Presumably the opportunities are not open to Russian Oligarchs?

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, has launched a guide to investing in UK infrastructure at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference in Glasgow.  This outlines 14 individual infrastructure programmes & projects worth over £15bn that are open to investment, as well as explaining how the government is making it easier than ever before to invest in UK infrastructure.

The guide ensures investors are aware British infrastructure continues to be an attractive prospect because of its long term and stable returns, plus unique support in the UK from policies such the Green Investment Bank and UK Guarantees Scheme.  The latest update of the Infrastructure Pipeline, released last week, shows that planned infrastructure investment has now increased to £383bn to 2020 & beyond.

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Knowledge Hub – public sector collaboration platform

Knowledge Hub is the place where members exchange knowledge to improve public services and produce social value.

As the UK's largest platform for public service collaboration, Knowledge Hub helps members and communities to freely connect, share knowledge, develop their initiatives and exchange expertise in a secure online environment. The more you use it, the more everyone benefits.

Knowledge Hub is free to use, and right now over 1,500 groups are working to improve:

Come and see the full story here

Will ‘safety’ always trump possible ‘solutions’?

The development of genetically modified (GM) crops for African farmers is stuck in a ‘convenient deadlock’ of continual field trials.  Meanwhile, opportunities to enhance yields & reduce poverty are being lost, according to a new report published by Chatham House.

On Trial: Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa argues that new crop varieties are needed to boost Africa’s agricultural productivity and help farmers adapt to climate change.  To achieve this, genetic modification has advantages over conventional plant-breeding.  

However, prospects for implementing GM in Africa are being frustrated by a public debate characterised by misinformation, polarized discourse and opportunistic policies.  The results of this dysfunctional debate are regulatory uncertainty, consumer distrust & weak farmer demand.  Consequently, most GM projects become stuck at the field trial stage and new crops are not released.

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‘Drowning’ in problems

A new report has shown that troubled families being helped to turn their lives around have an average of 9 different serious problems.  The independently produced data showed that, as well as having significant problems with truancy, youth crime, anti-social behaviour and worklessness; of the families being worked with in the government’s Troubled Families programme:

  • 71% also have a health problem
  • 46% have a mental health concern
  • 29% are experiencing domestic violence or abuse
  • 22% have been at risk of eviction in the previous 6 months
  • 35% had a child of concern to social services or who has been taken into care
  • 40% have 3 or more children, compared to 16% nationally
  • police callouts in the previous 6 months have averaged 5 per family
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In an age when everyone seeks the best price for everything over the internet, surely NHS procurement should provide value for money?

The new online NHS Procurement Atlas of Variation will help hospitals to compare prices and identify where they need to drive down costs so they can invest in more doctors and nurses to care for patients, as well as in frontline care.

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Desperation of young female Syrian refugees

Among Syrian refugees living in Jordan, the rate of child marriages has risen from 18% of total marriages in 2012 to 32% in the first quarter of 2014. The pre-war figure inside Syria included an average of 13% of marriages as involving an under 18-year old.

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Hopefully retire in comfort

The government announced at Budget 2014 a series of changes to how people access their pension.  You can find more information about the pension reforms by reading the factsheet published at Budget explaining the differences between the new changes and the old system

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Did you know ACPO was a Limited Company?

Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have welcomed Chief Officers’ decision to support new arrangements to replace the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).  The decision by Chief Officers to support the proposals comes following an independent review instigated by PCCs in September last year.

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The English may get to vote on something after Scotland

The Government has published 11 new reports in its Review of the Balance of EU Competences, bringing the total number of reports published to date to 25.  The Review aims to analyse & examine the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU).  The new reports, the third set published as part of the review, cover the free movement of services; fisheries; agriculture; competition & consumer policy; cohesion; fundamental rights; social & employment policy; free movement of persons; financial services & the free movement of capital; EU budget; and energy.

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Open Formats for more Open Government

The open standards selected for sharing & viewing government documents have been announced.  The standards set out the document file formats that are expected to be used across all government bodies.  Government will begin using open formats that will ensure that citizens and people working in government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together.

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If you cannot be bothered to renew…..

With the tax credits renewal deadline imminent, HMRC is reminding claimants to renew or face losing their payments.  More than 865,000 claimants have still not renewed their tax credits. They have until 31 July to do so, or their payments might end.

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Where Disney ‘gets some of its magic’

Staffordshire County Council is the first local authority to sign up to Socitm’s new Premium Partner Adapt2Digital’s service, which helps businesses navigate to a place where they can adapt to digital continuously.  Adapt2Digital has an excellent track record within the private sector working with organisations like Disney.

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In plain English - anything else won’t be added to a school’s total

The only English & maths qualifications that will count in the 2017 secondary school performance tables will be reformed GCSEs in those subjects or qualifications reformed to meet the same standards & expectations, the Department for Education.  This will ensure that there is consistency in terms of exams in these subjects, including linearity (exams at the end of the 2-year course) and limited non-exam assessment.

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Time to ‘call time’  on cheap booze

The Welsh Government should introduce minimum unit pricing to address alcohol-related harm among people most affected by hazardous & harmful levels of drinking, an independent expert panel has recommended.

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More contributions to the Referendum debate
Scotland Flag More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;
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