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In the News

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BISPhysical locks & guards won’t keep them out - The UK’s most senior business leaders are getting new advice on how to better tackle the growing cyber threats to their companies.  Currently, too few company chief executives & chairs take a direct interest in protecting their businesses from cyber threats.

The Government has launched Cyber Security Guidance for Business, which consists of 3 products:
The first product is aimed at senior executives and it offers some high level questions which BIS believe will assist & support them to determine their critical information assets, support them in their strategic level risk discussions and help them ensure that they have the right safeguards and cultures in place.

The second product is an Executive Companion which discusses how Cyber Security is one of the biggest challenges that business and the wider UK economy face.  It offers guidance for business and focuses around key points of risk management & corporate governance and includes some anonymous case studies based on real events.

The third product supports the Executive Companion and provides more detailed cyber security information & advice for 10 critical areas (covering both technical & process/cultural areas).  The material integrates the ‘Top 20 Critical Controls for Effective Cyber Defence’ as endorsed by CPNI. These controls provide further detailed guidance.
Press release & links ~ UK Cyber Security Strategy ~ Cyber Security Guidance for Business ~ Comments by the Foreign Secretary at the end of the London Conference for Cyberspace (02/11/2011) ~ CPNI: Top 20 Critical Controls for Effective Cyber Defence’ ~ Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) ~ Police Central e-Crime Unit in the Metropolitan Police ~ SOCA: Protecting your business from organised crime ~ SOCA: Protecting individuals - useful links ~ National Crime Agency ~ CESG (the Information Security arm of GCHQ) ~ Combating cyber attacks ~ Defence Minister opens UK cyber security test range ~ CH: Cyber Security ~ On cyber warfare ~ Cyber Attacks: A Wake-Up Call ~ RUSI: Cyber Security ~ ICSPA ~ Cyber Security Centre ~ PBP: Cyber Security in the UK ~ Newswire - ICO:  You might be able to ‘demand it’ from clients, but you will also now ‘pay for it’ if you are careless with it (2nd item) ~ European Network Security Agency (ENISA)Digital Agenda: cyber-security experts test defences in first pan-European simulation ~ Digital Agenda: Commission reviews Member States' protection against cyber attacks ~ Digital Agenda – Commission consults on a future EU Network and Information Security legislative initiative (closes on 15 October 2012)

BIS:  Just one step up from Slave Labour - Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations, has recently taken the move of naming an employer under the BIS Scheme for naming employers who flout National Minimum Wage (NMW) law.  Leicester based hair & beauty salon owner, Mrs Rita Patel trading as Treena Professional Hair & Beauty, neglected to pay £3,361.22 in arrears of the NMW to a former worker following an investigation by HMRC, which has resulted in HMRC enforcing the debt through the court.

HMRC’s investigation showed that over a period of 4½ months, Mrs Rita Patel paid only £342.00 to a worker in salon.  Under the NMW Act the worker was in fact legally entitled to £3,703.22 for work undertaken during that period.   Employers who pay workers less than the NMW have to pay back arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to £5,000.

The Government is committed to deterring employers who would otherwise be tempted not to pay the NMW and recognises that bad publicity is an effective way of doing this.  The BIS scheme to name employers who flout minimum wage law came into effect on 1 January 2011.
StC:  Unfortunately what Society may like the State to provide and what it can afford to provide don’t match - The UK's poorest children are bearing the greatest burden of the recession – having their parents go hungry to feed them, missing regular hot meals, unable to afford warm coats & new shoes and suffering enormous emotional strain, says Save the Children

In its major new report ‘It Shouldn't Happen Here’, the charity highlights children's - as well as parents’ - experiences living in recession-hit Britain and the extent to which poverty is blighting young lives.  1 in 8 of the poorest children in the UK go without at least 1 hot meal a day, and 1 in 10 of the UK's poorest parents have cut back on food for them to make sure their children have enough to eat, the report reveals.   

Behind the projected increases in child poverty are the day to day struggles of families on low incomes - many of them in work, but still in poverty.  
Press release ~ It Shouldn't Happen Here ~ StC: Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play ~ FAST (Families and Schools Together) ~ Step up for a Living Wage ~ Severe Child Poverty: Nationally and locally ~ Save the Children: UK child poverty ~ Poorer families forced to pay more for heating and services ~ Directgov: Minimum Wage ~ LPC comment ~ TUC comment ~ CBI comment ~ Child Poverty Action Group ~ JRF: We need a third more earnings to make ends meet, say working families ~ Living Wage ~ A Fairer London: The 2011 Living Wage in London ~ Scottish Living Wage campaign ~ Researching London’s living wage campaign ~  IFS: Child and Working-Age Poverty from 2010 to 2020 ~ CSJ:  With budget cuts we can only afford targeted funding that delivers value for money (2nd item) ~ Committee publishes report on the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission cost reductions  ~ MPs publish report on means tested benefits ~ JRF - New Welsh poverty figures threaten 2020 child poverty target ~ IFS:  The better off can cut back on expensive luxuries, but for the poor that is often not an option ~ CO:  It has always been a question of ‘who you know’, not ‘what you know’, even for some manual jobs ~ Help for Scotland’s poorest families ~ JRF:  Often beautiful, but usually a long walk (little public transport) to anywhere or any service (4th item)

BIGMoney (or at least charitable funding) can help you to become happier! - The Big Lottery Fund’s (BIG) £160m Well-being programme has led to an increase in life satisfaction more than three times greater than would be expected if someone was to double their income

Other headline figures include a 13% rise in the number of people eating 5 portions of fruit & veg a day amongst users of Well-being funded projects, while there has been a 30% drop in the number of adults reporting symptoms of depression.  Amongst those aged over 65, this drop was greater – at 56%.

The Year 4 evaluation, carried out by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the New Economics Foundation (nef), has surveyed 3,204 people who are taking part in over 50 projects.  The final report will be available in autumn 2013.
IoE:  The GCSE debacle: what, if anything, went wrong? – From an Institute of Education blog:
Reading the headlines about the current GCSE furore brought me back to the heady days of September 2002 and the last major examination crisis.  Teachers reported marking discrepancies in certain A level coursework modules and complained to awarding bodies and the media. …….

It looks as though there will be an inquiry along the lines of (the resultant) Tomlinson’s 2002 report, possibly spearheaded by the House of Commons education select committee. If so, I hope that it makes sure it fully understands the complexity of the issues.  2012 was the first year of the new English specification (syllabus)actually 3 new specifications: English (a combination of language and literature), English language, and English literature.  There was also a new element in the specificationsFunctional English.
VSO:  The stuggle for life begins at birth - International development charity VSO is calling for midwives & other maternal healthcare professionals to consider volunteering in Ethiopia where they will improve healthcare for countless mothers & babies.  In Ethiopia 14,000 women lose their lives through birthing complications each year and only 6% of women have access to a skilled birthing attendant.
STFC:  Are you up for a global challenge? - The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Futures Programme is making funding available to support around 15 new studentships to undertake research training at the interface between STFC capabilities and the global challenges in energy, the environment, healthcare & security. The scheme will operate as a pilot scheme in the first instance and will be reviewed after the first projects are awarded. Deadline for submitting applications: 4pm on Thursday 4 October 2012.

CESG: - New CESG Certification scheme for Government Information Assurance Professionals Goes Live - CESG, the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, A new certification scheme for people working in government IA roles by CESG, the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance.

The scheme has been developed because the government wants to secure the huge economic and social benefits represented by cyberspace.  It needs to ensure cyber activities are not disrupted due to attacks. There are tens of thousands of malicious emails on government networks each month.
IA plays an important role in reducing cyberspace vulnerabilities. We need knowledge, skills and capability to underpin our cyber security objectives so we can take advantage of the economic and social opportunities that cyberspace represents.

Candidates can now apply for six  IA certifications, giving them independent verification of their  specialist knowledge and skills.

Click here to find out more.

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the
Newsletter Archive

General News

LGA: Councils' cash reserves will run out in 5 years if local authorities use them to cover the expected cuts in the money they receive from Government.  With cuts in public spending tipped to carry on until 2020, analysis by the Local Government Association shows that if councils used all of the £17bn to cover the expected cuts to local government funding, the reserves would run out by 2018.  
LGAConsultations undertaken by the Local Government Association (LGA), UNISON, GMB and Unite have approved the proposals for a reformed Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) published at the end of May 2012.  The consultations took place between the beginning of June and the end of August and included individual ballots for union members and a process enabling scheme employers to both express support (or not) and make comments on the proposals.
A statutory consultation process will now be undertaken by Government in order to implement these proposals. This process will also include proposals currently being finalised under ‘workstream 2 of the LGPS 2014 project’ covering scheme governance and cost management.
HO: As of last week people applying for a new passport will save £5. The new cost for an adult standard passport will be £72.50 - a reduction of £5 from the previous cost of £77.50. The price of a new passport will stay in place until March 2015.
Socitm: Socitm is inviting public sector organisations to join its Benchmarking user satisfaction service. The current series has just started and must close by 16 November 2012 with a results workshop on 4 December.
ScotGov: A groundbreaking campaign starring Elaine C Smith has been launched to highlight the signs & symptoms of breast cancer. The advert is the first in the UK to show real pictures of women’s breasts with visible signs of breast cancer.
It features Scottish actress Elaine C Smith, who lost her own mum to breast cancer, holding a series of placards illustrating the symptoms of breast cancer. The advert carries the message ‘Lumps aren’t the only sign of breast cancer’, so that women know how to spot the signs. 

It is part of the Scottish Government’s £30m Detect Cancer Early drive, which aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25%.
FSA: Martin Wheatley, managing director of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and chief executive officer designate of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has announced that he wants to see an end to mis-selling created by sales incentives.   

He has announced a major piece of work to ‘tackle poorly designed incentive schemes that too often result in customers being sold products they do not need or cannot use, while boosting the earnings of the sales person’.
MoD: Around 500 soldiers from across the UK set to leave the Armed Forces have taken advantage of a fair to ease their transition to civilian life.  The fair was the first of its type to be held on a joint basis with the CTP and focused on education, health, housing and welfare.
DfT: The DSA is urging all driving test candidates booked to take a test on Thursday 13 September to attend as usual, despite the potential for strike action by driving examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) unionTheory tests are not affected and will be taking place as planned.
ScotGov: Scotland’s participation at the prestigious Venice architecture Biennale last week was supported by a partnership of the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and the British Council (Scotland). The partners have developed a Scottish approach to 2012 Biennale that showcases projects, exploring innovative ways of engaging with people & places, under the title of Critical Dialogues.
SOCA: SOCA have launched a new campaign with UK crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and Cyprus Police (CYPOL) to locate some of the UK’s most-wanted fugitives. Operation Zygos features 9 suspected criminals possibly evading justice in what is one of the most popular countries for British ex-pats.
CIPD: A new Higher Apprenticeship in Human Resource Management has been officially launched by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Skills CFA with the objective of broadening access to careers in business for a wider and more diverse array of future talent.
FSASainsbury's is recalling its Biere des Moulins Lager and St Cervois Premium Lager, because a small number may contain pieces of glass. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

CLG: Funding to help those facing the real & frightening prospect of homelessness will continue to the end of this Parliament. Councils across the country are set to receive a share of £160m over the next 2 years. The Minister also confirmed that a new website and telephone line, where anyone anywhere looking to get help for someone sleeping on the streets can go to, is on track to be available by Christmas.
He also offered a first-look at a new campaign (StreetLink) aimed at encouraging people to seek help for rough sleepers in their area.
Ofsted: From now on all schools inspected by Ofsted must, at a minimum, be judged as ‘good’ to be good enough for our children. The revised inspection arrangements follow a comprehensive consultation ‘A Good Education For All’ which received more than 5,000 responses from teachers, headteachers, parents, carers & governors.
CLG: New planning rights will allow more flats to be created above shops without the need for planning permission.  Two flats will be allowed to be created in office or storage space under new permitted development rights coming into force.
The change further streamlines the planning system, making it easier, quicker & cheaper for people to create new homes in existing underused space.  It has the potential to help increase the amount of affordable housing and ensures better use is made of existing developed land.
ScotGov: Housing associations are being urged to sign up for a scheme that could deliver up to 1,500 new affordable homes for rent across Scotland. The National Housing Trust initiative (NHT) for Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) allows housing associations to fund homes through a scheme being underwritten by the Scottish Government.
Following the success of NHT for councils & developers, the initiative is being extended further with a new version that gives RSLs a leading role. The new financing model will see housing associations build homes or fund the purchase of newly-built homes so they can be made available for rent at below market rates for 5 to 10 years. And there will be flexibility on exit to enable RSLs to retain homes for rent indefinitely.
DHSavings of over £1bn will be reinvested into the NHS following the Department of Health’s legally binding agreement with CSC, suppliers of the Lorenzo healthcare IT system.  This agreement will give local hospitals and NHS organisations the power to make their own decisions about which IT systems they use.  The money saved will go back into the NHS and would be enough to pay for 500,000 extra knee & hip operations, and almost 15,000 extra doctors.
WAG: The Welsh Government has established a new group to champion learning disability issues and provide specialist advice to ministers on matters affecting people with a learning disability. The Learning Disability Advisory Group will help the Welsh Government shape its learning disability policy on issues such as sustainable social services, tackling health inequalities and social integration & inclusion.
WAG: A feasibility study is to be carried out into proposals for a new sustainable urban village on a 100 hectare greenfield site owned by the Welsh Government at Felindre, Swansea. The proposed new village could provide a mix of affordable & private sector housing - with associated community facilities including schools & playing fields and also provide employment opportunities.
The proposed new village would complement plans for the adjoining 60 hectare brownfield site at Felindre – the former British Steel/Corus tinplate works which closed in 1989.  Now owned by Swansea Council, it has undergone extensive remediation works to create a strategic employment site.
ScotGov: A united approach to ensure the wellbeing of Scotland’s service personnel & veterans was announced last week by Veterans Minister Keith Brown. The Armed Forces Commitments Paper sets out what the Scottish Government is doing to address the health, housing, education & justice needs of current and former service men & women.  It also lays out how the government will work with partner organisations in the future to ensure consistent support for this group.
FCO: Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt, said that the UK is absolutely committed to securing a robust & effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), when he updated Parliament on the July negotiations.
HMT: The Government has published legislation which will enable the Government to guarantee up to £40bn of investment in infrastructure and up to £10bn in new homes. The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill gives statutory backing to the UK Guarantees programme announced in July and the housing guarantee schemes announced last week.
The UK Guarantees scheme has been established to ensure that where major infrastructure projects may struggle to access private finance because of adverse credit conditions they can proceed as planned.  The Government also intends to issue debt guarantees to support the building of new private rented sector and affordable homes.


BIS: A new consultation has been launched to look at banning above cost payment surcharges; a measure the UK will put in place to bring part of the European Union’s Consumer Rights Directive into force.  Traders will no longer be able to make a profit by charging the consumer for credit or debit card use above the amount it costs them to process that payment.  Consultation closes on 15 October 2012..
FOS: The Financial Ombudsman Service are very keen to work with groups of consumers who – according to research – are less likely to know about their rights to complain and about the free availability of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
FOS would like to hear from you, if you work with a group representing consumers who may be especially disadvantaged by not knowing about the ombudsman. For more information about FOS outreach work with voluntary & consumer groups, please contact their external liaison team.
DH: A consultation on what local authorities should do and who they should involve when considering water fluoridation schemes has been launched. Views are being sought solely on the process by which local authorities carry out consultations and decision-making on new & existing fluoridation proposalsnot on the pros or cons of fluoridation itself
These changes are prompted by the abolition of Strategic Health Authorities, which currently carry out this role, and means local authorities will be given new responsibilities & powers to improve the health of their communities.  Consultation closes on 27 November 2012..
EU News: Following the recent manipulation of LIBOR, the Commission has launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to comment on possible new rules for the production & use of indices serving as benchmarks in financial and other contracts. The consultation closes on 15 November 2012..
OFT: The OFT has issued a call for information on the UK petrol & diesel sector. The UK retail road fuels sector is estimated to be worth around £32bn.  Petrol prices rose by 38% between June 2007 & June 2012, and diesel prices by 43% over the same period.
The OFT wants to identify whether (or not) there are competition problems that it can tackle in the sector.  It is inviting the industry, motoring groups and consumer bodies to submit information. The OFT will be gathering information over the next 6 weeks, and plans to publish its findings in January 2013.  Information call ends 17 October 2012.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued a combined Consultation Paper (CP) & Discussion Paper (DP) that proposes a number of changes to the client money & custody assets regime for firms that undertake investment business. The consultation period closes on 16 October (Part I) & 30 November 2012 (Parts II and III).
ScotGov: The Scottish Government recently published proposals seeking views on lowering the drink driving limit in Scotland. The consultation follows the recent transfer of the power to set the level of the drink drive limit from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament.  It seeks views on reducing the existing blood/alcohol limit of 80mg/100ml to 50 mg/100ml and consequential equivalent reductions in the breath & urine limit. Consultation closes on 29 November 2012..
CQC: In a consultation paper on its strategy for 2013-2016 published recently, the Care Quality Commission sets out proposals for what it thinks it should focus on and what the public & others can expect from it. The consultation paper also says that the CQC will improve the way it uses information to help it spot & address poor care faster.  

It will also highlight what works well so the people who run health & care services can improve the quality of the care they provide and it will make it easier for people to access & understand its information. The consultation closes on 6 December 2012..

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

NE: A new industry-backed guide to funding & support available for dairy farmers has been launched by Natural England. The booklet - which has been produced by NE in consultation with The National Farmers’ Union, the RABDF (The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers), DairyCo and the Environment Agency - provides clear & helpful information on how environmental management through Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) can complement farming practices and provide business benefits.
WAG: As children across Wales return to school after the summer holidays, many parents will be bracing themselves for the annual onslaught of colds, tummy upsets & nits. A senior medic at the Welsh Government says children’s risk of succumbing to illness can be lowered with a few simple precautions.
Dr Heather Payne, a paediatrician and Senior Medical Officer at the Welsh Government, says ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date, encouraging good hygiene among children, and making sure kids eat, sleep & exercise properly can all help (See press release for tips for keeping bugs at bay).

Annual Reports

PC&PE: The Treasury Committee recently published responses from the Government and the Office for Budget Responsibility to its report on the Budget 2012.
ONS: In 2011, Liverpool had the highest percentage of workless households in the UK, according to new analysis from Office for National Statistics. Overall 31.6% of households there were workless, but this was down slightly on the previous year, when 31.9% of households had been workless.
What is common among the areas within the top 5 is that they were all heavily industrialised in the last century.  Industries such as the dockyards in Liverpool, coal mining in the Central Valleys and shipbuilding in Glasgow have been in long decline.

General Reports and Other Publications

IPPRWind power is an important form of low carbon electricity and could be a source of significant comparative advantage for the UK, according to a new report published by the thinktank IPPR. But, the report argues that false claims about wind power technology are putting this potential at risk and could result in higher energy bills for consumers.
The report, Beyond the Bluster, debunks claims from a group of more than 100 MPs that wind power is not an effective technology.  It shows that the UK has the greatest potential for wind power of any European country, both onshore & offshore and that the global market for low carbon technologies is continuing to grow rapidly.
PC&PE: The EU must do more to get UK consumers a better deal on sugar, says the Lords Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy EU Sub-Committee in their new report published last week. The report (Leaving a bitter taste? The EU Sugar Regime) is the conclusion of the Committee’s short, follow-up inquiry following 2005’s 'Too Much or Too Little? Changes to the EU Sugar Regime', published when reform of the regime was imminent.  
The Committee wanted to examine the progress of reform and what measures will be necessary in future, prior to the EU finalising its position on this issue in autumn 2012.
PX: Think tank Policy Exchange says that rebalancing the pay and pensions of public sector workers so that they are in line with that of equivalent workers in the private sector would save £6.3bn a year in public spending.  This money would be better spent on tackling local unemployment and could create at least 288,000 private sector jobs – or the equivalent salaries of 332,000 more nurses or 252,000 more teachers - in some of the areas of the country suffering most from the impact of the recession.
The report – Local Pay, Local Growth - recommends abolishing national pay bargaining and enabling local public sector employers to choose systems of pay that reflect local living conditions and vary pay awards by the performance of employees.  The report also recommends a permanent freeze on annual pay scale uplifts and the abolition of automatic pay progression points.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 7th Report of Session 2012-13, 'Immigration: Points Based System-Student Route'.
PC&PE: In a report published last week – ‘Overseas Students and Net Migration’ - the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has called on the Government to record overseas students under a classification that does not count against the overall limit on net migration in order to allow the UK to continue to expand its share of the overseas student market.
PC&PEZambia is a long way from eliminating extreme poverty despite an improving economy and the benefits of copper resources, according to a report by the International Development Committee which examines the UK Government’s development programme in the country.  UK support should be focused on reproductive health services, secondary education and rural poverty, the MPs argue.
IoEAcademics have identified a new ‘squeezed middle’ – some 40% of 14-19 year olds who are getting a raw deal from their education.  The prospects of these ‘middle attainers’ were ‘half-served by New Labour’ but have ‘worsened considerably under the Coalition Government as it focuses on high ability students’, delegates to the British Educational Research Association conference in Manchester heard last week.
TUC: Stronger regulation & enforcement is needed to weed out sub-standard apprenticeship schemes and raise quality standards, the TUC said in its submission to the Richard Review into the future of apprenticeships. The TUC is concerned that a minority of employers are providing poor quality schemes, which risk tarnishing the much-improved reputation of apprenticeships.  Worse still, some companies are able to do this while still claiming government subsidies, says the TUC.
NIA: A new report (Safeguarding Northern Ireland Listed Buildings) by the Assembly Public Accounts Committee has called on the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to make better use of its powers to protect listed buildings.
NO: The London Borough of Hounslow delayed in assisting a homeless man with mental health issues finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin.   In her report she says the Council did not take a homelessness application from him as it should have done because it considered he was not ‘in priority need’. But she points out that “this was irrelevant: the issue was whether it had reason to believe he was homeless or threatened with homelessness”.
TNA: The new edition of Tracing Your Caribbean Ancestors by The National Archives' Guy Grannum provides anyone interested in researching their family's connections to the British West Indies with everything they need to know to get started.
IPPRImproving school performance, through academy & free schools status, will not be enough to close the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils in England’s schools, according to a new report (A long division: closing the attainment gap in England’s secondary schools) published by the think tank IPPR.  The report urges Michael Gove and Nick Clegg to reform the Pupil Premium, expand personal tuition and invest more in early years education.  
ESRC: A unique approach to early literacy work with families where children develop their language skills and their ability to read & write from an early age has had a huge success. Researchers from the University of Sheffield funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) initially planned to use the approach with around 60 families, but discovered that around 6,000 had actually benefited from their work.
TWFChanges to careers guidance which came into effect last week as part of the Education Act risk severely compromising the quality & availability of support for young people, and could exacerbate the problems they face when first entering the labour market, according to a report published by The Work Foundation. The paper warns that the changes represent a false economy which could leave young people at greater risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).
NHS ConfedNHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said last week ‘challenging and fundamental changes are needed to the health and social care system’, following publication of a King's Fund report on the current delivery system’.

Legislation / Legal

ScotGov: First Minister Alex Salmond has unveiled the Scottish Government’s programme for the new Parliamentary year. He revealed the package of 15 bills – led by the flagship Referendum Bill, which will legislate for a vote on independence in the autumn of 2014 – during the first day of the new Parliamentary session.
DECC: Thousands more householders up & down the country will be eligible for help under the Government’s Warm Front scheme, when new regulations come into force, from 12 September 2012. .

Revisions to the scheme rules will align the income based qualifying benefits with those to be used for the forthcoming Affordable Warmth group under the Energy Company Obligation.  Help will continue to be targeted at households living in properties that are poorly insulated or do not have a working heating system.  However, the qualifying Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) threshold for the property will be increased from 55 to 63.
ScotGovHousing & empty property rates reform aim to regenerate Scotland’s communities, Local Government Derek Mackay said ahead of a stage one debate on the Unoccupied Properties Bill. The Bill will allow councils to remove existing discounts and increase council tax on certain long-term empty homes, which often fall into disrepair and can become a focus for antisocial behaviour such as vandalism or fly tipping.
There are 25,000 long-term empty homes across Scotland and these new powers could assist councils to work with home owners to provide homes for people who need them. The reforms also include measures to ‘incentivise’ owners of vacant business premises to  bring up to 5,500 properties back into commercial use.
HMT: The Government has published legislation (Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill) which will enable the Government to guarantee up to £40bn of investment in infrastructure, and up to £10bn in new homes. The gives statutory backing to the UK Guarantees programme announced in July and the housing guarantee schemes announced last week – See ‘Policy Statements & Initiatives’ section for more information.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

BIS: New research evaluating the economic costs & benefits of EU legislative proposals on computer trading in financial markets has been published. Evidence is reviewed in Economic Impact Assessments on MiFID II Policy Measures related to computer trading in financial markets, a working paper by Foresight.
The paper shows support for the use of some measures currently under consideration in the EU under MiFID II.  Other measures are likely to entail costs that exceed potential benefits. This paper has been developed within Foresight’s forthcoming study of computer trading in financial markets.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government has learned that talks between the EU, Norway, Iceland and Faroes have not led to a break through in the mackerel fishery stalemate. In February protracted negotiations failed to secure a 4-way Coastal States deal for 2012, leading to a third straight year without agreement.  New mackerel talks for 2013 are set to commence in October 2012.
EU News: The European Commission has unveiled plans to deal with the exponential growth in mobile & wireless data traffic by enabling wireless technologies, including broadband, to share the use of the radio spectrum.
EU News: A draft law to restrict the general public's access to chemicals that can be used to make home-made explosives was endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee last week. Under the text, already agreed by Parliament & Council representatives, consumers will have to obtain a licence to buy these products, although some exemptions will be possible.  Home-made explosives have been used in many terrorist attacks, such as the bombings in Norway last year.
EU News: Following the recent manipulation of LIBOR, the Commission has launched a consultation inviting stakeholders to comment on possible new rules for the production & use of indices serving as benchmarks in financial and other contracts. The consultation closes on 15 November 2012..
EU News: As part of its strategy for creating jobs & growth, the European Commission has launched an initiative to boost the recognition of skills & competences gained outside school or university. The Commission's proposal aims to increase job opportunities in particular for the young unemployed and those with few formal qualifications such as older and low-skilled workers.  It also seeks to increase access to higher education, especially among mature students.
EU News: The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has adopted his opinion on the amended Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of the fingerprints of asylum seekers.
A significant addition to this amended proposal is the access to EURODAC data by law enforcement authorities.  While the EDPS understands that the availability of a database with fingerprints could be a useful additional tool in combating crime, this amendment is a serious intrusion into the rights of a vulnerable group of people in need of protection and he asks if such access is really necessary.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CRUK: More than a third of 16-24 year olds admit to risky behaviour in the sun, according to a new survey from Cancer Research UK’s Made in the Shade campaign. The results showed that 35% plan to use sunbeds, tanning oils, only apply sunscreen when they start to burn, let their skin burn in the hope that it will eventually go brown or don’t intend to wear any sunscreen at all in strong sun this summer.
UKD: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that qualified pilots & air traffic controllers with diabetes treated with insulin and other medications can carry out full operation duties including flying commercial aircraft.
Licensed pilots & air traffic controllers, who have diabetes, will need to demonstrate good overall control of their condition before gaining medical qualifications to fly.  Pilots with diabetes have already been able to fly recreationally since 2002, but the new policy allows full private flying privileges, once medical requirements are met.
BIGOn average during each of the last 5 years at least 7,800 people have died due to living in cold homes. A £12m Big Lottery Fund initiative will help vulnerable people to keep warm this winter, safeguard their homes against extreme weather, and reduce their risk of falling into fuel and food poverty.
12 projects across England have each received up to £1m each from the BIG’s Communities Living Sustainably initiative which is focused on inspiring people to reap financial, environmental and health gains by adapting the way they live and work and connect together.

Business and Other Briefings

BIS: More than 100,000 UK businesses could save £ms in annual accountancy & administration costs under reduced auditing & reporting requirements announced last week. The Government’s response to the consultation on Audit Exemptions and Change of Accounting Framework confirms plans to allow more companies to make a commercial decision about whether or not to have a statutory audit. The regulations are expected to come into force for accounting years ending on or after 1 October 2012..
DWP: New analysis by the DWP reveals that builders, waiters & gardeners are among those who will benefit most from automatic enrolment into workplace pensions starting next month.
This Brief announces publication of guidance (in the form of 7 information sheets) on the changes to address VAT borderline anomalies announced at Budget 2012.

Forthcoming Event

APCC: The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners' briefing day - Prospective Police & Crime Commissioners are warmly invited to attend a high level briefing & debate that will consider the future of policing in England & Wales.
This FREE event for Prospective PCCs will be held on Tuesday 11 September 2012, ,

Press release & links

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