Policy Statements and Initiatives
CLG: Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has outlined plans for the new scheme that will enable homeowners & tenants to receive tailored advice about how to make their homes greener & save money, delivered direct to their door.
Press release ~ Making energy performance certificate and related data publicly available: Privacy impact assessment ~ Green Deal
DH: A Government cancer awareness campaign to highlight the early signs & symptoms of bowel cancer was launched last week by Health Minister Paul Burstow. The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign will initially be piloted in two regions and, if successful, will be rolled out across the country.
More than 90% of people diagnosed with bowel cancer at the early stage survive for at least 5 years compared with only 6.6% of those diagnosed at the late stage. 10,000 lives, across all cancers, could be saved each year if England matched the best cancer survival rates in Europe.
WAG: ‘Children remain a top priority for the Welsh Assembly Government’, Deputy Minister for Children, Huw Lewis said last week as he confirmed that funding for 4 Basic Skills programmes would continue until 2012. The 4 programmes – Bookstart, Language and Play, Family Support Programmes and Letterbox – receive a total of £3.6m.
Press release ~ Children and young people ~ Bookstart ~ Language and Play ~ Family Support Programmes ~ Letterbox
CLG: The CLG department has published a policy document on the future financial arrangements for council housing entitled 'Implementing Self-financing'. This is accompanied by:
* A model which applies the settlement methodology to local authority data to provide indicative figures per council
* A user guide to accompany this model
* A user guide to accompany this model
* A report on the model inputs, assumptions and outputs
Press release ~ Implementing self-financing for council housing ~ Written Ministerial Statement: Council housing finance ~ The Localism Bill
LGO: Camden Council’s arrangements for contracting out its school transport services were inadequate finds Local Government Ombudsman, Jane Martin, who recently reported on her investigation into a complaint concerning a vulnerable child who was transported to school by the Council’s contractors. The child was sexually abused by one of the drivers.
It transpired that the driver had a list of criminal convictions abroad for offences against children. Despite this, he obtained an enhanced certificate from the Criminal Records Bureau. This is subject to a separate complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
WAG: A Joint Declaration by the Welsh Assembly Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive has been sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer following last week’s Joint Ministerial Committee.
WAG: A new strategy to tackle child poverty in Wales was published last week by the Welsh Assembly Government.
CLG: Housing Minister Grant Shapps last week announced plans to give members of the public the right to reclaim & develop hundreds of acres of unused public sector land & buildings, which are currently trapped in a bureaucratic quagmire. The new Community Right to Reclaim Land will help communities to improve their local area by using disused publicly owned land for new development.
By the summer, a new 1-stop shop will provide citizens with information about empty land & buildings they can develop to improve their local area. The new online tool will combine information from existing databases to form the bedrock of this new Community Right, which will also include an improved system for members of the public to request that empty public sector land or buildings are sold off, so they can be brought back into use.
BIS: Universities & Science Minister, David Willetts has announced the details of how eligible part-time students in England will benefit from new loans for tuition from the 2012/13 academic year.
ScotGov: Councils will be given new powers to increase council tax on Scotland's 25,000 long term empty homes raising up to £130m over 4 years to build low cost homes, it has been announced. The changes are expected to deliver around 800 homes annually and support 1,500 jobs in the construction sector and wider economy.
The measures are contained in a new policy paper, Homes Fit for The 21st Century, which sets out the Scottish Government's vision for housing to 2020.
HMT: During a visit to a high-tech manufacturing firm in Cheltenham, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, launched the Government’s new online Budget portal, which allows anyone to send their ideas for the Budget direct to the desks of the Treasury officials working on the Budget, which will be held on 23 March 2011. Representations should be sent to HM Treasury at least 3 weeks before the Budget