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|Instead of imposing the controversial, noisy & dubiously beneficial HS2 on the Shires, why not start with the ‘urgently needed’ HS3 & other road / rail improvements in the North|
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has published its 3rd report: High Speed North’. In October 2015, the NIC was asked to advise on strategic improvements to transport connectivity in the North. Their central finding is that the North needs immediate and very significant investment for action now and a plan for longer term transformation to reduce journey times, increase capacity and improve reliability.
On rail, this means kick-starting HS3, integrating it with HS2 and planning for the redevelopment of the North’s gateway stations. On roads, investment should be brought forwards for an early boost in capacity on the M62, the North’s most important east-west link, alongside funding to identify & assess proposals for tackling a range of other strategic challenges. High Speed North makes practical recommendations to this end.
National Infrastructure Commission: Put HS3 at the heart of a High Speed North - Adonis
IEA: HS3 is a political gimmick and will do little to reduce travel times
The potential benefits of HS2 are ‘dodgy’ and now it appears the human cost is rising unnecessarily as well
Poor Government case for a £50bn investment in HS2
HS2 is bad value, and that's a fact - Telegraph
Sugaring the ‘bitter pill’ of HS2
High Speed Rail Committee publishes final report
Government & industry unite to drive UK rail growth
HS2 route from Birmingham to Crewe to open 6 years early - Chancellor confirms
Lessons from major rail infrastructure programmes
HS2: 12 arguments for and against - BBC News
STOP HS2 | Cost-benefit Analysis
HS2 Cost Benefit Analysis | Economics | tutor2u
Pros & Cons of High Speed Rail HS2 | Economics Help
FactCheck: is HS2 value for money? - Blogs - Channel 4
|Overcoming the barrier of silence|
|A new expert advisory group has been appointed to support the implementation of legislation which will improve the way public services meet the needs of deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users. This follows the introduction of the historic BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 last September, which recognised BSL as a language of Scotland, and will result in the first BSL Action Plan. 8 deaf BSL users were recruited, as well as a hearing parent of a deaf child, to work alongside public bodies – such as Creative Scotland, COSLA and the NHS – to support the implementation of the Act.|
ScotGov: British Sign Language (Scotland) Act gains momentum
Scottish Council on Deafness – BSL (Scotland) Act 2015
A ‘handy’ way to communicate with DWP
Not only the NHS that needs to ‘get its message out’
Provision of a service does not mean people know about it
Sign language interpreting service expands
Talking Hands helps Abigail express herself
National roll-out for sign language interpreting service
Tayside to meet the communication needs of Deaf Patients
Language isn't what it used to be (BSL - that is)
BSL video for Parliamentary & Health Ombudsman
BSL - Online resources, games, & course
|The future will be based on data|
|There is plenty of value in individual registers as authoritative sources of trustworthy core reference data - the first beta register, the country register, is being used by services such as the e-petition service already. Over time the country register will also replace many of the country lists published on GOV.UK. So individual registers are good, but an ecosystem of linked registers is even better. That’s why every register needs to be designed with the wider ecosystem in mind.|
GDS: Getting from data to registers
Geographic data leads the way to better healthcare – 2,500 organisations signed up to PSMA
Don’t backtrack on digital agenda, urges think tank
NHS England launches accessible information standard
techUK: Enhanced Data Crucial in Maintaining the UK Payment System as World Leading
|SME Supplier Locator update...|
UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.
Against this backdrop, the WiredGov Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.
|Confusing working hours, poor administration and legal loopholes mean that workers are being underpaid and in extreme cases not paid at all, says Citizens Advice. The number of issues dealt with by Citizens Advice about unauthorised deductions - non-payment of wages owed - has nearly doubled in a single year from 4,900 in 2014 to 9,000 in 2015.|
CAB: Casual workers at risk of ‘wage theft’ from unscrupulous employers
HMRC secures record £4.6m minimum wage arrears for underpaid workers
New research finds evidence of forced labour in the UK food industry
Acas: Pay deductions - advice & guidance
Deductions from your pay - Gov.uk
CIPD: Pay & benefits - Unauthorised deductions
|Is your ‘Project’ worthy of a prize?|
|An award to recognise the Best Internet of Things Project of the Year has been added to the 2016 UK IT Industry Awards, run by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, & Computing which launched recently. The new addition reflects the ever changing nature of the profession. The annual Awards are renowned as the Oscars for the IT profession, providing a platform to showcase & celebrate best practice, innovation and excellence. Entrants can be organisations or individuals involved in IT across the public, not for profit & commercial sectors. Deadline for entry 8 July 2016.|
|Public health legislation which would have ‘helped protect people from harm and create the conditions to help people live healthier lives’ has been voted down by Assembly Members.|
WAG: Statement by the Minister for Health and Social Services: Public Health (Wales) Bill
|It’s not just about TV fund-raising events|
|A unique programme to develop the skills & knowledge of charity leaders has been jointly launched by The King’s Fund and GSK, in partnership with Comic Relief, at a parliamentary reception.|
The King’s Fund and GSK, partnering with Comic Relief, launch new programme to improve charity leadership
|Don’t keep it ‘bottled up’|
|Veterans are being urged to say what they think about the provision of mental health services for them by taking part in an NHS England survey that closes on 31 March 2016. Feedback from this survey will help to shape service provision for the next 5 years.|
VAPC: Veterans urged to tell NHS England what you think about mental health services
Time for balanced facts, not just more fatuous statements
3 more L – O – N – G months of ‘Fear’ to go – Will we stay sane enough to come to a balanced decision? What we need is Office of EU Referendum Facts (ODF) that could publish a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats - on all the aspects on both staying in the EU and leaving it. What we don’t need is the equivalent of the ScotGov White Paper; Scotland’s Future (and yes, I did read it).
The ‘Fear of the Unknown’ is a phrase much being bandied about. We don’t know what our relationship would be like if we decide to leave the EU, but then neither do we know when the next Euro crisis will implode or how many refugees will find their way into the EU this summer (or if ‘peace’ will come to Syria and they mostly return home.
*There are too many ‘We would have to …’ not backed up by Why’s
*There are too many ‘We wouldn’t have to …’ not supported by Why’s
Taking one step back, we should remember that we ‘pay in’ more than we get out of the EU, so all the talk of our farmers going bankrupt from the withdrawal of CAP payments is nonsense. It is our own money that funds them now so, in the short term, surely we could just go on paying the equivalent subsidies until we design a different system. This also applies to all other EU ‘Grants / Investments’ in the UK.
We might have to pay tariffs, BUT a double digit tariff on Whiskey would no doubt see reciprocal measures put in place by the UK against German, French, Italian, etc. wines & spirits. Welsh Lamb & British Beef tariffed? Danish bacon, French cheeses, plus Italian, German, Polish, etc. cured meats would get the same treatment. Let’s face it that’s why trade agreements HAD to be developed in the past, so let’s stop pretending they wouldn’t be in the event of our leaving the EU.
In addition, NATO will not collapse if we leave the EU; It was formed in April 1949 and we didn’t join the EEC/EU until 1973, so one membership is not dependent of the other. Added to which it is more than likely that the UK & France will continue their defence alliance (Defence Secretary secures progress on Brimstone sales as unmanned aircraft project moves forward).
What many of us would like to know are things such as:
*What impact would leaving have on our GDP?
*What would be the impact on the UK’s fishing industry – Would we get the 200 mile exclusion zone back?
*Would it cost or save money to do away with the EHIC card and just make it a legal requirement to have medical insurance to travel (included in the cost of the transport ticket perhaps)?
*Is it right that all expats could continue to live in the UK and the EU?
*Why would we still have to contribute to the EU, when many other countries (large & small) don’t? If they want to export more to us than we do to them, they could pay us for access to our market!
*Would leaving the EU mean we would be free to ‘save’ our steel industry?
*If we left the EU, could we insist on UK-based suppliers for UK infrastructure projects?
*What would be the nett negative impact on not being able to bid for work advertised in the EU Journal? – (How many voters even know what that implies?)
Hopefully both sides will soon stop ‘ranting’ and start putting forward reasoned arguments backed up by detailed facts. It is not a case that ‘Ignorance is Bliss’. The future of the UK depends on voters considering a whole range of issues and deciding (on balance) what would be best for the UK.
Fishing & the EU - Hansard Online ~ The Telegraph: Did the OBR really warn against Brexit? ~ Why the Government cannot just simply ‘Do Something’ about UK Steel Plants ~ Open Europe: What if...? The consequences, challenges & opportunities facing Britain outside the EU
However, currently the only certainty is that the whole process will be dominated by the migration crisis as, by late June, the ‘invasion’ (which is what Eastern EU countries regard it as) will be in full flow with the better weather. Even if the arrangement with Turkey is still actually working (it may even not be legal), one hears there are over 500,000 (probably mostly economic migrants) waiting to be ‘shipped over’ the Mediterranean to southern Italy by ISIL (with their terrorists mixed in no doubt). This will mean that voters are unlikely to take a ’calm & collected’ view of the pros & cons of Brexit, and just ask such questions as:
*After how many years will migrants, ‘settled’ in other EU countries, be free to move to the UK?
*What plans does the EU have for imposing the distribution of migrants?
EU News: MEPs propose a centralised EU system for asylum claims with national quotas ~ MEPs want EU embassies & consulates to grant asylum seekers humanitarian visas ~ 6 Principles for further developing EU-Turkey Cooperation in tackling the Migration Crisis ~ Refugee crisis: the EC sets up emergency support ~ Syria Crisis: EC announces €445m in humanitarian aid ~ Relocation & Resettlement: EU Member States urgently need to deliver ~ EESC report reveals true extent of migrant crisis ~ So ‘Tens of Thousands’ is the right policy!
So, by June, it is quite possible the EU will be facing an even bigger migrant problem than in 2015 and that the mood will be; ‘Stop the migration into the UK at any cost’ as Fear of the Unknown, becomes Fear of the Known!
More contributions to the EU Referendum
More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;
IEA: Mark Littlewood on the EU referendum
EESC encourages EC to go further in deepening EMU without delay
Civitas: Rein in judicial supremacy with a new oath of allegiance to uphold Parliament
More contributions to the UK constitutional debate
More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;
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