EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

DWP: £27 million of new European Social Fund (ESF) money will be invested in innovative projects to help people improve skills & stay in work, or develop new skills and find a new job. Interested organisations are being called on to submit proposals to run regional projects, which will develop, test & deliver new ways of extending employment opportunities and improving skills.  
This new money will be targeted at projects helping people find jobs by:
* Helping people who may find it harder to get back into work, for example disabled people or lone parents
* Working with employers to ensure people have the right skills for the jobs available
* Targeting help at older workers
* Training for ‘green jobs’
* Training and support to set up & manage not-for-profit enterprises
Deadline for applications is Wednesday 17 December 2008.  Projects are expected to start in spring 2009 and will usually run for up to three years.  Applicants will need to provide at least 50% match funding (or 25% in the case of applicants in Cornwall).  Each project will work with at least one partner from another EU Member State.
Press release ~ European Social Fund (ESF) project details ~ Social Enterprise Coalition ~ Cabinet Office – Social Enterprise
Defra: Restrictions which have been in place since the identification of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in May 2006 have been lifted. The UK originally suspended its approved status for VHS for the whole of Great Britain following the identification of the VHS virus at a single trout farm in North Yorkshire.  The disease was eradicated from the affected fish farm, which was subsequently disinfected & fallowed.
Following a two year surveillance programme, which required regular inspection & testing of susceptible species in the affected zone, no further evidence for the presence of VHS has been found.  After application to the European Commission, Great Britain has regained full VHS freedom status.
Press release ~ Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) ~ efishbusiness ~ Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) ~ Defra: Fish Farming and Health
Adoption of Intelligent Automation in the Public Sector