General News

MoD:  The MoD has published the Board of Inquiry report into the tragic loss of Nimrod XV230 in which 14 servicemen lost their lives on 2 September 2006.  Des Browne, the Secretary of State for Defence said: “On behalf of the MOD and the Royal Air Force, I would like to apologise to the House of Commons, and most of all to those who lost their lives, and to their families. I am sorry”.
 
In addition, Des Browne has decided to put in place a review of the arrangements for assuring the airworthiness and safe operation of the Nimrod MR2.  This review, which will be led by a senior Queen's Counsel (assisted by technical experts on aviation systems), will examine all relevant papers and interview all those in a position to assist including BAE Systems and Qinetiq.
Press release ~ Details of the deceased (scroll down) ~ Redacted copy of the Board of Inquiry report
 
ScotGov:  In April 2008 prescription charges will be reduced to £5.00, a cut of over 25%, with further phased reduction towards a total abolition of the charges in 2011. The cost of prescription pre-payment certificates (PPCs) is being cut by over 50%.
 
Provision for the cost of the proposals has been made in the Spending Review allowing £20m, £32m and £45m for the three financial years from 2008-09.  Currently, under charge exemption rules, around 50% of the population qualify for free prescriptions.   Around 92% (68 million) of items dispensed in Scotland are supplied to patients free of charge.
Press release ~ ScotGov Health & Community Care
 
CSPL:  Sir Christopher Kelly KCB is to become the next Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the Government has announced.   He will take up the appointment on 1 January 2008, taking over from Rita Donaghy CBE, who has been the Interim Chair since April.  His appointment is for a 5-year, non-renewable term.  He is currently Chair of the NSPCC and the Chair of the Financial Ombudsman Service.  
Press release ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life
 
DCMS:  The Government has welcomed recommendations from UK Sport to modernise the UK's approach to anti-doping, leading to the creation of an independentNational Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) with far reaching new powers.  More details will follow in the New Year, with it being fully operational well before 2012.
Press release ~ Working Group Summary ~ Drug-Free Sport ~ DCMS - drug free sport ~ 100%ME - It's what's inside that counts
 
DCMS:  A £50m Government investment to transform Tate Modern has been announced by Culture Secretary James Purnell.   It will create a spectacular new building, increasing the gallery's size by 60% and allowing it to display far more of its permanent collection.
 
The new Gallery, which they hope will be completed in time for 2012, is expected to lead to an extra million visitors a year to Tate Modern, already the most popular museum of modern art in the world.
Press release ~ Tate Modern online
 
TfLFrom 10 December 2007 the penalty charge for not paying the £8 daily congestion charge in London will be £120 - reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days. 
 
TfL claims to have been working to make paying the charge easier, last year introducing a ‘Pay Next Day’ facility, allowing drivers who use the zone (but forget to pay by midnight on the day of travel) to pay up to midnight the following charging day at a cost of £10.
Press release ~ Paying Congestion Charge ~ TfL – Congestion Charge Background
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