General Reports and Other Publications

EA: Water companies & farmers, as well as businesses & consumers, must take action now to protect water supplies from a prolonged drought, says a new report from the Environment Agency.  

The EA’s Drought Prospects report warns that the drought could spread as far north as East Yorkshire and as far west as the Hampshire – Wiltshire border, if the dry weather continues this spring. The whole of the south east and east Anglia are already in drought.
Press release & links
 
TUC: TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber warned that the coalition government is the 'most female-unfriendly in living memory' when he addressed delegates at the TUC Women's Conference last week.
 
The report shows that with many thousands of skilled professional women in the public sector set to lose their jobs, the concentration of female private sector employment in low-skilled & poorly paid sectors poses a big challenge to their pay & career prospects.
Press release & links
 
DfE: Professor Cathy Nutbrown has published an interim report, which explores how to help people working in the early years to improve their skills, knowledge & development.  Professor Nutbrown is considering how to strengthen qualifications & career pathways for people working in early education & childcare.
Press release & links
 
STFC: A team from The Naked Scientist have produced their first podcast about STFC’s Central Laser Facility’s (CLF) superfast laser Artemis. The media – savvy group of doctors & researchers from Cambridge University (collectively known as ‘The Naked Scientists’) have been using radio, live lectures and the internet to ‘strip science down to its bare essentials’ for the public for over 10 years now.  Listen to the podcast to hear more of Artemis being laid bare.
Press release & links
 
TUC: Many of the UK's lowest paid workers will be unable to afford to enforce their workplace rights if the government's proposals for fees for employment tribunals go ahead, the TUC has said.  New research commissioned by the TUC reveals that most single people paid the minimum wage will not have to pay to go to a tribunal. However a significant proportion of those earning £6.08 an hour, who are part of a couple, will be required to pay up to £345 or more to enforce their basic workplace rights.
 
This is because the test for the ability to pay will be based on household income rather than an individual's earnings. This assumes that all household income is shared equally between a couple. The TUC does not agree that a woman's capacity to enforce her individual rights should depend on her partner's consent.
Press release & links
 
TUC: The Chancellor must acknowledge the economic case for reversing his austerity plans and introduce bold measures to support investment and young people to get the economy up and running again, says the TUC budget submission published last week.
Press release & links
 
TUC: Just over 350,000 parents, the majority of whom are likely to be women, could lose vital national insurance credits towards their state pension if child benefit is withdrawn for higher rate taxpayers, the TUC has claimed.
 
Recipients of child benefit currently receive credits towards their state pension if they are caring full-time and not in work.  These credits, available until a child is 12, ensure that caring & parenting is fully recognised in the state pension system.
Press release & links
 
NAO: The National Audit Office has published its report on the management of ‘early departures’ of staff in central government. The report finds that central government departments have spent around £600m gross on the early departures of 17,800 staff in the year from December 2010.  These costs are around 45% lower than they would have been under the previous Scheme.  After meeting the initial costs, departments will save an estimated £400m a year on the paybill.
Press release & links
 
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported on the competition, cancelled in October 2011, to design, construct & operate the UK’s first commercial-scale carbon capture & storage project.  The report concludes that the competition had been a high risk & challenging undertaking launched with insufficient planning & recognition of the commercial risks.
Press release ~ Carbon capture and storage: lessons from the competition for the first UK demonstration
 
DECC: An independent report has been published advising the government how it could best tackle the problem of fuel poverty. The latest official fuel poverty figures show 4m households in England in fuel poverty, compared to 1.2m in 2004
 
Professor Hills is clear that fuel poverty is currently measured in a way that is both flawed & unhelpful and he has proposed a new way to define fuel poverty, separating the extent of the issue (the number of people affected) from its depth (how badly people are affected).
Press release & links ~ WWF comment  
 
ESRC: The United Nations (UN) global carbon market requires substantial reform because it too often fails to support the projects & people it is meant to help, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Press release & links
 
PXFathers who no longer live with their partners and are on benefits should be made to work if they refuse to take financial responsibility for their children.  A new report by leading think tank Policy Exchange says that the government should target these individuals and fast track them on to work experience schemes to try and get them back into the labour market.  Men who refuse to participate should have their benefits removed.
Press release & links
 
CIPD:  In its latest Work Audit report, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) looks at the impact of the jobs recession that began in 2008 on employers, workers and the economy as a whole.  
Press release & links
 
PX: The Chancellor should announce radical tax simplification in the Budget, with the aim of developing a 3-year flat tax for all start-up businesses.  The report – Financing Innovation – argues that the Government should consider allowing new businesses to bypass all the current complexity on charges, reliefs, rates & exemptions and instead deal with a simple flat tax.  While a move to a single rate & allowance should not amount to a tax break, it would give business owners real clarity about their maximum tax liability each year.

The report also recommends a new model for extending finance to young entrepreneurs who want to start a business.  A new Enterprise Kickoff Fund would provide small start-up loans on commercial terms to young people who would otherwise struggle to obtain finance, and in return receive a small equity stake in their business.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Government should lift 2 key restrictions on the operation of the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) as a matter of urgency, according to a report published by the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
Press release & links ~ TUC comment on DWP Nest proposals
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