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In the News

HO/MACBut its still 7m every 10 years - A new interim list of ‘shortage jobs’, intended to ‘target migration better at the needs of British businesses’, while reinforcing the approach of the new Australian-style points based system, has been presented to the Home Office by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).  It is claimed that the number of individual positions open to migrants reduced from one million to 700,000.

The final shortage occupation list will be published by the Home Office in October ahead of the skilled worker tier of the points system - known as Tier 2 - coming on-line in November.  The list also defines more tightly which positions cannot easily be filled by resident workers.

Tier 2 is meant to ensure that opportunities for British jobseekers are maintained by requiring companies to prove they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before recruiting from outside Europe.  To get in under Tier 2 skilled foreign workers must have:
* a good grasp of English
* prospective earnings of more than £24,000 or have a good qualification and
* enough money to support themselves for the first month of their stay
ScotGovScotland takes the renewable road and will get there before the rest of the UK - Scotland is set to surpass its renewable energy target for 2011, Jim Mather has claimed.  The Energy Minister was speaking at the SCDI's conference on Scotland's Energy Future, where he revealed new figures on the total amount of renewable electricity schemes either already operating, or with planning permission.

Taken together, this figure of 5.5 Gigawatts (GW) is enough to take Scotland past the target of generating 31% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2011.  The Scottish Government has also published an energy overview.  For electricity, the aim is that 50% of Scottish demand for electricity should be met from renewable sources by 2020.
CLGBut should people be forced to make existing surfaces permeable as well? - The government claims that new rules will cut the red tape for home improvements, combat the effects of climate change and protect World Heritage sites.  Firstly, new planning regulations will mean that from October 2008 the majority of homeowners will no longer need to get planning permission when extending their existing homes.

The changes will allow a quarter of all householder applications (80,000) to build both up & out without needing to pay to up to £1,000 to be granted specific planning permission, potentially saving the nation up to £50m.  However, larger more intrusive extensions will still require permission.  In addition, no-one undertaking these types of home improvements will be required to pay any additional council tax on their homes.

Secondly, the regulations should also reduce the flood risks caused by surface water run off, as new driveways or parking areas over 5 square metres will not require planning permission if they are constructed using surfaces that allow the water to soak through the ground.

Thirdly, all 17 English World Heritage Sites will be upgraded to the same protection levels as conservation areas, national parks and areas of outstanding beauty, so protecting these sites against potentially damaging development. Currently only around half of the UK WHS are protected by conservation status. 
WAGA worthy replacement for heavy industries - Wales is investing in the research & development of micro and nanotechnology that could be worth more than $1 trillion worldwide in less than a decade, First Minister Rhodri Morgan told the 4M Network Conference in Cardiff last week (which was attended by more than 150 scientists from 30 research institutions across Europe).

The market for Microsystems to create better, smaller &newer machines is predicted to more than double from $12 billion in 2004 to $25 billion in 2009 and hit $1 trillion by 2015.  Micro and nanotechnology is opening up the potential for a generation of new and radically enhanced products in areas as diverse as medicine, optical telecommunications, aerospace and textiles.
DHFailure will not be allowed to continue - Following on from the publication of 'Developing an NHS Performance Regime' in June 2008, the Department of Health has announced proposals detailing the steps that would be taken if an organisation failed, either for clinical or organisational reasons.  The regime aims to:
* underpin the NHS performance regime
* ensure the public receive high-quality services by supporting quality regulation
* reinforce the NHS Foundation Trust regime and
* protect patients and staff from failing services

The 'Consultation on a Regime for Unsustainable NHS Providers' (closes December 3 2008) picks up at the point where an organisation has failed to turn its performance around.  The regime is the last step for providers who are subject to previous recovery actions by Monitor or the NHS performance regime.

It proposes that a 'Trust Special Administrator' would be appointed to take control of the Trust to ensure that it continues to provide safe & effective services for patients.  They would also be required to produce a report and consult swiftly on proposals for the future of the trust.
Defra:  A ‘Winter Warmer’ or just government hot air? - The Government has announced a £1bn package, which it claims will enable households to take advantage of help that ‘could save them over £300 every year on their energy bills’.  The Government's aim is the insulation of all Britain's homes, where practical, by 2020.

The Home Energy Saving Programme is intended to provide assistance to householders to make their homes more energy efficient.  For households most vulnerable to fuel poverty, including all pensioner households, it gives help with their bills this winter through the winter fuel payments and lower energy company tariffs.
OfgemMore useful than the government’s programme? - Ofgem has highlighted that energywatch has approved a number of online price comparison services which you can use to compare prices between the different energy suppliers.
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General News

DfT:  An Air Transport Auxiliary Veterans Badge ('ATA Veterans Badge') can now be issued to any man or woman who served in the ATA between 3rd September 1939 and 30th November 1945.
The men and women of the ATA, including the female pilots known as the 'Spitfire Women', delivered over 309,000 aircraft between factories & front line airfields during the war and returned them when they were damaged.
The group had a remarkable delivery record and very few aircraft were lost or damaged.   Tragically 173 air crew personnel lost their lives on ATA missions, including Amy Johnson, the pioneering female civil aviator.  By 1945 there were 650 ATA pilots from 22 countries around the world including Chile, South Africa and the USA.
LSN: The Learning and Skills Network (LSN) reports that Triple science is seeing a resurgence in popularity, with a sharp rise in the number of entries for GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics this year.  Nearly 23,000 more students in England took biology this summer compared with 2007 – an increase of nearly 36%.  Chemistry saw 17,807 additional entries, a rise of almost 30%, while 17,383 more students took physics, an increase of over 29%.
This increase in numbers taking the three separate science GCSEs is good news for this country’s economic future.  The CBI has highlighted the potential lack of science & maths skills as a major future issue for the UK.
STFC: Cameras on NASA's Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn have detected faint arcs of material in the orbits of the small Saturnian moons Anthe and Methone, providing further evidence that most of the planet’s small, inner moons orbit within partial or complete rings.
The faint ring arcs from Anthe and Methone likely consist of material knocked off these small moons by micrometeoroid impacts from outside the Saturn system.  This material does not spread all the way around Saturn to form a complete ring due to gravitational influence or resonance from the nearby moon Mimas, which acts to confine the material in a narrow region along the moons’ orbits.
PCS: The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has announced that it would be balloting 270,000 members (from 24 September to 17 October) across civil & public services on a programme of national industrial action (that will extend into the new year) over the government's policy to cap public sector pay to below inflation.
With a quarter of the civil service earning less than £16,500 and thousands earning just above the minimum wage, the government’s policy has hit some of the lowest paid in the public sector the hardest and led to pay cuts & pay freezes (40% of staff in the DWP, which includes Jobcentres, will have no pay rise whatsoever this year, whilst coastguard watch assistants have had to receive a special pay rise to keep their pay above the minimum wage.
TfLTransport for London (TfL) has responded to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Arbiter’s Guidance on Tube Lines second period costs, covering the funding of their maintenance and renewal works on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines from 2010 to 2017.
The Arbiter’s Guidance gives a rough estimate of the demand that Tube Lines can be expected to make for their work over the period, and this suggests a potential shortfall in funding in excess of £1bn from that currently available.  Given this extraordinary circumstance, TfL expects such a shortfall to be met by the Government, which imposed the PPP structure on the Tube and Londoners.
MoD: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced the sale of its remaining ordinary shares in QinetiQ Group plc at a price of 206p per share (218p as at end of last week).
TfLActive Steps, an initiative to improve the health of Sutton residents by helping them to change their travel habits, has been launched by the local NHS, Sutton Council and Transport for London (TfL).  By encouraging people to leave their cars at home and cycle & walk more often, the programme aims to help improve people’s health & wellbeing and reduce traffic congestion at the same time.
Figures from Sport England reveal that approximately 112,000 Sutton residents could potentially benefit from increased physical activity of the kind proposed by Active Steps – over 80% of the borough’s adult population.   
Patients who could benefit from more exercise will be directed to the scheme by a health practitioner, such as a GP.  During a 12 week programme they will meet with a specially trained NHS advisor who will help them to overcome barriers to walking or cycling, create personal goals and provide them with information such as cycle maps or access to free cycle training.  They will also be sent weekly messages of support by text or mail and be interviewed at the end of the course to see how they have got on.
FDA: The Security Service (MI5) and the Security Service staff association have this week reached an agreement with the FDA (formerly The First Division Association - the union for senior managers in the civil service) - for the union to provide professional industrial relations support to staff.
Staff will not become full members of the FDA, but the FDA will work closely with the Service Staff Association on issues that affect the interests of staff.  This agreement builds on the successful arrangements that the FDA has in other sensitive areas of government and is designed to improve the access of the staff association to support & advice, whilst protecting personal anonymity and national security.
DSA: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has announced a delay of six months to the introduction of the new practical motorcycle test (originally scheduled for 29 September 2008) to Monday 30 March 2009. The move comes after the Agency considered representations from the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), the Motorcycle Rider Training Association (MRTA) and other motorcycle interests.
LSN: To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Crick report – which led to the introduction of citizenship education in the national curriculum – the Learning and Skills Network (LSN), in association with the ACT (Association of Citizenship Teachers) and DCFS (Department of Children, Families and Schools), has launched a short film competition.
Young people are invited to produce a short (3 minute) film looking at how to give all learners a louder & more effective voice both in their learning and more widely across their organisation.
NE: Numbers of hen harriers – England’s most threatened bird of prey - are flat lining with no sign of a recovery. Latest figures from the RSPB and Natural England show the English population bumping along the bottom, with just 10 successful nests from 19 attempts in 2008.
The RSPB’s Director of Conservation, Dr Mark Avery, said: “There is no natural reason why hen harrier numbers are so low.  If there is no illegal killing, as some grouse-shooting interests would have us believe, then where are the missing birds? This year’s numbers are a huge disappointment given the good track record of lowland land managers in helping to conserve iconic birds of prey like the red kite.”
The Forest of Bowland in Lancashire remains the hen harriers’ stronghold with 14 of this year’s 19 nesting attempts.  Much of the land is managed by United Utilities and their estate saw 10 attempts, seven of which were successful.  Surrounding driven grouse moors saw four attempts, one of which was successful.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.


Defra:  Defra has launched a consultation (closes on 28 November 2008) to decide the future status of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), specifically whether it should remain a Defra Executive Agency or be merged with another body in accordance with Hampton Principles.
The VMD is one of 31 regulatory bodies that Philip Hampton in his report 'Reducing Administrative Burdens: effective inspection and enforcement', recommended be consolidated into seven thematic regulators.  Defra committed to consult stakeholders to seek their views on the future status of the VMD in 2008.
Cabinet Office:  The Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) is an entirely new legal form for charities and the Office of the Third Sector and the Charity Commission have published draft details of what the new form might look like and the rules it will have to follow.  The next step in developing the CIO is to consult with the charity sector and those who will do business with these new organisations. The consultation closes on 10 December 2008.
Currently, most charities can only incorporate as a company limited by guarantee, meaning they are regulated by both the Charity Commission and Companies House.  The CIO is designed specifically for charities and will be regulated solely by the Charity Commission, significantly reducing this regulatory burden.
The consultation seeks responses from those who will use the CIO model and those who will work with them, including grant funders, contractors and suppliers, ensuring the new legal form is effective & useful in practice.
LLUKLifelong Learning UK (LLUK) are currently consulting (closes 7 November 2008) on the revision of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the community development workforce. This revision will produce the third set of standards and they will be reflective of changes in legislation & working practices within the sector.
They will also be designed to support the community development workforce (CDW) in a variety of ways, including the underpinning of any subsequent qualification development.
DfT: Transport Minister Rosie Winterton has called on motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, highway authorities and road organisations who are keen to have a say in how our streets will look in the future, to take part in the biggest review of British road signs for 40 years. The review's aims include:
* To consider new powers to reduce street clutter - and ensure out of date signs are removed
* Look at using new traffic sign technologies that can provide new ways of managing traffic flow
* Provide better road information - such as up-to-date travel news
* Demonstrate how effective signing can provide safer roads & reduce accidents
* Improve road users' understanding of traffic signs & signals.
The first meeting of the traffic signs policy review steering group is expected to take place in October 2008 and the group is expected to deliver an action plan for the review by the middle of 2009.  DfT will then work directly with specialist working groups to develop policy proposals for consultation.
DH:  The Government has set out further details for tackling poor performance in NHS hospitals and trusts, while protecting services for patients.  The 'Consultation on a Regime for Unsustainable NHS Providers' (closes December 3 2008) picks up at the point where an organisation has failed to turn its performance around.  The regime is the last step for providers who are subject to previous recovery actions by Monitor or the NHS performance regime – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

CLG:  The government claims that new development rules will cut the red tape for home improvements, combat the effects of climate change and protect World Heritage sites.  The Planning Portal has a new ‘interactive guide to home improvements’ to help explain the new rules – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Annual Reports

CCWater:  A report by the Consumer Council for Water reveals that specific problems within a few water companies caused an 11% rise in complaints last year, while complaints to many other water companies either remained steady or fell.
Last year the Consumer Council for Water helped customers secure £1.76m in compensation & rebates from water companies and has so far worked with water companies to bring customers an extra £130m in benefits, either through extra investments or reduced prices.
DIUS: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) has published its Education at a Glance 2008 report. The OECD said: "Indicators show that, overall, educational performance in the United Kingdom remains strong, with significant progress in early childhood participation as well as an above-average graduate output in higher education, particularly in science, that accrues high labour-market returns.
The UK has also increased its investment in education consistently and strategically, with more money directed to attracting better qualified teachers rather than solely into lowering class sizes."
HEFCE: More students than ever (220,000) have responded to the 4th annual National Student Survey (NSS) this year.  This figure comprises over 210,000 students studying at higher education institutions (HEIs) (up from 177,000 last year), plus over 6,000 students studying higher education at further education (FE) colleges, which took part in the survey for the first time this year.

General Reports and Other Publications

ESRC:  Teachers & pupils agree that active participation and talking about their ideas in the classroom helps children learn more effectively than using ICT ‘just because it’s there’, according to an Economic and Social Research Council funded study.
Children said they liked using ICT because it was ‘fun’ and everyone could join in games and quizzes.  They associated ‘fun’ with unpredictability, risk-taking, rapid feedback & competition and disliked passive learning, such as copying from a blackboard or watching simulated science experiments.
IPCC:  Twice as many people are detained in unsuitable police custody for assessment under the Mental Health Act as those taken by the police to hospital for this purpose, according to research recently published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The IPCC's report, 'Police Custody as a "Place of Safety": a National Study Examining the Use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983', examines the nature & extent of the use of police custody as a place of safety across England & Wales and makes a number of recommendations for the police & health services to improve practice and the experiences of the many thousands of people detained by the police under this power.
Under section 136, police officers can detain people, believed to have a mental disorder, who are in a public place and take them to a place of safety, such as a hospital or police station for assessment.
HC:  A Healthcare Commission survey of people using community mental health services claims continued improvements in ‘care’. A larger percentage of service users say that they have confidence in mental health professionals, receive copies of their care plan and have a number to contact out-of-hours when in a crisis situation.
Overall, most respondents continued to rate their care highly (with 78% describing it as "excellent", "very good" or "good", 13% as "fair" and 9% as "poor" or "very poor), but the survey also shows there is still some way to go before community mental health services are accessible to all people who need them and include all service users in decisions about their care.
Press release ~ Survey of users of mental health services 2008 ~ National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) ~ Care Programme Approach Association ~ DH – Care Programme Approach ~ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Implementation Plan: National guidelines for regional delivery ~ New Savoy Declaration ~ Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health ~ 'We Need to Talk' coalition of mental health charities ~ DH – Mental Health ~ Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) ~ British Psychological Society ~ DH - Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Guidance) ~ Choices in Mental Health: Psychological therapies ~ London School of Economics Depression Report ~ Unite/Mental Health Nurses Association ~ World Federation for Mental Health ~ UK Inquiry into Mental Health and Well-being ~ Mind ~ National review of adult specialist community mental health services in England ~ National Service Framework for mental health ~ Reviewing the Care Programme Approach 2006 – Closed Consultation
Ofsted:  Good… Better… Best: The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) has reported how colleges can improve and why some don’t. Strong leadership & clear vision, challenging aspirations & targets and a thorough process of progress monitoring & self-assessment, are just a number of ways colleges can raise the bar and work towards achieving outstanding status.
The report - How colleges improve: a review of effective practice - finds that the further education sector is improving.  Over 60% of colleges are now considered good or better at inspection, up from just under 50% in 2001-2005, the first round of Ofsted inspections.
No single strategy for improvement is expected to hit the mark for all colleges.  However the report identifies a number of featuresthat are common to those who successfully lifted their standards between first and second Ofsted inspections, from inadequate to good, or from satisfactory or good to outstanding.  It also identifiesseveral factorswhich appeared to hold back progress in those colleges which did not improve their performance over the two cycles of inspection.
BERR:  A review has concluded that the UK's competitive telecoms market can deliver the next generation access (NGA) in broadband and maintain the country's position as a leading online economy, but the Government & Ofcom need to be vigilant and play an active leadership role.
The review, jointly commissioned in February 2008 by the Department for Business and HM Treasury examined barriers to investment in NGA.  Mr Caio has reported promising signs of investment by major players such as Virgin Media and BT, and, at a more local level, by communities experimenting with new deployment methods.

Legislation / Legal

HA:  New regulations have been laid before Parliament following informal & formal consultation, that will allow the Highways Agency's Traffic Officer Service to authorise the removal of certain broken down & abandoned vehicles from the strategic road network, which includes England's motorways and major ‘A’ roads. The regulations will give Traffic Officers powers similar to those currently exercised by the police.
OFT:  The Office of Fair Trading is reminding residential estate agents that new requirements introduced by the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 mean that all persons who engage in estate agency work in relation to residential properties in the UK must join an approved redress scheme with effect from 1 October 2008.
Actual & potential buyers and sellers of residential property with complaints about estate agency work will then be able to use a free, easily accessible, fair estate agents redress scheme, which will have the power to make a range of awards, including requiring a member to pay compensation.  The OFT has to date approved two schemes - the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Company Limited and the Surveyors Ombudsman Service.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

WAG:  People living in parts of rural Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion will find it easier to get to work, early in 2009, thanks to a new & innovative Euro-funded bus scheme which will provide a unique door-to-door service.  The new bus service has been made possible with almost £450,000 of Convergence Funding through the Welsh Assembly Government.
It will enable passengers to book their bus rides from home, which will link up with conventional bus & train services in the surrounding area. The 3-year pilot project, known as Bwcabus, is aimed at providing transport for people who live in rural communities and cannot access employment, education and training.
LSN:  The Learning Skills Network has organised FREE one-day citizenship and Europe events for young people that provide an opportunity for young people to meet MEPs, learn more about European democratic structures & issues and put forward, explore & develop their points of view in a lively and engaging way – See ‘Forthcoming event’ below for more details.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

BIG:  Celebrations are underway for supporters of the Lifelong Carers project, the second group to win the public vote and a slice of Lottery good cause cash from the Big Lottery Fund through the BBC’s Primetime programme.
Lifelong Carers won the hearts & minds of viewers across Scotland with their pitch to spend £418,090 to support older family carers of adults with learning disabilities in the areas of North and South Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway.  The project will meet the needs of the growing number of carers, by helping them to understand what their rights are and how to access respite care and other services available to them.
CLG:  A new initiative to help give the chance of a job to more people who have experienced homelessness has been announced by Housing Minister Caroline Flint. Homeless charities, led by Thames Reach, are joining forces with the Government to deliver a new ambition to employ at least 10% of their workforce from ex-homeless people.
The new plan, backed by £200,000 of investment, will help around 800 people to find work in the voluntary sector over the next 2 years.  The initiative will focus on the 46 biggest homeless organisations before moving on to other smaller charities across England.
Under the scheme homeless charities will be given a bespoke consultancy service to help them employ ex-homeless people.  The charities will get support to set up training courses across many areas of their business, including IT, finance and client counselling.

Business and Other Briefings

DIUS:  The minimum weekly earnings for all apprentices in England will be increased from £80 to £95 a week from August 2009, Skills Secretary, John Denham and Children's Secretary Ed Balls have announced.
The average net earnings of an apprentice each week is £170 but the Government wants to ensure that the earnings of all apprentices are fair and that they should reflect the support given to young people pursuing other qualifications.  The new £95 minimum will benefit an estimated 26,000 (about 10%) apprentices, mostly those in traditional less well paid sectors such as hair dressing and social care - of whom 90% are women.
LBRO:  The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) has highlighted that some of Britain's biggest businesses and most innovative councils are to pioneer a new type of regulatory partnership designed to ensure that key trading laws are applied consistently across the UK.
Retail giants B&Q, Boots, John Lewis, Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose are gearing up to test the new Primary Authority partnerships with council regulators in Bracknell Forest, City of London, Dundee, Eastleigh, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Highland, Nottinghamshire, Wakefield, West Yorkshire and Westminster.  Government estimates suggest the scheme could eventually save business up to £48m a year.
The statutory Primary Authority scheme run by the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) will be available to all businesses that operate across many local authorities from April 2009, with the test phase running from October 2008 to March 2009.
This Brief gives details of an article: Use of rebated fuel in grass cutting vehicles.

Forthcoming Event

LSN: The Learning Skills Network has organised FREE one-day citizenship and Europe events for young people that provide an opportunity for young people to meet MEPs, learn more about European democratic structures & issues and put forward, explore & develop their points of view in a lively and engaging way.
Dates and locations:
* Friday 28 November 2008 - London
* Friday 5 December 2008 - Birmingham
* Friday 23 January 2009 - Manchester
* Friday 10 July 2009 - Newcastle
Members of staff from educational establishments are invited to accompany up to ten young people to attend one of our free citizenship and Europe events, which they are pleased to be running on behalf of the European Parliament UK Office.

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