General News

HMT: The Chancellor has announced that the Treasury is changing the rules of the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) to allow banks to reduce their participation in the scheme ahead of schedule.  The move demonstrates that the UK banking sector is returning to a stable footing and will allow banks to start reducing their reliance on the UK taxpayer, while they return to normal market financing, without Government support.
Press release & links ~ DMO: Guarantee Schemes
 
MoD: A new documentary series that started last week on BBC3 uses footage shot by British soldiers serving in Helmand province on cameras mounted on their helmets to tell their stories.  The makers of 'Our War: 10 Years in Afghanistan' claim it will offer viewers, for the first time, the chance to see as close as possible front line action through a soldier's eyes.
 
The programmes are mainly based on video footage gathered via personal cameras that have been fixed on the helmets of British soldiers who have deployed to Helmand in the last 10 years.  There are 3 x 60-minute episodes in the series, each one looking at a specific time in Helmand over the last 10 years, with key sequences made up from the helmet-mounted cameras.  
Press release & links
 
Newswire LGA: Plans to give Ministers hundreds of new powers to tell councils how to deliver local services will increase council administration costs by at least £68m a year, town hall leaders warn.  New analysis by the Local Government Association reveals that measures proposed in the Localism Bill, which receives its second reading in the Lords last week, will cost district & unitary authorities on average more than £250,000 each per year – enough to pay the salary of 16 care workers.
 
The LGA is concerned that if the Bill is adopted without amendment thousands of hours of council staff time will be lost jumping through Whitehall’s bureaucratic hoops, doing things like checking the validity of names on petitions, compiling lists of “Assets of Community Value” and ticking centrally imposed boxes which dictate how local people should be engaged in planning decisions.
Press release & links
 
Newswire – PA: The Patients Association have called for the Department of Health to follow through on its promise to abolish GP practice boundaries and allow patients to register with any practice.
Press release
 
Newswire – TUC: A new agreement signed in Indonesia between major sportswear brands and textile, clothing & footwear unions in the country has raised hopes that merchandise produced for the London 2012 Games can be produced in factories free from exploitation, says the TUC.
Press release & links
 
Newswire – TUCMoving May Day could hit retailers, break established holiday patterns and disrupt domestic tourism, the TUC warns in its submission to the government's pre-consultation on moving the May Day bank holiday as part of the domestic tourism strategy. The submission also highlights crucial problems with some of the alternative dates suggested for May Day.
Press release & links
 
FSAAldi Stores has withdrawn one batch of Greisinger Cheese Cabanossi Austrian air dried, hot smoked and seasoned sausages due to incorrect allergen labelling.  It is labelled as dairy-free, but contains cheese.  The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.
Press release & links
 
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has advised Ministers that it would be acceptable to increase the age at which BSE tests are carried out on healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption. The proposal is that the age threshold for healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption born in the UK and 24 other member states should be increased from 48 to 72 months.
Press release & links
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