BIS:  Businesses impacted by rising energy prices will have the opportunity to provide information & data that will shape a £250m Government scheme aimed at alleviating their electricity bills.  The Government has issued a call for evidence (by 4 May 2012) in support of the Energy Intensive Industries (EII) Package.  Once sufficient data is gathered, the Government will formulate policy, consulting in September 2012, for implementation in Spring 2013, subject to state aid rules.

The programme aims to reduce the impact of energy & climate change policies on the cost of electricity for those energy intensive industries whose international competitiveness is most affected by them.  Government estimates predict that energy & climate change policies may add up to 28% in 2020 on average electricity prices paid by large energy intensive users.

Press release ~ Call for evidence

WAG:  Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services & Children, has launched a public consultation (closes on 1 June 2012) on the Social Services (Wales) Bill, a major piece of legislation that is ‘set to transform the delivery of social services in .  The proposed Bill aims to give people greater freedom to decide which services they need while offering consistent, high-quality services across the country.

Press release & links

BIS:  The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has launched a consultation (closes on 27 April 2012) on measures to give company shareholders greater influence over executive pay, through enhanced voting rights.  This follows extensive discussion with business leaders, investors, academics, governance experts and a range of others, who agree there is a problem with rising executive pay which is not linked to performance.

Press release & links

HEFCE:  The Higher Education Funding Council England has published a consultation report (closes on 6 June 2012) that ‘sets out the lessons learned from collaborations, alliances & mergers ( CAM ) in higher education, and proposes guidance for universities & colleges that may be contemplating such arrangements for the future’

By consulting on this report, HEFCE hopes to: enrich its content with further evidence from the sector; stimulate challenge to the conclusions it draws; and identify areas where further guidance would be helpful.

Press release & links

FSA:  The Food Standards Agency is asking businesses to provide their views on the use of lactic acid to reduce microbiological surface contamination on beef carcasses, proposed in a draft EU regulation.  If authorised, the use of lactic acid on beef carcasses would be permissive rather than mandatory. A vote on the Commission regulation is expected in spring 2012.

The FSA will review the responses to determine whether a formal Regulatory Impact Assessment is necessary.  Responses are required by 5pm on Friday 30 March 2012.

Press release & links

EU News:  The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the state aid criteria it proposes to use to assess Member States' film support schemes in future. The criteria are set out in a draft Communication, on which the Commission invites comments by 14 June 2012.  The final Communication is due to be adopted by the Commission in the second half of 2012.

Press release & links

CLG:  Plans to make it easier for council tenants to take control of their local neighbourhood and services were announced last week by Housing Minister, Grant Shapps.  The consultation (closes on 23 May 2012) Giving Tenants Control: Right to Transfer and Right to Manage Regulations, introduces new regulations on Right to Transfer and proposes streamlining the existing Right to Manage regulations.

Press release & links

HO:  The Home Office has launched a consultation (closes on 14 June 2012) on how to allow everyone to have a civil marriage.  People will be able to have their say on the proposed changes by completing the online survey.

Under current law same-sex couples can have a civil partnership but not a civil marriage.  The government wants to make the right to marry in civil premises, like a register office or hotel, available to everyone.  No changes are proposed to religious marriages.  This will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman

Press release & links

BIS:  Proposals to examine the current dismissal process have been announced by the Government with the publication of a Call for Evidence (closes on 8 June 2012). Views are also requested on the idea of compensated no-fault dismissal for micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees

The Government have also published the Employment Law Review annual update in the Houses of Parliament, outlining how the review has been taken forward.  The report summarises the current programme and looks ahead to further areas BIS are considering as part of the Review. 

In addition, it was also announced that the Employer’s Charter, first published in January 2011, has been updated to include pointers on sickness absence & recruitment.  The Charter aims to counter the misconception that employment protections are all one-way - towards the employee.

Press release & links ~ TUC comment ~ CBI comment ~ CIPD comment 

FSA:  EFSA is calling for scientific data on certain food additives to assist it in developing safety assessments. EFSA is encouraging any interested parties and stakeholders to submit relevant information (published or unpublished).  There are different deadlines for specific areas (see press release).

Press release & links

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