In the News
ScotGov: Renewable energy is not just about extra costs to consumers - Research published last week has found that 3 proposed Scottish carbon capture & storage demonstration projects ‘could be worth £3bn to the national economy and generate 5,000 new jobs in construction & operation’.
The findings, announced by Scottish Enterprise, follow an in-depth study into the economic impact potential of the proposed CCS developments at Longannet, Peterhead & Hunterston. The proposed facilities, if fully developed, will test & demonstrate the technical & commercial aspects of CCS technology to then allow the deployment of CCS in existing and new fossil fuel power plants to dramatically reduce Scotland's carbon emissions.
CCS technology could create thousands of new low carbon jobs in Scotland. Recent research has highlighted the vast storage potential of the North Sea as being of European-scale significance and the Moray Firth as having up to a century's worth of storage.
NAO: How many cancer patients were denied drugs to pay for this project which many experts warned would be an expensive failure? - The rate at which electronic care records systems are being put in place across the NHS under the National Programme for IT is falling far below expectations and the core aim that every patient should have an electronic care record under the Programme will not now be achieved.
Even where systems have been delivered, they are not yet able to do everything that the Department intended, especially in acute trusts. Moreover, the number of systems to be delivered through the Programme has been significantly reduced, without a commensurate reduction in the cost.
A new NAO report concludes that the £2.7bn spent so far on care records systems does not represent value for money and, based on performance so far, the NAO has no grounds for confidence that the remaining planned spending of £4.3bn on care records systems will be any different.
BIS: New skills help break the cycle as ex-offenders have the ability to ‘earn’ a future - The Government has launched a report outlining plans to break the cycle of re-offending, by developing a stronger link between learning in prisons and the vocational & employability skills that employers demand.
Under the reforms to the adult offender education system in England, there will be greater emphasis on the results that education & training in prison delivers. The way learning is delivered in prisons will also be overhauled to better reflect the way the prison system is organised and improve value for money.
IfG: Getting the support of the Members of the HoL will be a bit like getting turkeys to vote for an early Christmas - The Government has set out its plans for a smaller, reformed House of Lords. The proposals are outlined in a draft House of Lords Reform Bill and in an accompanying White Paper also published this week.
PC&PE: No more ‘40 Minute’ decisions by PMs - There is an urgent need for greater clarity on Parliament’s role in decisions to commit British forces to armed conflict abroad, concludes the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee. In its report, the Committee recommends that ‘the Government should as a first step bring forward a draft detailed parliamentary resolution, for consultation with us among others, and for debate and decision by the end of 2011’.
The Committee points out that ’much work in this direction has already been completed, and the process for decision should be relatively swift’. The Committee welcomes the Foreign Secretary’s commitment to enshrine Parliament’s role in law, but says this is likely to be a longer-term project. Concerns around the feasibility of a statutory solution would need to be explored & resolved.
The Committee also recommends that Parliament’s current role in conflict decisions should be clearly described in the Cabinet Manual. The Manual, when published, is intended to be a single source of information for Ministers, civil servants and others on how government works.
FSA: Tax payers cannot afford for them to get it wrong again - The Bank of England (the Bank) and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) have published a joint paper (The Bank of England, Prudential Regulation Authority - Our approach to banking supervision) setting out the current thinking on how the future Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) will approach the supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions and investment firms.
The PRA will be responsible for supervising both insurance companies & deposit-takers. A companion paper will be published in June 2011 to cover the PRA's approach to supervising insurance companies.
Press release & links
Free Report: Vision, Action, Traction – Succeeding with Agile in Government ICT - This report responds to the recent Government ICT Strategy and the Institute for Government report that preceded it (‘System Error: Fixing the Flaws in Government IT, Institute for Government’). It also proposes a framework to help ensure success and provide a healthy return on the investment that will be necessary if the ICT strategy is to be implemented effectively in the medium to long term.
Click here to request your free copy of ‘Vision, Action, Traction: Succeeding with Agile in Government ICT’.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
FSA: Doves Farm Foods has withdrawn some of its Organic Plain Chocolate Drops, because the product contains milk, which is not an intended ingredient. This makes the product a possible health risk for anyone who is allergic to or intolerant of milk. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert advising anyone with an allergy to or intolerance of milk not to eat the product.
FSA: Asda has recalled certain packs of its Japanese Style Spicy Rice Cracker Mix, Spicy Wasabi Mix and Japanese Style Baked Rice Cracker Mix, because they possibly contain small pieces of glass. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.
JRF: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has called for urgent & fundamental reform of the housing market after the failure of policy-makers to learn the lessons from previous boom & bust cycles, which have led to the UK having one of the most persistently volatile housing markets in the world.
Convened by JRF in 2009 and consisting of interdisciplinary experts, the JRF Housing Market Taskforce has undertaken a system-wide review of the UK's housing market. Its report recommends a series of policy options that together would help create a more stable housing market, to protect existing home owners and enable more new households to get onto the property ladder.
MoD: Preparations are in full swing to host a 3-day celebration of the UK's Armed Forces in Edinburgh this summer, which takes on the mantle of the national centrepiece for 2011's Armed Forces Day celebrations (24 - 26 June 2011), with a parade, musical entertainment, exhibitions, aerial displays and a Royal Navy ship open to visitors.
MoD: The conclusion of the Royal Navy mission to train Iraqi sailors in the coming days will mark the official end of British Armed Forces operations in Iraq. The UK-Iraq Training and Maritime Support Agreement came to an end on Sunday 22 May 2011, which means the conclusion of Operation TELIC - the name for UK operations in Iraq that began with the invasion & subsequent removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Royal Navy personnel have worked alongside US forces to train & mentor Iraqi sailors and marines at their main naval base in Umm Qasr. A total of 1,800 Iraqi personnel have been trained on 50 different courses, including maritime, small arms, oil platform defence and maintenance. A 'train the trainer' focus has also given the Iraqi Navy the ability to develop an independent and self-sustaining force for the future.
MoD: 2 Roll Over Drills Egress Trainers (RODETs), armoured hulls kitted out just like a real vehicle that can be completely rotated, are teaching troops in Camp Bastion how to survive if their vehicle hits an IED. The 2 RODET units, which can simulate a vehicle rolling & coming to rest upside down or on its side, are in use at Camp Bastion, and every soldier likely to go 'outside the wire' experiences the delights of ‘going for a spin’.
There are techniques to be learnt, such as getting out of a 4-point safety harness when hanging from what is now the roof without falling across the vehicle, and extracting a wounded or unconscious casualty. Every move is watched by the operator using a series of night-vision cameras mounted inside the simulator.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
MoD: Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has announced that approval has been given for the early phase of design of the submarine that will deliver the UK's nuclear deterrent well into the 2060s. The submarines that will replace the existing Vanguard Class will be powered by a new nuclear propulsion system known as the Pressurised Water Reactor 3.
Under this next phase, contracts are likely to cost in the region of £3bn. Overall, it is estimated that the submarines will be within the £11-14bn estimate set out in the 2006 White Paper. As part of the Value for Money Study conducted alongside the Strategic Defence and Security Review, it was concluded that the MoD could demonstrate its commitment to disarmament by reducing the number of warheads & missiles carried on our submarines and this work is already underway.
HO: Music festival organisers have been asked to review their measures for tackling illicit drug use at their events by Baroness Browning, the government's new minister for crime prevention & antisocial behaviour reduction. In an open letter to all the major summer events, Baroness Browning also expressed her concern over the demand for so-called 'legal highs' and called for increased vigilance.
Newswire – CCC: The Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Chris Huhne, has made an oral statement to the House in which he announced that Government would accept the Committee on Climate Change's recommendations on the 4th Carbon Budget (2023-2027) in full.
This will legislate a cut in emissions of 50% (on 1990 levels) by 2025 and will put the UK on track to meeting the 2050 target (an 80% reduction in emissions). It will limit emissions over the budget period to 1,950 MTCO2e across all sectors of the economy.
CLG: Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced a definition for zero carbon homes that ‘strikes the right balance between delivering the zero carbon homes for the future and creating the right conditions to get the homes the country needs built’. Tough standards for fabric energy efficiency (insulation, glazing) will be included in future changes to the Building Regulations.
ScotGov: The new Scottish Government's 2020 renewable electricity target has been raised to 100%. First Minister, Alex Salmond, has also launched an online portal showcasing Scotland's burgeoning offshore wind sector and announced the signing of a new strategic agreement between the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia, Canada, to collaborate on the development & deployment of power generation from the sea.
Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe's offshore wind & tidal energy resource and 10% of its potential wave capacity. Lease agreements have been secured for offshore wind developments in Scottish waters with the potential to generate around 10 GigaWatts of electricity by 2020, while similar agreements have been signed for 6 wave & 5 tidal projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters with a potential capacity to generate 1.6 GW.
BIS: Changes to Intellectual Property systems could add up to £7.9bn to the UK’s economy, the first report looking at how it can drive growth said last week. The publication of Digital Opportunity follows a 6-month independent review of IP & Growth, led by Professor Ian Hargreaves. He was asked to consider how the national & international IP system can best work to promote innovation and growth.
His recommendations aim to give the UK a competitive advantage – and put it on a par with international competitors. Taken together, they have the potential to add up to 0.6% to annual GDP and to cut the costs of doing business with IP-related business by £750m within a decade.
BIS: A Government commissioned report has been published on how best to transfer Post Office Ltd from Government ownership into a mutual run for the public benefit. The proposals in the report by Co-operatives UK, the trade association for co-operative enterprises, would give the local owners of Post Office branches – the sub-postmasters – together with employees, charities, customers and local communities, a much greater say in how the network is run.
Ministers believe that transferring ownership of Post Office Ltd – not the privately owned individual branches - to a mutual could better align these interests and help secure a positive future for the network. The core purpose of the Post Office is to operate for the public benefit and this should be entrenched, with legal safeguards, for perpetuity.
The Postal Services Bill, which is currently being scrutinised & debated by the House of Lords, includes provisions for 2 alternative ownership structures of Post Office Ltd: either Government continuing to hold 100% of the shares or the Post Office being reconstituted as a mutual that is run in the public benefit.
DfT: Inflation busting rises in rail fares could become a thing of the past if the £1bn annual cost savings in the railways envisaged in a report published last week are achieved, the Government has said. Responding to Sir Roy McNulty’s independent Rail Value for Money study, Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond welcomed the report and emphasised the need to reduce the cost of our railways.
The recommendations of Sir Roy’s highly detailed report entitled ‘Realising the Potential of GB Rail’ will now be considered and will feed into Government proposals to reform the rail industry to be published later in the year.
DfT: Government strategy to tackle congestion caused by motorway closures and drive down the £1bn annual cost to the economy has been unveiled by Roads Minister, Mike Penning, ahead of a national summit. The Minister also announced the launch of a £3m fund for police forces to purchase laser scanning technology to speed up of the investigation process and incident clear up times.
A 10 point action plan will help ensure that closures take place only when they are absolutely necessary and for the minimum amount of time. This will help keep traffic moving, supporting economic growth for the future prosperity of the country.
MoD: PM David Cameron informed the House of Commons Liaison Committee last week that around 400 UK military personnel had already, or would early in the New Year, leave Afghanistan.
DfT: Over 400 Whitehall road transport regulations have been placed on the Red Tape Challenge website – a Government-wide site aimed at reducing bureaucracy - for 4 weeks. It asks everyone whether they think that a regulation is well designed and provides vital protections, or is badly designed, badly implemented or simply a bad idea.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government's new Cabinet team has been announced by First Minister Alex Salmond, subject to the necessary parliamentary approval.
PA: As you might be aware, the Government is using a pause in the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill to take stock of opinion on its plans for reform of the NHS. The Patients Association is using this break to collect the public’s view on the upcoming reforms. They have prepared a questionnaire on health & social care reforms.
EU News: The European Commission is asking the public how best to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags. It will ask if charging & taxation would be effective, or if other options such as an EU-level ban on plastic carrier bags would be better. Opinions will also be sought (by the 9 August 2011) on increasing the visibility of biodegradable packaging products, and boosting the biodegradability requirements for packaging.
ACE: Darren Henley, Classic FM Managing Director, has been commissioned by the Department for Education and the Department for Culture Media and Sport to review cultural education in the UK. In support of the review, the Arts Council wishes to survey the views of the new National portfolio organisations and museums & libraries by the end of June. The report & its recommendations will be published in December 2011.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
CIPD: Employers need to refresh their approach to people management, policies & practices, to ensure they are in line with the changing age issues reflected in both the Equality Act and abolition of the default retirement age (DRA). Updated guidance from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Managing Age, will help address the challenges that many organisations face today.
BIS: Universities can now access a new tool to help develop & manage their intellectual assets. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a strategy guide called ‘Intellectual Asset Management for Universities’.
The new guide provides advice & information to universities to help them understand how they can best use their institution’s intellectual property (IP). This can be an invention, trade mark, original design or the application of a good idea. In 2009/10 £84m was generated directly from IP at universities.
FOS: The Financial Ombudsman Service has published its annual review covering the 2010/11 financial year. The ombudsman handled over 1m front-line enquiries & complaints from consumers –around 1 in 5 of the initial consumer enquiries turning into a formal dispute requiring the involvement of our adjudicators & ombudsman. 51% of the new cases were about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI).
DH: Fewer patients now have to suffer the indignity of staying in mixed sex accommodation thanks to new rules introduced by the Government last year, according to new figures out last week.
The figures show that reported breaches of mixed-sex accommodation rules in NHS hospitals has fallen dramatically – down by 77% since December 2010. Hospitals found in breach of rules are now fined £250 for each patient affected and each day that they stay in mixed sex accommodation.
General Reports and Other Publications
ESRC: A new international Task Force has been set up to promote 'a fair day's work for a fair day's pay' for workers and to develop organisational capacity in lower income countries. The research which found discrepancies between the salaries earned by local and those earned by expatriate aid workers was instrumental in setting up the task force.
According to the findings from a jointly funded project by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) an expatriate aid worker will be paid on average 4 times more (and sometimes much more) than a local employee doing a similar job, with local salaries pushing workers below the poverty line.
ESRC: As public sector prisons move towards the thin staffing level model of profit-making institutions, with their high turnover of personnel who are less connected to their occupation, a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) warns of a potentially detrimental impact on prison quality.
In a 4 prison comparison, the private prisons showed weaknesses in policing & control, organisation & consistency, and prisoner development. Managers in the private sector prisons acknowledged that staff did not follow procedures as well as public sector staff. The researchers found that both of the private prisons they looked at had relatively inexperienced staff, and were sometimes hampered by their tighter staffing levels.
PC&PE: The Committee of Public Accounts has published a report which, on the basis of evidence from the Home Office and the UK Border Agency, examines the management of the work routes of the Points Based System for Immigration and ‘raises a number of concerns’.
STFC: The Science and Technology Committee has published its report on strategically important metals in which it warns of the knock on effect of a 'perception of scarcity', the risk of market distortion from national monopolies, and environmental damage caused by waste exports to developing countries. It also calls for more recycling.
Civitas: The present governments approach to climate-change policies will actually undermine the UKs ability to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By pricing energy-intensive industries out of the UK via green levies & taxes, the greenest government ever is actually smothering the emerging low-carbon economy at birth. The new plans for a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 are too much, too soon.
PC&PE: In a report published last week, the Home Affairs Committee criticises the lack of progress made by successive Government towards addressing the concerns raised by its predecessor Committee in 2008 regarding forced marriages.
The Committee is pleased with the relatively high take-up of Forced Marriage Protection Orders - 293 issued between November 2008 & February 2011- but disappointed at a lack of agency follow-up to ensure compliance. In the rare instances where breaches are discovered, not enough action is taken, with only one individual jailed.
It recommends that the Government, while maintaining this civil route, also criminalises forced marriage, as the Prime Minister promised to consider while in Opposition. This would send a stronger message that forced marriage will not be tolerated.
TWF: Coalition policy is failing to deliver the public sector innovation that could dramatically boost value for money & benefit the economy beyond the public sector, argues a report published by The Work Foundation.
Unless the government grasps this area, there is a danger that spending cuts and public service reforms will stifle innovation along with its economic benefits, and a chance to reverse declining public sector productivity will have been lost.
Ofsted: School governing bodies that clearly understand their roles & responsibilities, build productive relationships with school leaders, know their schools well and use the views of parents, pupils and the wider community are best equipped to drive improvement in their schools.
Inspectors visited 14 schools where governance was judged outstanding and the report (‘School governance: Learning from the best’) identifies the key characteristics of those governing bodies.
DWP: Research published last week examines smartcard schemes that local authorities have implemented. The research draws together good practice & learning points as they relate to smartcard scheme implementation.
The review explores a range of issues, including the types of services included within smartcard schemes; citizen participation in schemes; use of data to improve services; dissemination of information to users & prospective users; communications activities & messages; and how schemes have been evaluated.
Deloitte: Deloitte, the business advisory firm, has launched its second power & utilities report (Empowering Ideas 2011) looking at the challenging conditions the sector will face across the world during the remainder of 2011 and into 2012.
ESRC: Greater awareness of 'specific language impairment' (SLI), a language disorder, is needed to ensure better outcomes for the 3-6% of UK school children affected by this disability. Children with SLI have difficulties with most or all aspects of language including grammar, vocabulary & literacy as well as with short term memory.
According to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), they also have problems with higher order thinking skills. SLI may have a greater impact on these children than the better know disorder, dyslexia.
ICI UkBA: John Vine CBE QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, has published 3 reports focusing on the Agency’s operations in Scotland & Northern Ireland: border operations, countering abuse of the Common Travel Area, and the Agency’s representation at first-tier appeals in Scotland.
DWP: Research published recently examines what aspirations people of all ages hold for their later life, what they are currently doing to prepare, and what enablers & barriers there are to achieving their aspirations.
KPMG: Despite the EU’s ongoing efforts to establish more uniform financial regulation across Europe, a report published by KPMG finds there is still significant divergence among European regulators in their approaches to implementing the Pillar 2 guidance on capital adequacy.
The main difference between countries such as Germany, Austria & Belgium, and others including France, Spain & the UK, boils down to the extent economic capital models are expected to inform the outcome of the regulatory assessment of required capital levels.
Newswire – CBI: The CBI has commented on the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim analysis of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and its implications for the UK nuclear industry.
CIPD: The impact on the overall labour market of a slight rise in private sector recruitment, fuelled almost exclusively by the manufacturing & services sectors, is still being cancelled out by large-scale public sector job losses, according to this quarter’s Labour Market Outlook from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and KPMG.
The survey also forecasts that pay inflation may pick up in the next 12 months, with average pay award expectations across all sectors rising to 1.7% from the 1.3% recorded last quarter.
Ofsted: Service children who face regular moves from home & school can suffer high levels of anxiety & stress, especially when their parents deploy to armed conflicts overseas, according to an Ofsted report - Children in Service families.
The quality and impact of partnership provision for children in Service families report found that this problem was exacerbated because systems of transfer of children's records between schools were not always properly coordinated and important information was therefore delayed or did not arrive at all.
NAO: The suspension & cancellation of a number of key armoured vehicle projects since the 1998 defence review has resulted in the Armed Forces facing a significant shortage in the principal armoured vehicles they require, until at least 2024-2025.
A National Audit Office report found that the Department's standard acquisition process has been undermined by a combination of over-ambitious requirements and unstable financial planning. Despite the commitment of considerable resources, since 1998, the MOD has received only a fraction of the armoured vehicles it has set out to buy through its standard acquisition process.
KF: A 8 month inquiry by The King’s Fund’s Commission on NHS Leadership and Management finds the NHS ‘in urgent need of a new style of leadership to overcome unprecedented financial pressures and adapt to future challenges’. The report from the Commission emphasises the crucial role excellent general & clinical managers can play in delivering the productivity improvements & service transformation that the NHS requires.
The Commission finds high-quality, stable management to be key to high-performing health services. Yet across the NHS, the average chief executive spends just 700 days in post. The Commission examined evidence from UK and international health care and other sectors, finding that given its size & complexity, the NHS is under-managed, but over-administered.
PwC: The future of corporate reporting is at a critical point– its ability to evolve & meet business and society’s changing needs will be essential if the threat of future systemic risk is to be minimised. These are the conclusions of a new report from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), PwC, and think tank Tomorrow’s Company.
The risk of leaving a reporting framework – founded during the Industrial Revolution – largely unchanged means that while financial accounting will survive, the whole system may become stressed and increasingly reliant on information outside the mainstream report, the organisations said.
Legislation / Legal
OFT: The OFT has provisionally decided that there are competition problems in the audit market that pass the statutory test for referral to the Competition Commission. However, it is now to discuss with interested bodies whether, in practice, potential remedies exist that could allow the Commission to resolve these problems.
Having considered a wide range of evidence, much of it reflected in the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee's recent report on audit, the OFT has now reached the provisional view that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that there are features of the market that restrict, distort or prevent competition in the UK.
Newswire – LC: The Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission have recommended the creation of a new consumer statute setting out what a consumer should tell their insurer before taking out insurance.
The current law imposes a duty on consumers to tell insurers anything which would “influence the judgment of a prudent insurer” in fixing the premium or deciding whether to take the risk.
The problem is that most consumers have little idea of what might influence a prudent insurer. Yet the penalties for failure to disclose information to insurers are harsh. If a consumer fails to disclose material information, the insurer may treat the policy as if it does not exist and refuse all claims under it.
EHRC: The Supreme Court yesterday handed down a decision on the holding of DNA data (PDF on external site) last week. John Wadham, Group Director, Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "There have to be clear and justifiable reasons for holding onto the DNA data from people who have not been convicted of a crime. Our view is that the current guidelines for the police are not in keeping with the law and the Supreme Court has confirmed this."
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The European Commission has welcomed the WTO Appellate Body report on the Airbus case published last week. The Appellate Body has overturned several key findings made by the Panel. Most importantly, the Appellate Body found that support provided by Germany, Spain and the UK for the launch of Airbus' A380 aircraft is not a prohibited export subsidy under WTO Law. It also rejected the US appeal that other instances of Repayable Launch Investment (RLI) were export subsidies.
EU News: The European Commission has formally requested the UK to amend its legislation to better take into account the rulings of the EU's Court of Justice on the tax treatment of controlled foreign corporations (CFCs).
Despite the 2006 Court's ruling in the Cadbury Schweppes case, the UK is still not complying with EU law on freedom of establishment & free movement of capital. In particular, the UK continues to tax in the UK profits of subsidiaries established in the EU or in Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA).
BIS: ‘Funding for EU research and innovation from 2014: a UK perspective’ looks at the future role & shape of EU funding for research & innovation and sets out the recommendations from the Government.
EU News: The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to 10 Member States formally requesting to fully implement the last amendment to the Railway Safety Directive. Austria, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom, have so far failed to bring their national legislation into line with this Directive although obliged to do so by 24 December 2010.
The Commission has set a 2-month deadline for these Member States to remedy the situation. Should the Member States fail to do so, the Commission may refer the cases to the Court of Justice.
EU News: The European Commission has asked Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom to adopt national legislation to implement the new port state control regime to comply with European Union law.
Following the "Erika" and "Prestige" accidents off the European coasts, EU legislation on port state control was adopted in 2009 under the third maritime safety package. This directive reinforces as of 1 January 2011, Member States' obligations to inspect vessels calling at their ports. The new law requires more frequent inspections on ships posing a higher risk and extends the ban on substandard ships.
EU News: The European Commission is asking the public how best to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags. Opinions will also be sought (by the 9 August 2011) on increasing the visibility of biodegradable packaging products, and boosting the biodegradability requirements for packaging – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
Business and Other Briefings
HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced an initiative to crack down on VAT rule breakers. The new campaign will focus on individuals & businesses who are trading above the VAT threshold, but who have not yet registered for VAT.
Business and Other Briefings
HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced an initiative to crack down on VAT rule breakers. The new campaign will focus on individuals & businesses who are trading above the VAT threshold, but who have not yet registered for VAT.
OS: Ordnance Survey has released an enhanced & updated version of OS OnDemand, its web mapping service designed for professional users.
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