HEFCE: Higher education institutions (HEIs) in England will benefit from a new fund to provide repayable grants for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This fund will be a partnership between Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Salix Finance Ltd (Salix) and is expected to reach a combined total of around £30-40m to distribute over the three years from 2008.
The proposals for the fund have two strands:
* An institutional small projects fund will provide HEIs with money to set up their own ring-fenced fund for proven energy efficiency projects.
* A transformational fund will be available for HEIs to tackle larger, innovative projects which will transform their approach to managing energy consumption and reducing emissions. These projects may cost several million pounds per HEI and are expected to act as beacons of good practice to demonstrate what can be achieved in this area
Press release ~ Revolving green fund : consultation on the aims and operation of a revolving green fund ~ EU Emissions Trading Scheme ~ Higher Education Funding Council for England ~ Salix Finance ~ Carbon Trust ~ Estates Management Statistics
HM Treasury: Following the publication of Sir David Varney's Review of tax policy in Northern Ireland on 17 December 2007, Sir David has been asked by the Chancellor to conduct a further review of the Northern Ireland economy, building on his recent work and focusing on identifying measures to promote private sector investment and enhance competitiveness in Northern Ireland.
As part of the review, Sir David will be seeking views (closes on 25 February 2008) from as many stakeholders as possible, in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The review team is looking for evidence on the particular challenges & opportunities for the Northern Ireland economy.
PADA: The personal accounts delivery authority has launched its consultation (closes 22 April 2008) Building personal accounts: choosing a charging structure, in which it is seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders and the general public, to inform its recommendation on the charging structure.
This is the first of several consultations that are planned and covers the charging structure of the scheme, not the level of charges. Charge levels will depend on the final design, costs & revenues which will not be known for some time.
HM Treasury: A consultation (closes 23 April 2008) on proposals for strengthening the current framework for financial stability and protecting depositors has been launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Following the recent period of turbulence & instability in global financial markets, the consultation document sets out the Authorities' proposed action, both in the UK and internationally, to achieve five key objectives:
* strengthening the stability of the financial system, both in the UK & globally
* reducing the likelihood of banks facing difficulties
* reducing the impact if, nevertheless, a bank gets into difficulties
* providing effective compensation arrangements in which consumers have confidence and
* strengthening the Bank of England and ensuring effective co-ordinated actions by authorities, both in the UK and internationally
The Government intends to follow up this consultation by introducing legislation into the Parliament later in this session.
Press release ~ Financial stability and depositor protection: strengthening the framework ~ House of Commons Treasury Committee: The run on the Rock ~ Financial Stability
Monitor: Monitor has published a consultation (closes on 20 March 2008) on changes to the Compliance Framework for NHS foundation trusts. These changes are in part intended to reflect the national requirements for the NHS described in the Operating Framework for 2008-09 (issued in December 2007) which featured:
* a focus on reducing the number of cases of MRSA and C.difficile
* delivering the 18-week waiting time target and
* compliance with the Hygiene Code
Press release ~ Consultation on amendments to the Compliance Framework ~ Letter to chairs of NHS foundation trusts: Operating Framework 2008/09 ~ The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2008/9
HM Treasury: A consultation (closes on 24 April 2008) on aviation duty has been launched by the Treasury, which follows an announcement in the 2007 Pre-Budget Report that Air Passenger Duty is to be replaced by a duty paid on a per plane basis in November 2009. The reform is intended to send better environmental signals, encourage the more efficient use of aircraft and ensure aviation makes a greater contribution to both environmental costs and the public finances.
Home Office: Immigration Minister Liam Byrne has announced new measures that he claims will ensure that children in the immigration system are dealt with humanely & compassionately. To guarantee fair treatment, the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) is consulting (closes on 24 April 2008) on:
* a new Code of Practice for its staff, and
* lifting the UK reservation on the UN convention on the Rights of the Child
Alongside this Code, in Planning Better Outcomes and Support for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, the Government has vowed to handle asylum claims by unaccompanied children swiftly & compassionately.
Press release ~ Draft Code of Practise consultation ~ Better outcomes: the way forward, improving the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking children ~ UN convention on the Rights of the Child ~ Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB)
ScotGov: The Scottish government (ScotGov) has unveiled a proposal for a statutory target to reduce Scottish emissions by 80% by 2050 as one of the key components of a consultation (closes April 23, 2008) on Scotland's first Climate Change Bill – See ‘In the News’ for more information.