HO/MAC: But 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
ScotGov: Scotland 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.
CLG: But 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.
WAG: A 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.
DH: Failure 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.
Ofgem: More 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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