Policy Statements and Initiatives

DefraThe Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is advising how consumers and businesses can establish what benefits their green electricity tariff delivers above & beyond the supplier's existing legal obligation to provide electricity from renewable sources.
 
Some existing green tariffs may well deliver broader environmental benefits.  Following the publication of Ofgem's guidance to suppliers later this year, Defra will consult on how any broader environmental benefits, possible long term carbon benefits and any genuinely additional carbon benefits of green tariffs could be treated in its voluntary reporting guidelines.
Press release ~ Revised Defra Greenhouse Gas Conversation Factors ~ 22 Environmental Key Performance Indicators
 
HM Treasury: Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle, MP has announced that the Government's plans to extend the Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) to corporate landlords have been given formal state aid approval by the European Commission.
 
The scheme, which provides incentives for landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, is expected to save at least 150,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2010/11.  From 8 July 2008 private landlords will be able to claim up to £1,500 a year per property against the cost of purchasing & installing energy-saving items such as floor insulation and draught proofing.
Press release ~ Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) ~ PIM2015 - Deductions: general rules: main types of expense
 
DCSF: Ed Balls and Andrew Adonis have accepted the recommendations of the Williams Review of early maths teaching - a major independent review of maths in primary schools.  The Government will invest £24m over the next three years to set up & begin implementing a major training programme for 13,000 existing primary school teachers and announced plans to train more than 1,000 specialist maths teachers a year over the next 10 years. 
 
Mr Balls said he would raise maths standards in primary schools by paying specialist maths teachers up to £8,000 in incentive payments & rewards to train towards gaining a Masters in maths teaching. The Children's Plan set a goal that every 11-year-old should be ready for success in secondary school and by 2020 at least 90% of children should achieve the right level for their age in English and maths.
 
The Department for Children, Schools and Families will now develop plans for training specialist maths teachers with a pathfinder programme in autumn 2008 and implementation beginning in 2009.
DCSF press release ~ TDA press release ~ Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools ~ National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics' (NCETM) ~ Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) ~ National Challenge documents and case studies ~ Developing assessment for learning in mathematics – classroom practice in action ~ 'Making Great Progress' ~ Keeping up - pupils who fall behind in Key Stage 2 ~ Making Good Progress: How can we help every pupil to make good progress at school? ~ STEM Programme Report ~ STEM Mapping Review ~ Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics Network (SETNET)
 
DCSF: Children's Minister, Beverley Hughes, has announced that parenting services for some of the country's most vulnerable, including teenage mums & dads, disabled parents and families facing break up are to get a share of up to £8m.
 
Projects such as helping parents with drug/alcohol problems, sports sessions and parenting workshops will have their Parenting Fund grants continued until March 2009.
Press release ~ DCSF Parenting Fund 2004 - 2006 ~ Family and Parenting Institute – Parenting Fund
 
HO: Around 7,500 UKBA officers & staff up and down the UK will be reorganised into 70-80 Local Immigration Teams, alongside Local Crime Partnerships with police, as part of a major refocus of the work of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced.
 
The Government's plans, set out in 'Enforcing the Deal' published last week include, automatic deportation for serious offenders, over 1,000 extra immigration staff focused on enforcement duties, action against employers who break the law and new partnerships with local authorities & enforcement agencies to shut down the privileges of the UK to those breaking the rules.
 
Also announced today was the UKBA's partnership with the fraud prevention body CIFAS, which is subject to Parliamentary approval this summer.  This will see names & addresses of foreign nationals of interest to the agency - those who have been removed from the UK and who have been convicted of immigration offences - shared through the CIFAS database with over 270 financial service, telecoms and utility companies, to assist them in tackling fraud.
Press release ~ Enforcing the Deal: Enforcement business plan for 2008/2009 ~ Lists of civil penalties issued to employers ~ CIFAS ~ Local Crime Partnerships ~ UK Border Agency (UKBA)
 
Defra: Details of Government plans to assist individuals & businesses to better protect their property from the impacts of flooding have been outlined by the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn. Under new plans Defra will commit £125,000 to the development of an interactive website and phone line service (will launch in Spring 2009) in conjunction with the Environment Agency providing individuals & businesses with the advice & information they need to protect their homes and premises from flooding.
 
Temporary resistance measures (i.e. temporary floor guards and airbrick covers) reduce the costs of damage by about 50% if they are in place prior to a flood.  Permanent measures (i.e. permanent floodproof doors, windows and airbrick covers) could prevent damage by up to 84%, but may be more costly. Pilot schemes offered each household a maximum of £5,000 to implement methods, but most complete sets of measures were found to cost between £2,000-£4,000 overall.
 
Proposals to provide a Government grant to help people bear some of the costs involved with implementing such measures, for example through a free home flood survey, will also form the basis of a public consultation in a few weeks time.
Press release ~ National Flood Forum ~ Research on pilot schemes ~ Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk - Practice Guide ~ CLG – Development and Flood Risk ~ 2004 Foresight Future flooding report ~ Defra – Flood management ~ Environment Agency - 2007 summer floods ~ Pitt Review ~ Association of British Insurers (ABI) – Flood 2007 ~ ABI Flooding Q&As ~ ABI Information Zone ~ Help, I’m flooded ~ 'Making Space for Water' ~ ABI Flooding & Insurance website (includes principles) ~ Repair and restoration of buildings following flooding ~ Flooding in Scotland ~ National Appraisal of Assets at Risk of Flooding and Coastal Erosion in England and Wales ~ Flood Ranger
 
HO: The Dutch approach to prostitution was observed by Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker, during a visit to the Netherlands recently, as part of the Government's review into tackling the demand for prostitution. 
 
The Government's six-month review began in January with a visit to Sweden to explore the impact of legislation which criminalises the purchase or attempted purchase of sex and decriminalises its sale.  The Netherlands takes a different approach and currently has a licensing scheme for brothels, meaning the organisation of prostitution by consenting adults is not a criminal offence.
Press release ~ Coordinated Prostitution Strategy ~ Dutch model ~ National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings ~ Scharlaken Koord ~ Posters ~ Blue Blindfold ~ Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit report: It’s like going to the supermarket (select from recent publications list) ~ UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking ~ Council of Europe Convention on Human Trafficking ~ Human Trafficking Centre ~ Poppy scheme (scroll down) ~ Pentameter 2 ~ Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007 ~ Women's Support Project ~ Being Outside - Constructing a Response to Street Prostitution ~ Scotland’s 6,000 sex slaves - The Daily Record
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