General Reports and Other Publications
ippr: George Osborne's proposal to axe Child Benefit for every family where one parent earns above £44,000 a year is a crude cut and creates a 'cliff edge' that will hurt middle class families too much, according to leading think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr).
Instead ippr says a better idea is to tax Child Benefit, which would mean that there was a 'tapering effect', so that as families earned more the level of the benefit they received would be reduced. ippr argues that taxing Child Benefit is preferable to introducing a means test because it would raise the same amount of money – £1 billion – but would keep middle-class families in the welfare system.
Press release ~ 'Welfare spending: Time to reassess universal benefits?' ~
Opportunities in an Age of Austerity: Smart ways of dealing with the UK’s fiscal deficit
KF: The King's Fund has called on ministers to reconsider the speed & scale of new health reforms if they are to deliver benefits to patients and improve NHS performance. In its response to the government's health White Paper, the Fund supports the need for reform, but questions the need to embark on a fundamental reorganisation of the NHS when evidence shows that health outcomes and public satisfaction have improved in recent years.
It argues that the scale & speed of reform will distract attention from finding the efficiency savings needed to maintain quality and avoid cutting services, as the NHS faces the most significant financial challenge in its history.
Newswire – CBI: The CBI has called for changes in the law to raise the threshold for industrial action and to ensure that, if strikes occur, disruption is minimised. In a new report (Keeping the wheels turning: modernising the legal framework of industrial relations) the CBI outlines ‘a package of measures to modernise employment relations legislation and keep the recovery on track’.
In its report, the CBI reiterates its call for the threshold for industrial action to be raised so that strikes can only go ahead if 40% of balloted members vote in favour of action, as well as a majority of those voting. Currently strikes can go ahead provided a majority of those voting support it, irrespective of the turnout. Other proposals focus on making sure unions keep up-to-date membership records and strengthen the enforcement of the law to prevent illegal wildcat strikes.
Press release ~
Keeping the wheels turning: modernising the legal framework of industrial relations ~ CBI: Making Britain the Place to Work
LBRO: LBRO is to work on fresh proposals to tackle the issue of sales to children of alcohol, cigarettes and other age-restricted products. The move follows publication of Better Regulation of Age Restricted Sales: A Retail View, submitted by the independent Age-Restricted Products Review Group, representing major businesses, trade associations and professional bodies with around 250,000 retail outlets.
LBRO has welcomed the report which calls for the law on underage sales simplified and made more effective, with the current 18 separate pieces of legislation unified. Its authors make 12 recommendations, including closer working between regulators and businesses and more effective test-purchasing.
Newswire – HPA: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the UCL Institute of Neurology have conducted a sensitive examination of tonsil specimens to detect the presence of the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) related prion protein and found results that are consistent with earlier estimates of vCJD prion prevalence in Britain.
The findings were published last week in The Journal of Pathology in a paper entitled; 'Large scale immunohistochemical examination for lymphoreticular prion protein in tonsil specimens collected in Britain'.
nef: Banks borrowing requirement set to double next year to £25bn a month to plug funding gap. Despite at least £1.2 trillion of taxpayers’ money being put at risk to bail out the banking system, many of the major high street banks may well be asking for another hand-out from the public purse in 2011, according to new research from independent think-tank nef (the new economics foundation).
A new report, Where did our money go?, uses Bank of England data to investigate what happened to the bail-out money, two years on from the credit crunch that sent shockwaves through the banking system and just ahead of the second anniversary of the biggest single bail-out in UK history on 8 October 2008.
Ofsted: ‘Employers reap the benefits of better motivated and more highly skilled staff when they get involved in work-related training such as apprenticeships’, according to a report published by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
The report (Good practice in involving employers in work-related education and training) highlights that training developed by providers working closely with companies helps employees - and new employees - make greater contributions to the effectiveness of their business.
Ofcom: New Ofcom research has revealed that communications providers need to do more to publicise services that are available for disabled customers. Mystery shopping was conducted by Ofcom to see what advice prospective customers were given about these services by BT, Orange, O2, TalkTalk, T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Vodafone and 3.
Newswire – ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) call for evidence on the current data protection legislative framework. The ICO has highlighted the key features it would expect to see in any revised framework and welcomes the MoJ’s recognition of the potential for changes.
ippr: New analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) shows that long-term unemployment has doubled in the last two years to 797,000, while the number of vacancies has fallen to 467,000. This ‘jobs deficit’ of 330,000 threatens the ability of the Government’s flagship employment scheme to get people back into work.
Under the ‘Work Programme’, contracts worth up to a total of £3bn are to be awarded to private & voluntary sector providers. They will offer ‘job search’ support to anyone who has been unemployed for 12 months or more. The success of the scheme depends heavily on jobs being available, yet there are currently more than 5 people chasing every vacancy in the UK.
Newswire – CABE: Design plays a big role in giving people with low vision the confidence to use streets and public spaces. But a new study funded by CABE has found that some features which should help people with low vision are hindering them instead.
Sight Line: designing better streets for people with low vision investigated how 8 blind & partially sighted people navigate their local streets. Local authorities use blister paving differently, even in adjacent boroughs, to demarcate the pavement edge at both controlled and uncontrolled crossings. The study argues for national guidance to be clearer and for local authorities to coordinate across boundaries.
Newswire – CBI: The CBI has called for the Government to encourage the use of non-recyclable waste to meet the UK’s energy needs. Launching a new report (Going to waste: Making the case for energy from waste) the leading business group highlighted the important role that energy from waste could play in a broad-based energy mix, which improves energy security.
Technologies include using anaerobic digestion (where biological processes produce bio-gas from waste) and incineration, which provide consistent & reliable power supplies.