DWP: Caring for others need not mean total poverty in later life - 250,000 people caring for an ill or disabled friend or relative could be missing out on a top up that protects their basic & second State Pensions in later life. An estimated 1m people have given up work to care for someone and Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, wants ‘hidden’ carers, who could be eligible for Carer’s Credit, to benefit.
Carer’s Credit is not a cash sum now but it credits a person’s National Insurance record for the time they are caring, helping them to build up their State Pension. People giving up their time for 20+ hours a week to provide unpaid care for a loved one, who are not already claiming Carer’s Allowance, could qualify. There are currently less than 1,000 people getting Carer’s Credit. The Government & Carers UK are calling for people to help identify hidden carers and encourage more people to ensure they are claiming all they are entitled to.
According to research from Carers UK the majority of people who care for relatives take over a year to realise that they have become a carer. But if you are giving up time to cook, clean, shop or provide personal care, unpaid, for someone you could be entitled to Carer’s Credit.
Defra: Climate change impacts on 'fragrance' of River Thames - Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman has given her support to Thames Water’s plans for a tunnel to reduce the amount of raw sewage discharged into the River Thames. The core of London’s sewage network was designed in the late 19th Century and was designed to overflow at times of heavy rainfall to ensure that sewage did not back up into houses & streets. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) were intended to discharge the raw sewage into the Thames in the event of extremely heavy rain.
Increasing populations and changes to land use in London have lead to this occurring around 50 times per year. With further population growth and projected climate change, this figure is expected to increase in coming decades and spills could occur when there is very little rain. This also creates problems for the UK’s continued compliance with EU waste water treatment regulations.
Thames Water estimates that the proposed Tunnel will cost £3.6bn which could result in bill increases of around £60-65 per year for Thames Water customers. Thames Water will shortly launch a consultation exercise on the need for the tunnel, the route and the sites needed to construct and operate the project.
EU News: ‘Fairtrade’ for EU food producers also required - The bargaining positions of all players in the human food chain must be rebalanced and fair competition enforced by law, to ensure fair returns to farmers and price transparency to consumers, the EU Parliament said in a resolution voted on last week.
To monitor trading relations between producers and retailers and if necessary rebalance them, an EU-wide instrument could be implemented through specialised bodies in the Member States. Measures to be taken should include an analysis of possible misuse of private labels (i.e. retailers' "own brand" products) and a pilot project to create an EU farm prices & margins observatory.
MEPs have asked the Commission to report to Parliament by the end of 2010 on buyer power abuse and anti-competitive behaviour anywhere in the food supply chain. MEPs also urged the Commission to table legislation to reduce the maximum period allowed for payments from buyers to producers to 30 days for all foodstuffs.
Finally, MEPs also ask the Commission to report on the issue of food wastage, which can account for up to 30% of food produced, and to launch an awareness-raising campaign on the value of food.
Newswire – BP: Legal profession have struck an ‘oil gusher’ of fees - A sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion & fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.
A report released by BP concludes that decisions made by ‘multiple companies and work teams’ contributed to the accident which it says arose from ‘a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces.’ Based on its key findings, the investigation team has proposed a total of 25 recommendations designed to prevent a recurrence of such an accident.
BP said the report was based on information available to the investigating team. It noted that additional relevant information may be forthcoming, for example, when Halliburton’s samples of the cement used in the well are released for testing and when the rig’s blow-out preventer is fully examined, now that it has been recovered from the sea-bed.
WAG: A modern-day ‘William Wilberforce’ required for Wales - Social Justice & Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant, has announced the creation of Wales’ first anti human trafficking co-ordinator. A report prepared by a Cross Party Working Group on human trafficking, led by Joyce Watson AM identified a need for an anti human trafficking co-ordinator for Wales.
‘The Right to be Safe’ strategy, launched in March 2010 outlined the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to supporting victims of human trafficking. Worryingly, human trafficking is now the third most lucrative market in the UK for organised criminals, after drugs & firearms. As the trafficking of women & children in Wales is a largely hidden problem the scale of the crime remains somewhat unknown; however recent police intelligence indicates that it is on the increase.
FDA: Don’t ‘Raise’ taxes, just ensure that they are all ‘collected’ - Last week the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) - the union representing senior staff in HM Revenue & Customs - launched a report on tackling the spending deficit. The paper - Being Bold: a Radical Approach to Raising Revenue and Reducing the Deficit - suggests that the Government has been asking the wrong question when assessing where cuts should fall.
Graham Black, ARC President, said: "When looking at the one department that raises money - HMRC - the question should not be 'What can you cut?', but rather 'What can you contribute?'. Being Bold makes it clear that additional resources for HMRC could significantly reduce the deficit by targeting tax cheats”. The report claims that for every additional pound spent on HMRC, the Government could bring in at least £30 - a return any commercial organisation would readily take advantage of.
LERC: Public Sector Lean Thinktank - 27th September 2010 - The Public Sector Lean Thinktank aims to bring together key decision makers, change agents, policy makers and lean implementers to share a dialogue about lean in their environment and to develop and disseminate new thinking.
Feedback from the last Thinktank suggested that participants wanted the opportunity to visit successful Public Sector Lean sites to better understand its applicability and to explore issues surrounding implementation in more depth. The Ministry of Justice’s Court Services have very kindly offered to host the next Thinktank session at Liverpool County Court, providing the opportunity to learn more about how they delivered their improvement programme, to discover what results they have achieved and to talk to staff about the experience.
Forthcoming event: Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010 - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010 is the industry's largest and most important annual gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders. It delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization.
In more than 200 sessions, workshops, how-to clinics, roundtables and more, Gartner analysts cut through the hype to deliver you a view of what you need to know — from breakthrough approaches to delivering business value through IT to the strategic implications of fast-evolving technologies and industry trends. Whatever your IT role, Symposium/ITxpo has a track dedicated to your needs and perspectives.
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