FE) and Skills sector.  For 2012 – 13, bursaries of £1,000 will be introduced to enable up to 10,000 trainees to take either the Higher Education Institution (HEI)-accredited Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS), or a level 6 PGCE qualification.

In addition, bursaries of £1,500 will be introduced to enable up to 1,000 trainees who are taking HEI-accredited ITE courses and who are intending to teach basic Maths & English in the sector.
FSA: The UK Government, through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has recently published the full response to the Farming Regulation Task Force and the Food Standards Agency has published an update to its response.
WAG: Wales’ Regeneration Minister, Huw Lewis, has announced a review of regeneration policy in Wales. The review will consider the Welsh Government’s current policy, in particular the Regeneration Area approach, and a future direction for regeneration in Wales. Although the details of the review are yet to be agreed, the Minister confirmed that renewing town centres & seaside towns would be key.
BISManufacturing industry is being urged to bid for extra growth funding.  From last week, an extra £1bn is available to businesses seeking support to help them create new jobs & grow, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced.
The funding is part of the Regional Growth Fund and takes the total fund to £2.4bn. It will be available to ‘businesses and public / private partnerships with ambitions to create new jobs and make a significant impact on their local economy’.
DFID: A new fund focused on bringing more stability to Somalia has been agreed as part of last week’s London Conference, International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, has said. 

The international Stability Fund – led by Britain – will help create jobs, agree local peace deals and set up police, courts & basic services in areas where there is less fighting, or which have been recently freed from militant control.
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