BERR: The government has launched its consultation (close on 11 February 2008) on proposals to implement the Services Directive. The agreement on the Directive means EU governments must cut red tape & provide practical help to make it easier for service providers to expand into other EU markets.
The government claims that the UK, with its strong services sector, will be one of the largest beneficiaries with benefits of up to £6bn a year and thousands of new jobs for the economy.
Press release ~ EU Services Directive consultation
CC: The Competition Commission (CC) has published a consultation document inviting views (by 7 November 2007) on its current thinking on the nature of competition in the payment protection insurance (PPI) business.
This document sets out the CC's emerging thinking on competition in the supply of all PPI (except store card PPI) to non-business customers in the UK on the basis of evidence analysed to date, as well as identifying areas where it is seeking additional evidence and the issues on which it intends to concentrate in the period prior to the planned publication of its provisional findings in May 2008.
As well as the emerging thinking document, the CC has also published nine working papers and the results of a qualitative survey (July 2007) of PPI customers.  The CC is also anticipating publishing the results of a telephone survey of PPI customers, conducted by BMRB, in December 2007.
Press release ~ Emerging Thinking ~ Working papers ~ FSA - payment protection insurance (PPI) ~ The Office of Fair Trading: PPI market
DefraDefra and the Welsh Assembly Government have launched a joint consultation (close on 31 January 2008) to strengthen protection given to the UK's native wildlife. Non-native species that become invasive are considered the second greatest threat to wildlife worldwide after habitat destruction.
The consultation contains proposals for updating the list of non-native birds, fish, animals and plants under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  Many of these species are already established in the wild, but further releases are allowed only under licence.
The consultation also looks at banning the sale of certain invasive non-native species under section 14ZA of the Act.  These species are considered to be strongly invasive and there is a real risk of escape & spread into the wild as a result of their presence and availability through trade.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation exercise, it is currently proposed that any changes to Schedule 9 would take effect from 1 April 2008.  An Order prohibiting sale of certain species may take longer depending on the international aspects of trade controls.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Defra - Non-native species ~ Draft Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain ~ Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat ~ Plantlife ~ Audit of Non-native species
CLG: Launching a consultation on the technical definitions of the 198 national indicators, Local Government Minister John Healey invited local authorities and other local partners to help ensure that these measures of Government's national priorities for the next three years work effectively to support improved delivery on the ground.
The indicators will be the basis for negotiating new Local Area Agreements (LAAs) with local authorities and their partners over the next six months. The consultation will close on 21 December 2007and the Government will publish final definitions for the national indicators in early 2008.  The new set will come into effect on 1 April 2008.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ National Indicators for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships ~ Local Area Agreements (LAAs)
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