General News

DCMS: £750,000 is being given to the national tourism agency – VisitBritain - to promote rural destinations and visitor attractions which are vital to the economic health of local communities.  The package, supplemented by £250,000 from VisitBritain's existing budgets, will fund a targeted marketing campaign for the regions of England and businesses such as B&Bs, caravan parks and attractions.
Tourism is the UK's fifth largest industry, worth £85bn to the economy and employing around 2 million people directly & indirectly.
Press release ~ DCMS - Tourism ~ England Net ~ VisitBritain ~ EnjoyEngland ~ Tourism Alliance ~ Royal Shakespeare Company: The Courtyard Theatre ~ Hatton World Farm Village ~ Britain's Favourite View ~ CLG: Good Practice Guide on Planning for Tourism
DSA: Learner drivers and motorcyclists will face more theory test questions from early September when the pass marks are driven up to improve road safety. At the moment both car and motorcycle bike tests involve 35 questions and candidates must get 30 right but, from 3 September 2007, the number of questions will rise to 50 with a pass score of 43.
The time allowed for the multiple choice part of the theory tests will increase to 57 minutes and fees will also increase from £21.50 to £28.50. The updated version of the Official theory test book and CD Rom is now available in shops or from the DSA website.
Press release ~ To book a theory test ~ official bookstore button
FDA: The decision to appoint Jack McConnell, former Scottish First Minister, as the UK's High Commissioner to Malawi from 2009 has been with disappointment by the FDA - the union representing all grades in the Diplomatic Service.
This appointment follows the appointment in 2005 of former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Paul Boateng as High Commissioner to South Africa and former Scottish Secretary Helen Liddle as High Commissioner to Australia.  As such, it appears to represent a worrying trend in political appointments to diplomatic posts.
FDA spokesperson Paul Whiteman said: "The Government is very keen for top jobs to be open to candidates from outside the civil service and we welcome the diversity that openness brings.  However, such appointments can only be seen to be fair if there is open competition between internal and external candidates."
Press release ~ FDA ~ PM appoints High Commissioner to the Republic of Malawi ~ Home British High Commission, Lilongwe ~ Malawi High Commission (UK)
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