General Reports and Other Publications

CBI: Medium-sized businesses are the UK's ‘forgotten army’, too long overlooked by government, but with the potential to inject between £20bn & £50bn into the economy by 2020, according to the CBI. Firms with a turnover of between £10m & £100m represent less than 1% of businesses, but generate 22% of economic revenue and 16% of all jobs.
The CBI is calling for a broader range of finance to be made available to medium-sized businesses (MSBs).  With banks' lending constrained, these firms can no longer rely solely on bank lending for long-term growth capital to invest in their companies. Business owners & managers will be crucial to unlocking MSBs' true potential, and the CBI makes a series of recommendations for building their capabilities and inspiring them to strive for even greater growth.
Press release & links
ICO: Businesses may be ‘waking up’ to their obligations under the Data Protection Act (DPA) but public confidence in how personal information is being handled continues to decline, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said recently.
Less than half of individuals surveyed believe that organisations process their data in a fair & proper manner.   In addition, the number of data security breaches in the private sector continues to rise – 58% more breaches have been reported to the ICO so far in 2011/12 than in the same period last year.
Press release & links
CBI: A lack of hub airport capacity could cost the economy up to £1.2bn a year in lost trade and must be tackled if the UK is to maintain its global competitiveness, the CBI said recently. In its response to the Government's consultation - Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation - the UK's leading business group says that having an international airport hub is vital to the economy, and that the Government's plan must address the issue of capacity in South East England.
Press release and links
NAO: The implementation of a project to create a centre to streamline back-office functions for the 7 research councils has so far not been good value for money and there is a risk that the councils may not recover their investment.  When finally operational 15 months late, the Centre was delivering services across the five functions planned but some services, particularly finance, are not yet where they need to be.

The aim of the Shared Service Centre was to share services, such as finance, HR and procurement, in order to make savings. By the end of March 2011 the project was £51m over budget. The councils have not monitored benefits effectively, resulting in a lack of clarity about the savings delivered.
Press releases & links
IFS: New figures have been released estimating that total public spending on education in the UK will fall by over 13% in real terms between 2010–11 & 2014–15. This represents the largest cut in education spending over any 4-year period since at least the 1950s.
Press release & links ~ Related DfE
ScotGov: Scotland's Chief Statistician has published a Scottish Health Survey topic report on obesity.  The report has 2 distinct parts. The first examines the different ways of measuring overweight & obesity and recommends the most appropriate measures to use. The second looks at the associations between various factors and prevalence of overweight and obesity.
Press release & links
WWFWWF and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) have confirmed the extinction of the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) in Vietnam.  The findings, presented in a new WWF report, also point to poaching as the likely cause of the death, as the rhino, which was found shortly after the survey was completed, had a bullet in its leg and its horn had been removed.
Press release ~ Link to report (VLF 12Mb)
IPPR: New analysis by think tank IPPR, using an econometric model to predict the impact of the shift to green cars, shows that fuel duty revenues (more than 2% of GDP in 2010) will more than halve in real terms by 2030 – by at least £10bn.  As well as depriving the Government of much-needed revenue, such a shift in the costs of motoring could harm growth as it will lead to greater congestion.
The report shows that declining North Sea oil reserves will lead to increased oil imports unless the UK decarbonises its road transport sector. The report argues that the Government should build on the forthcoming road-user charging scheme for HGVs by piloting revenue neutral ‘pay-as-you-go’ driving schemes after 2015.
Press release & links
WWF: A new report by WWF has said that renewable sources of energy could meet between 60-90% of the UK’s electricity demand by 2030 and recommends that the government sets its target at no less than 60% for renewable energy generation to provide certainty for investors. 

The report, Positive Energy, found that with a strong focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency, it is possible to largely ‘decarbonise’ the
power sector and maintain system security, without resorting to new nuclear power.
Press release & links
PC&PE: The Government must start thinking strategically about energy security to ‘protect the UK's energy supply against short-term shocks and rising global energy prices’, according to a report by MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee.
Gas storage capacity needs to be increased in the UK to minimise the potential damage from supply interruptions or price spikes, the report argues.  It reveals that the UK's current storage capacity  amounts to only 14 days worth of gas supply - a dangerously low level compared with France which has 87 days worth of gas storage, Germany 69 and Italy 59.
Press release & links
PC&PE: ‘The PM should promise to attend the Rio + 20 Earth Summit to show leadership on sustainability and strengthen global political will to tackle the environmental crisis,’ say MPs on the Commons Environmental Audit Committee in a report published on last week.
The forthcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 – 'Rio+20' – will take place 20 years after the pivotal Earth Summit there.  It will focus on the 'green economy' and the relevant UN institutions.
Press release & links
Demos: The government should stop measuring the number of 16-24 year olds Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) according to a report published by the think tank Demos.  The term NEET gives an unhelpful & inaccurate picture of young people’s circumstances and adds to social stigma, ‘smothering’ the problem of youth unemployment and hindering the development of effective, targeted policy, the report warns.
The 979,000 young people who were NEET in the second quarter of 2011 included ‘gap year students, stay-at-home parents, prisoners and university graduates’, many of whom do not need specially targeted support in terms of education & training.  The think tank warns that moral panic over NEETs is obscuring the specific difficulties young people are experiencing in preparing for and entering the jobs market.
Press release ~ Youth Labour’s Lost (pdf is free)
TUC: The gap between the rhetoric & reality of the government's public service reforms is growing, as privatisation & workforce opposition to the changes increases, says a new TUC paper (VLF 13Mb). In response to the government's Open Public Services white paper, the TUC highlights how a market-led approach to reform is increasing the private sector takeover of public services, and how public sector workers are increasingly turning against the measures.
Press release & links
HSE: Britain's safety watchdog is challenging the construction industry to learn from the London 2012 construction project and improve the safety record of one of the most dangerous occupations in Britain. 

The Health and Safety Executive's Leadership and worker involvement on the Olympic Park research shows how the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) adopted an inclusive ‘no scapegoating’ approach to managing risks that could be adapted to any project - irrespective of its size or budget.  It is the first in a series of research reports that HSE will publish as part of the London 2012 Learning Legacy.
Press release & links
ESRCParents who joke & pretend with their toddlers are giving their children a head start in terms of life skills.  Most parents are naturals at playing the fool with their kids, says a new research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  However parents who feel they may need a little help in doing this can learn to develop these life skills with their tots.
Press release & links
NAO: The Comptroller & Auditor General, Amyas Morse, has qualified the 2010-11 accountsof the Legal Services Commission because of overpayments made by it to legal aid providers, estimated at almost £51m.
Press release & links ~ Community Legal Service Fund & Criminal Defence Service Accounts 2010-11
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has published its full investigation report into Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRT). The investigation into quality of care at the King George and Queen’s Hospital sites, which began in early July, identifies serious problems and places requirements on the trust to deliver fundamental and wide-ranging improvements.
Press release & links
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council England has published its response to government proposals to reform the way higher education is regulated.
Press release & links
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