Policy Statements and Initiatives

MoD: UK Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, played host last week to his French counterpart in London to exchange the ratified Defence & Security Co-operation Treaty between the 2 countries. The meeting between Dr Fox and the French Defence Minister, Gérard Longuet, was the final step before the UK-France Defence and Security Co-operation Treaty formally comes into force on 1 July 2011.
 
The treaty was signed at last November's bilateral Summit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy & British Prime Minister David Cameron. As key members of NATO and the leading military nations in Europe, the UK & France recognise the importance of a strong UK-France relationship for the defence & security of both nations.
Press release & links
 
MoD: The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) came into being on 1 April 2011 with a clear goal to deliver better strategic management of the Defence Estate. It pulls together a number of roles, functions, & staff from the former Defence Estates (DE) organisation & infrastructure personnel from organisations across Defence such as the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Defence Equipment & Support.
 
The new organisation must achieve significant running cost reductions, improve estate utilisation and drive further estate rationalisation & commercialisation opportunities.  Through the sale of surplus land & buildings and other efficiency measures, the DIO aims to deliver savings of some £1.2bn over the next 4 years.
Press release & links
 
BIS: The drive to stimulate local economic growth was ‘stepped up’ last week when Business Minister Mark Prisk announced a package with 3 measures to help local enterprise partnerships get up & running:
* Firstly the partnerships are being invited to submit bids for a share of a £5m Start-Up Fund
* Secondly, from now partnerships will also have access to an online Toolbox which provides comprehensive information on economic development activity across government departments and ideas for strong partnership/government working
* Thirdly, they will also be able to access information through the new BIS Local network which will be the first point of contact on any issues
Press release & links
 
CLG: Last November, Mr Clark announced the Government's plans to reform the Community Infrastructure Levy - which has the potential to raise an estimated additional £1bn a year of funding (by 2016) to support growth locally - and invited local authorities to apply to become part of the Front Runners' project to develop the best approach to implementing the Levy in their area.
 
The first phase of the project is now underway and local authorities are now being offered places to take part in a second phase. Each front-runner will have access to a tailored package of support from the Planning Advisory Service to help them set a charge for their area, which is likely to include group workshops, good practice advice, and lessons learned from the first local authorities to implement the Levy.
 
To ensure all those who have an interest in the levy and who might be involved in its operation fully understand its key features, its rationale, purpose & how it will work in practice, 2 new information documents about the levy will shortly be released - one on collection & enforcement and another on reliefs & exemptions - alongside a revised version of the Departments Community Infrastructure Levy overview.
Press release & links
 
DfE: The Government has announced plans to ensure that more young people leave school or college with a good grasp of English and maths. It means that those who have failed to get a C or better in GCSE English or maths ‘will study the subjects until they get good qualifications’

The move will address concerns that standards of literacy & numeracy among young people are not good enough. The recommendation was among those proposed by Professor Alison Wolf when she published her review of vocational education in March 2011.
Press release & links ~ IfL comment
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