Policy Statements and Initiatives

No.10: Prime Minister David Cameron has recently unveiled a new group of industry leaders to provide him & senior ministers with ‘high-level’ business & economic advice. The Business Advisory Group will meet every 3 months and will advise on critical business & economic issues facing the country.
Press release ~ Business Advisory Group
 
WO: Welsh Office Minister, David Jones, recently marked International Older Persons Day by launching a new initiative to give older people a stronger voice across Wales. The Welsh Senate of Older People brings together 4 national organisations to champion older people’s rights and provide them with one unified voice.
Press release ~ WAG: Older People ~ Welsh Senate of Older People ~ National Old Age Pensioners Association of Wales ~ National Pensioners Convention Wales ~ Pensioners Forum Wales
 
ScotGov: A sports initiative aimed at giving thousands of children in Scotland the chance to play golf has more than exceeded its target. During 2010, clubgolf expects to have 12,000 youngsters in coaching programmes in 322 clubs - well above target.
 
clubgolf emerged as part of Scotland's successful bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2014 and has been developed under a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
Press release ~ clubgolf - the way ahead for junior golf in Scotland
 
ScotGov: An initiative to encourage people & communities to take up dancing has been launched. Get Scotland Dancing is part of the games legacy for Scotland Active Nation campaign, which is using the 2014 Commonwealth Games to inspire Scots to increase their physical activity and live longer, healthier lives.
 
Information about dance & how to get involved is available at http://ouractivenation.co.uk/dance/, which also allows users to set dance-themed Personal Activity Goals.
Press release ~ Active Nation ~ Event Scotland ~ 2014 Commonwealth Games
 
ScotGov: A new strategy designed to make it easier for businesses & individuals to access advice & support on skills was launched last week. The Scottish Government has refreshed the Skills for Scotland Strategy, which aims to ‘simplify the skills system, empower & and employers to access help & support more effectively and better meet the needs of the key economic sectors & industries of the future’.
Press release ~ Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the Recovery and Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth ~ Step Forward Scotland website ~ SDS: Flexible Training Opportunities
 
HMT: The Chancellor has announced 2 significant reforms to the welfare system (See Press release for details):
* Total household benefit payments will be capped on the basis of average take-home pay for working households (estimated to be around £500 per week in 2013)
* Child Benefit will be withdrawn from households that include a higher rate taxpayer

See also ‘General Reports and Other Publications’ section for related ippr item
Press release
 
ScotGov: Scotland's first national target to improve energy efficiency has been unveiled. Local councils are also to be given £10m in grants to offer free insulation measures and provide energy saving advice to up to 100,000 households. Scotland's Energy Efficiency Action Plan includes a headline target to reduce total energy consumption by 12% by 2020.
Press release ~ Energy Efficiency Action Plan ~ First Minister's speech at the Low Carbon Investment Conference ~ News - Low Carbon Investment conference ~ News - Drive to insulate homes before winter ~ Scottish Energy Advisory Board
 
ScotGov: The First Ministers, Deputy First Ministers and Finance Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland last week issued a joint declaration to the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, ahead of the UK Comprehensive Spending Review.
 
The declaration outlines their shared concern that the UK Government's plans will cut public spending too fast and too deeply.  The devolved administrations have urged the Chancellor to scale back the proposed cuts and phase them in over a longer period to ensure they do not put the economic recovery at risk or threaten vital public services.
Press release ~ Joint Declaration from the Devolved Administrations
 
WAG: The Welsh Assembly Government has set out exactly how it will manage its fight against climate change and achieve its ambition of a 3% year on year reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones and Environment Minister Jane Davidson, were in the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth last week to launch Wales’ Climate Change Strategy. It is accompanied by two detailed delivery plans that set out exactly how the targets and aspirations will be achieved.
Press release ~ Climate Change Strategy for Wales
 
CO/PCS: The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced that ‘the Government has concluded its negotiations with five Civil Service unions (FDA, Prospect, Prison Officers’ Association, GMB, Unite) on a new Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS).  The scheme, which covers all civil servants, sets out the level of compensation that can be paid if they are made redundant’.
 
Key measures include:
* A standard tariff, where each year of service provides one month’s salary in the event of redundancy.  The tariff would be capped at 12 months for compulsory redundancy and 21 months for voluntary redundancy
* All civil servants who are made redundant (voluntarily or compulsorily) would be entitled to a three month notice period
 
The Government is proposing to table an amendment to the Superannuation Bill.  This will remove the ability of a union to veto any changes to the compensation scheme.  For the future, the Government will still need to consult on any changes, but they will not require the consent of the unions. 
 
The High Court (previously) ruled that it was unlawful to reduce rights under the scheme that had accrued through length of service without the agreement of all the unions affected. PCS’s ruling national executive committee today (7 October) agreed to demand further negotiations with the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, setting out why the latest offer put forward is unacceptable.  The NEC also agreed that the union will proceed with a challenge under the Human Rights Act to the current legislative attempts to cut redundancy pay.
CO press release ~ PCS press release ~ PCS: Civil service compensation scheme
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