Policy Statements and Initiatives

CLG: Housing Minister Mark Prisk recently confirmed nearly £1bn to bring sub-standard council homes up to scratch - while at the same time offering a boost to local businesses up & down the country. The Minister said that the funding, to be allocated to 41 councils over the next 2 years - would bring over 86,000 homes up to a decent living standard.
 
And with reports in some areas that every £1 spent on Decent Homes improvements creates £1.46 in local spend through orders to tradesmen & suppliers in the area, he said the cash would also help ‘kick-start the economy, supporting local tradesmen and creating new jobs.
Press release & links
 
APCC: The Association of Police Authorities has issued a statement in response to the National Police Air Service replacing localised police helicopter operations in England & Wales.
Press release & links
 
WAG: One year on from the introduction of Wales’ 5p bag charge, Environment Minister, John Griffiths has said he can see no reason why the charge wouldn’t work just as well in other parts of the UK. Since the charge was introduced in October 2011, carrier bag use in Wales has reduced by as much as 96% in some retail sectors, and a recent survey of attitudes indicated that the charge is now supported by around 70% of people in Wales.
 
The charge has also resulted in more money for charities and not for profit organisations as the Welsh Government has called on retailers to pass proceeds from the 5p charge onto environmental or good causes.
Press release & links
 
SFA‘Healthy FE & Skills recognition’is a new programme to promote health and well being amongst learners and staff in organisations across England.   Supported by the Learning & Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) and Skills Funding Agency, the programme gives providers opportunity to undertake a self-review and develop a 2-year action plan that they will work towards to improve health & wellbeing.

There are 20 organisations that have recently been awarded Healthy FE and Skills status. The total number of learning and skills providers who have gained recognition since 2009 is now 77. 
Press release & links
 
ScotGov: Parents will benefit from easier & better access to information & support thanks to Scotland’s first national parenting strategy which was launched last week. The commitment to improve family support is one of over 80 commitments, and is backed by £18m from the Government’s Early Years Change Fund announced recently by the First Minister for local authorities to develop community based family support programmes.
Press release & links
 
WAG: The Welsh Government will expand the Flying Start programme to double the number of children benefiting (from 18,000 to 36,000) through support for families, health visiting & childcare places, by 2015.
 
Flying Start is a programme for families with children up to 4 years old, which is targeted at Wales’ most deprived communities.  The programme encompasses free childcare, parenting support, intensive health visitor support and support for early language development.
Press release & links
 
BIS: Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced a new partnership with UK bank Metro Bank to ‘help boost the growth prospects for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)’.  Metro Bank will support up to £100m of lending for eligible businesses in London & the South East that are signed up to GrowthAccelerator, a Government-backed coaching service available to businesses with genuine potential for rapid & sustainable growth. a Government-backed coaching service available to businesses with genuine potential for rapid & sustainable growth.
Press release & links ~ GrowthAccelerator service
 
BIS: Business Secretary Vince Cable launched a £60m pot of Regional Growth Fund investment & bank finance at the Community Development Finance Association’s (CDFA) annual conference.  The CDFA will receive £30m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), which has been matched with £30m from the Co-operative Bank and Unity Trust Bank, to provide lending to small, micro & social enterprises.

The funding is expected to create or safeguard over 8,000 jobs over 6 years across the country and meet some of the growing demand from small businesses for access to finance & drive investment in often fragmented communities.
Press release & links
 
WAG: Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, is encouraging teachers to sign up to training sessions offered by the Welsh Government’s Financial Education Unit (WFEU). Established in 2008, the WFEU offers the training, information & educational resources that teachers need to deliver effective financial education to pupils in primary and secondary schools.
Press release & links
 
WAG: The Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, has reaffirmed the Welsh Government’s commitment to supporting Welsh students in Higher Education. No full time undergraduate student ordinarily resident in Wales will pay higher fees in real terms during the lifetime of the next Assembly than if they had been students in 2010/11. 
Press release & links
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