Policy Statements and Initiatives

DfT: A further £4bn will be invested in delivering better, more integrated local transport over the next three years, Transport Minister Rosie Winterton has claimed. The funding is in addition to the £7.9bn planned to fund major transport projects across the regions between 06/07 and 2015/16.
The Local Transport Capital Settlement will allow local authorities to plan & fund important community projects, such as bus infrastructure improvements, cycle lanes, new road safety measures, better street lighting and road maintenance.
The Eddington transport study demonstrated how small local transport improvements that tackle congestion, improve integration and provide genuine alternatives to the car, often provide the best returns.
Press release ~ Consult ation, 'Local Transport Planning: The Next Steps' – Govt. response ~ Local Transport Capital Settlement ~ DfT - Local transport plan - process and initiatives ~ DfT - Guidance on full local transport plans ~ DfT - The Eddington Transport Study
DWP: The Remploy Modernisation plan will give a ‘fair deal’ to the disabled workforce, with fewer factory closures and many more disabled people supported in mainstream employment, according to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Peter Hain.
Giving the green light for the plan, which will see 55 factories remain open - 15 more than originally proposed - Peter Hain urged the company and the unions to continue working together to make the plan work for disabled people across the country.
Press release ~ Remploy ~ Remploy Modernisation plan ~ 'Gaining and retaining a job: the Department for Work and Pensions' support for disabled people' ~ Disability Employment Advisory Committee ~ JRF:  The education and employment of disabled young people: Frustrated ambition (report & findings)
ScotGov: Around 90% of Scotland’s eligible claims for Single Farm Payment are expected to be paid within the first month of the 2007 payment window. Payments in December are expected to amount to over £330m, which represents support to more than 18,000 producers.

The Single Farm Payment Scheme is the replacement for historic arable and livestock direct support schemes in Scotland and this is the second year of operation.  Farmers applied for the Scheme in May 2007.

Payments are being issued to producers who have successfully passed the Scottish Government's eligibility checks.  Because of European Commission conditions attached to payments, farmers and crofters who have outstanding inspections or other eligibility issues cannot be paid until these have been resolved.
Press release ~ ScotGov – SFPS

ScotGov: The Scottish Government has submitted its final £1.6bn Rural Development Programme, which will deliver record investment to rural communities, to the European Commission for approval. 
The Programme takes account of European regulations on protecting the environment from excess nitrate pollution, included requirements for farmers on slurry storage.
Press release ~ ScotGov – rural development
Sport EnglandLiving Places, a new partnership of cultural bodies and Government departments, has launched an eight point action plan to bring the benefits of culture & sport to communities.  Culture & sport are key elements in creating communities which people are proud to call their home.  
Research shows that people taking part in cultural activities are 20% more likely to know ‘many people’ in their neighbourhood, and 60% more likely to believe ‘many of their neighbours can be trusted’.  Living Places will help realise people’s aspirations by helping house builders, planners and all those helping to shape communities build in culture and sport from the start.
Communities thrive in well-designed environments that incorporate accessible green space and a distinctive public realm.  97% of people believe that parks & green spaces help to create a nicer place for them to live and 82% believe that high quality green parks and spaces encourage people & businesses to locate in a town.
Press release ~ Living Places ~ Living Places prospectus (3.5Mb) ~ Sport England - Active Design ~ CABE ~ DCMS Taking Part survey ~ Park Life Report ~ Green Space
CLG: Councils and health authorities in England, with a massive annual £58bn of spending power, have pledged to make the way they buy goods & services and run their premises more sustainable. The authorities were responding to the independent Sustainable Procurement Task Force report - Procuring the Future - which aims to make the UK a leader in the European Union on sustainable procurement by 2009.
Local government (accounting for some £40bn of procurement per year) and the health & social care sector (£18bn) have published their own responses following consultation carried out within both sectors.
The Health and Social Care Plan undertakes to set out how, in the next 5 years, the health & social care sector in England will use sustainable procurement, not only of equipment & supplies, but also buildings, facilities and services, to achieve improved health and well-being for the people, the environment and the economy.
Press release ~ Sustainable Procurement Task Force ~ Procuring the Future ~ UK Government Sustainable Procurement Action Plan ~ Local Government Association (LGA) Environment Board ~ Local Government Sustainable Procurement Strategy ~ PASA: Health and Social Care Plan
CLG: A new £1.5bn Working Neighbourhoods Fund will support councils & communities in developing more concentrated, concerted, community-led approaches to getting people in the most deprived areas of England back to work.  This fund replaces the existing Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
Local areas will receive funding incentives if they are successful in driving down levels of ‘worklessnes’.  Councils working with communities will be encouraged to take a fresh look at the problems associated with this issue and find proactive solutions including innovative community schemes to break down the long term barriers to getting back to work.
Press release ~ Working Neighbourhoods Fund ~ Neighbourhood Renewal Fund ~ Neighbourhood Renewal Unit
CLG: The Prime Minister and Housing Minister Yvette Cooper have published the Thames Gateway Delivery Plan, setting out how cross-Government investment of more than £9bn will be spent to deliver Europe's largest regeneration project.
The Plan details how the Government will accelerate progress in the Gateway in key areas;
* a strong economy
* a better quality of life for residents, and
* the creation of an eco-region in the Gateway
Press release ~ Thames Gateway Delivery Plan ~ Thames Gateway executive summary ~ Thames Gateway ~ The Thames Gateway: Laying the Foundations ~ Thames Gateway Landmark Map ~ London Thames Gateway Housing Sites Database ~ London Thames Gateway Development Corporation ~ Thames Gateway London Partnership ~ Creating Sustainable Communities: Delivering the Thames Gateway (2.5Mb) ~ Creating Sustainable Communities: Delivering Greenspace in the Thames Gateway
Make sure your back-office services are fit for the new year!