Policy Statements and Initiatives
BIS: A public information campaign for prospective students & their parents about changes to the student finance system in 2012 has been launched. It links students & parents to a new dedicated Direct.gov.uk microsite which describes how the tuition loan system will operate, how to get a student loan, help with living costs and what support is available from government.
NA: The National Archives and the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, along with other leading national archives & museums, recently signed a global agreement in Washington DC to provide an international online catalogue of documentation on cultural artefacts taken by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.
Barnardo's: Vulnerable children could be exposed to even greater danger if Government plans to curb anti-social behaviour go ahead, the UK’s biggest children’s charity has warned. The Police 'direction power', proposed as part of the, More Effective Responses To Anti-Social Behaviour consultation, could see children returned to unsafe homes or pushed into potentially harmful situations if it is used without considering the risks.
Barnardo’s argues that it should be made compulsory for courts to ask for information about the home lives of children who are being sanctioned for anti-social behaviour to ascertain the likelihood of a young person being supported to change their ways.
MoD: Wootton Bassett will be the first town in more than a century to be granted 'Royal' status in recognition of the way it honours fallen troops. In March, Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs that the Queen had agreed to the tribute 'as an enduring symbol of the nation's gratitude to the people of that town'.
‘If ever a town deserved a medal it's Wootton Bassett’, said Jacqui Thompson, the visibly-moved widow of Senior Aircraftman Gary Thompson who was tragically killed in Afghanistan in April 2008. This simple tribute from a bereaved loving wife & mum speaks volumes about the comfort that can come from caring strangers:
Dignity, respect & compassion may be old-fashioned values, but the local residents of the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett are proud to uphold them by saluting the men & women who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is a commitment that will soon no longer be carried out by the loyal community of Wootton Bassett, because the closure of RAF Lyneham later this year means that repatriations will switch back, as was always planned, to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
MoD: Numerous vessels are taking part in Cougar 11, this summer's deployment of the Royal Navy's new Response Force Task Group (RFTG). Consisting of ships, aircraft & personnel held at very high readiness, the RFTG is at the heart of the UK's ability to react at short notice to unforeseen global events.
The RFTG will be poised to respond to short-notice tasking across a diverse range of defence activities such as non-combatant evacuation operations, disaster relief, humanitarian aid or amphibious operations. This deployment is not linked to events in Libya which involve other elements of the UK Armed Forces.
MoD: The revised Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) has been launched, incorporating all of the recommendations made by Admiral the Lord Boyce, former Chief of the Defence Staff, in his review of the scheme in 2010.
Service personnel who become injured or ill as a result of their service will now be able to benefit from a more comprehensive compensation package, including an increase, on average in excess of 25%, to all lump sum payments, except the top award which was recently doubled to £570,000.
All those who have previously received an award from the scheme (since its inception on 6 April 2005) will have their awards uplifted in line with the new increases. Over the course of the next year the Service Personnel & Veterans Agency will be reviewing around 10,000 awards and informing previous recipients of the increases that they will receive.