More on the Summer Budget
Latest announcements, comments & ‘protests’.
Researched Links:

Summer Finance Bill 2015 legislates new tax changes

HM Treasury:  National Living Wage - women and those based outside London to be biggest winners

LGA:  National living wage to cost councils £1bn a year by 2020/21

ScotGov:  UK Budget ‘encourages inequality’

techUK:  Summer Budget 2015: Carbon taxes Implications for data centres


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‘Increased Productivity’ makes the ‘Tax Revenue Cake’ bigger on a sustainable basis

The Chancellor has published “Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation”, a comprehensive plan that sets the agenda for the whole of government over the parliament to reverse the UK’s long-term productivity problem and secure rising living standards and a better quality of life for our citizens.

Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid, launched the plan at a Speech at Birmingham, saying: “Narrowing this gap is a prize worth striving for.  For instance, matching the productivity of the US would raise GDP by 31%, equating to around £21,000 per annum for every household in the UK.  The government’s framework for raising productivity includes 15 key areas, built around two pillars: first, encouraging long term investment, and secondly, promoting a dynamic economy”.

Researched Links:

BIS:  Productivity plan launched

CIPD:  Government’s Summer Budget puts productivity plan firmly in the spotlight

Fixing the foundations: HEFCE response to Government’s productivity plan

Sharing growth with workers will help boost productivity, says TUC

CBI response to Government productivity plan

Skills emergency could 'starve growth' - CBI/Pearson survey

HM Treasury:  £400m boost for small businesses across the North

CBI:  Careers advice in schools 'not good enough', says firms

CIPD:  Productivity plan fatally undermined by weak skills strategy

Secretary of State for Wales hails Welsh TV industry as ‘beacon of creative success’

HEFCE:  UK universities power nationwide growth

Work Socially, Work Smarter - The Definitive Guide to Driving Productivity

New White Paper: Local Government Workforce Challenges & Solutions

NIESR:  Satisfied employees & higher productivity go together

New What Works Centre for Wellbeing

Workers on company boards makes sound economic sense, says TUC

The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on Productivity, Business Performance & Employment - NIESR

Share more profit with your workers, CSJ tells big business

‘Productivity puzzle’ is a red herring for our austerity damaged economy, says TUC

Vince Cable, the CIPD, investors & employers come together to put workforce performance measures at the heart of business productivity

Quality of UK management has failed to improve in more than a decade, says CIPD report

Skills shortages fuel productivity problem

NIESR - Satisfied employees and higher productivity go together

But will it ‘sour’ joint efforts to increase productivity?

The government has introduced new reforms to strengthen strike laws, ‘ensuring the right to strike is fairly balanced with the right of people to be able to go about their daily lives and work’.  The Trade Union Bill will introduce:

  • a 50% threshold for ballot turn-out
  • an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all members eligible to vote in the key health, education, fire, transport, border security & energy sectors
Researched Links:

BIS:  New legislation to make strike laws fair for working people

Trade Union Bill will shift the balance of power in the workplace, warns TUC

True pay equality will also only be achieved when both sexes retire at 65/67!
There are now more women-led businesses than ever before, a record number of women in work, and the gender pay gap is at an all-time low - but the PM says there is more to do.
Researched Links:

10 DS:  PM - My one nation government will close the gender pay gap

CBI responds to GPG announcement

EHRC comments on Government announcement on closing the GPG

HMT:  National Living Wage - women and those based outside London to be biggest winners

Power to the (female) people

Welsh women lead the way as employment hits near-record high

10 DS:  Villiers: Women can drive Northern Ireland economic recovery

UKCES:  Government boost to help low paid workers progress in their careers

£11m EU-backed project to promote gender equality in Wales’ workplaces

By investing in women, you invest in business

Men twice as likely to earn over £50,000 a year as women

That’s worse than the make-up of Cabinet

We seem to have been talking about this for decades
Jeremy Hunt sets out the government’s vision for a patient-led, transparent and safer NHS.
Researched Links:

DH:  Health Secretary sets out ambition for a 21st century NHS

DH:  Making healthcare more human-centred and not system-centred

NHS Confederation welcomes Jeremy Hunt’s focus on a more human centred NHS

NHS England:  Gather all people to help improve the NHS

Sir Bruce Keogh update on review of professional codes of practice

DH:  Jeremy Hunt announces new measures to improve safety across NHS

CQC responds to Secretary of State’s speech

TUC welcomes Pay Review Body views on funding & pay for 7-day NHS

NHS Pay Review Body:  Enabling the delivery of healthcare services every day of the week

techUK launches Interoperability Charter for Health & Social Care

techUK:  Technology branded as ‘Patient Power 2.0’ by Jeremy Hunt

Kings Fund:  New controls unlikely to have much impact on agency spending as NHS heads for financial crunch

Patients set to benefit through fresh boost to innovation

BIA & MHRA publish report following joint conference Pathway of Innovation from Research to Patients

Implementation is always the main issue

Are we prepared to ‘re-slice the revenue cake’ to pay for it

Should the attempted ‘silencing’ (especially in public sector organisations) of Whistle-blowers become a legal offence?

It saves the state £bns

Hospitals are too expensive for anything but specialist ‘non-mobile’ treatment

Remember Staffordshire Hospital

Longer independent living is vital for the NHS funding ‘crisis

‘Reassurance’ is key to their state of mind

Don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone to be held responsible and being ‘Made to Pay’?

NHS must care for patients AND their confidential medical records

Joined-up care by law

Achieving the best outcomes for the NHS requires ‘highlighting the worst’

It is often not the ‘mistake’ that annoys people, but rather the ‘cover-up’ and the reluctance to at least say ‘sorry’

BBC ‘luvvies’ have already started protesting at possible threat to their ‘mega fees’
The Government has set out the topics for debate as part of the process to review the BBC’s Royal Charter to make sure it remains a valued public broadcaster.  The current Charter is due to expire at the end of 2016. The Government’s consultation paper - a ‘Green Paper’ - is the first stage of the process in setting a new Charter.
Researched Links:

DCMS:  Government begins debate on the future of BBC – (DCMS:  Industry experts to advise government on BBC Charter Review

DCMS:  Government begins debate on the future of BBC – consultation closes on 8 October 2015

IEA:  It’s time to end the BBC's government granted privilege

techUK response to BBC Charter consultation

DCMS:  Independent review on TV licence enforcement published

BBC to fund provision of free television licences for over-75s

Times of India:  Britain reviews future of BBC

Ofcom publishes public service broadcasting review

Scottish role in future of BBC

IEA:  The compulsory BBC licence fee makes no sense

BBC CTO confirms shift towards internet centric broadcasting

TV seeks to win children over to science, but are there other effective alternatives?

Digital Inclusion Strategy: helping everyone to get online

Public Accounts Committee publishes report on BBC Salford

NAO: Severance & wider benefits for senior BBC managers

New group to advise the First Minister on the future of broadcasting in Wales

BBC Trust publishes NAO report on the BBC’s efficiency programme

Strictly fair play? The Lords report on the BBC

Scrutiny of Value for Money at the BBC

Encouraging an e-future

UK cities & businesses are being encouraged to apply for a £10m fund in a competition that will revolutionise the way the Internet of Things (IoT) benefits citizens by offering environmental improvements, economic opportunities, and more efficient & effective delivery of services such as transport, healthcare & energy.  

Projects must be collaborative and led by a local authority or local enterprise partnership (or an equivalent body outside England). Projects should involve at least 1 local authority, 1 local enterprise partnership and several businesses.  Deadline for registration is at noon on 23 September 2015, with the deadline for applications at noon on 30 September 2015.

Researched Links:

DCMS:  £10m Internet of Things competition for UK cities launched

BCS encourages students to be part of the digital revolution

Prevention is far better than a cure which (unfortunately) does not always succeed
As previously announced, the meningitis B vaccine will be introduced to the routine childhood vaccination programme in Wales, from September 2015.  The vaccination will be given in 3 doses at the age of two, four and 12 months, with all babies in Wales who are aged two months when the vaccine is introduced being eligible for the jab.  There will be a catch-up programme for those children born between May 1 & June 30, 2015.
Researched Links:

New meningitis vaccines to be introduced in Wales

Meningitis B vaccine to be made available to all babies in Wales

DH:  New programmes to protect against meningitis and septicaemia

STILL at Risk?
CQC safeguarding & hospital inspection teams have both carried out a review of services in Rotherham, including the effectiveness of the safeguarding arrangements health services for looked after children.  Both teams found improvements must be made in child safeguarding and that some agencies still do not understand their roles or responsibilities in this area.  Contraceptive & sexual health services in particular and these partners can play a potentially critical role in identifying children at risk.
Researched Links:

CQC:  Review of health services in Rotherham

‘Root & Branch’ reform is so difficult to achieve despite the best of intentions

Should senior council & police officers take responsibility for their alleged actions / inaction and also resign, as they are paid to be ‘responsible’?

Somehow the term ‘The Great & the Good’ no longer seems to be appropriate for our ‘Civic Leaders’

Not surprising crime figures fall if reports of crimes are ignored!

A bitter pill for most
PHE have called on parents & families to cut sugary drinks from their children’s daily diet, after independent nutrition experts say the country consumes too much sugar, leading to major health consequences.  The SACN final report on carbohydrates & health recommends a significant cut to the amount of sugars people consume as part of their daily calorie intake - halved from 10% to 5%.  The report also recommends that consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is minimised and fibre increased.
Researched Links:

PHE urges parents to cut sugary drinks from children’s diets

IEA:  A sugar tax would hit the poor the hardest

IEA:  A government clamp-down on sugar would have harmful effects

Introduce sugar tax to combat obesity crisis, says Unite

The new way ‘smoking’ can damage your health
A nationwide safety alert is being issued by fire authorities after a ‘highly disturbing’ spate of fires caused by dodgy e-cigarette chargers which explode.  The LGA fears that these are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and many cases go unreported. The LGA has called for e-cigarette manufacturers to do more to warn of the dangers.
Researched Links:

LGA:  Exploding e-cigarettes – nationwide safety alert issued by fire authorities after fresh spate of home fires

Do we know what we are eating?
A new UK Virtual Food Authenticity Network has been launched this week for those involved in food authenticity testing.  Members can register for news alerts and will be provided with a forum for discussion, or to ask questions about food testing, and to share information on methods & new techniques.  The network is a Defra initiative set up in response to the recommendations made by the Elliott Review into the Integrity & Assurance of Food Supply Networks.  The Network will raise awareness of the tools available to check for mislabelling & food fraud and ensure that the UK has a resilient network of laboratories with fit-for-purpose testing to check for food authenticity.
Researched Links:

Defra:  Government Chemist staff behind Virtual Food Authenticity Network


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  English votes for English laws

Wales Office:  Lord Bourne: “It is time to settle the constitutional debate in Wales for the long term”

WAG:  Landmark Bill paves the way for first Welsh taxes in 800 years


Article by National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

There are mixed views about devolution on the network. Andrew Harrop of the Fabian Society says to survive the next 10 years the NHS must become a local health service, with more areas following Greater Manchester and Cornwall to gain control of health services. Meanwhile adviser Adam Fineberg writes that current devolution plans could lead to further fragmentation, managerialism and ultimately privatisation.

Also last week the government launched the biggest crackdown on trade union rights for 30 years. This will severely limit their ability to stand up for public sector workers who have just been told pay restraint will last another four years. The changes could be a killer blow, but perhaps the GMB union leader was right when he warned in May, "Trade unions live longer than governments".

Most Popular
Devolution could be just another path to privatisation of public services

Devolution could be just another path to privatisation of public services
Government’s devolution offer could lead to further fragmentation, managerialism and privatisation

To survive the next 10 years the NHS must become a local health service

To survive the next 10 years the NHS must become a local health service
More places need to follow Greater Manchester and Cornwall and control health locally

Hard work, snitching or pot luck? How I became a council director

Hard work, snitching or pot luck? How I became a council director
I only made it to the top after being sacked, several sidesteps and many unsuccessful interviews

Coping with cuts
We are launching a new series on public servants coping with cuts. If you are a civil servant worried about your job, a probation officer terrified about the futureof your service, or a council chief executive who thinks the workload piled on staff has gone beyond good will, let us know. Have you had a harrowing experience with an increasingly vulnerable resident, or a tense exchange with a politician? Are you proud of the determination and perseverance of your colleagues?
Also on the network
Could smart guns make armed police safer and more accountable?

Could smart guns make armed police safer and more accountable?
After a number of high-profile US incidents, tech companies are experimenting to make firearms safer

Who runs local museums and how are they surviving the funding crisis?

Who runs local museums and how are they surviving the funding crisis?
Local authorities don’t want to board up museums so more are turning to the community

News in brief
• Biggest crackdown on trade union rights for 30 years launched
• Labour attacked Tory law change on trade union political funds
• Greece's civil servants were on strike on Wednesday
• Brighton council rapped for attempt to charge £200 recording fee for interview
• Tories defeated in Lords vote on city mayors
• Islington council to publish secretive calculations used by property developersto avoid paying for affordable homes
Take part
Endangered public parks: share your pictures and stories via GuardianWitness

Endangered public parks: share your pictures and stories via GuardianWitness
As council budgets dwindle, we want to know which parks are sliding towards privatisation