Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: The UK Border Agency has announced plans for up to 60% more immigration removal centre places. The extra spaces, which will total between 1,300 and 1,500, will help the new Agency lift the number of removals of illegal immigrants up from its current performance of one removal every eight minutes.
 
The Home Office announced it will take forward planning applications at two possible sites - at Bicester in Oxfordshire and at Yarls Wood in Bedfordshire.
Press release ~ UK Border Agency's (UKBA) ~ UK Border Agency Business Plan ~ Managing Global Migration ~ Migration Watch UK ~ National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
 
DCSF: Independent and state schools will join forces to raise the aspirations of gifted & talented pupils and encourage more disadvantaged children to go to university in a scheme announced by Ed Balls and Andrew Adonis. 23 projects will be funded with over £4m to 2011.  The largest partnership will be a London based Gifted & Talented programme, involving 18 schools across 7 boroughs, funded by over half a million pounds.
 
Independent State Schools Partnerships have been running successfully for a decade, involving around 330 schools and funded by £10m.  This year the projects on the scheme must:
* Have a focus on gifted and talented children;
* Aim to increase university applications from children from disadvantaged backgrounds;
* Raise attainment and participation in maths, science and/or languages.
Press release ~ Independent State Schools Partnerships 2008 - 2011 ~ Gifted & Talented programme
 
ScotGov: More than £43m is to be dedicated over the next three years to tackle Hepatitis C in Phase 2 of the Hepatitis C Action Plan which sets out 34 separate actions & measures to:
* Improve treatment, testing, diagnostic services & care for those who have Hepatitis C or may be at risk
* Improve support services for those living with the virus
* Raise awareness through education & prevention work to reduce the transmission of the disease
* Recognise the social care needs & drug addiction problems of infected people
* Monitor the scale of the problem and measure the success of reducing the spread of Hepatitis C
Press release ~ Hepatitis C Action Plan Phase II ~ Phase I First Year Progress report ~ Hepatitis C Trust ~ NHS Choices - Hepatitis CHepatitis C Resource Centre ~ Hepatitis C – Essential information for Professionals ~ C-Level ~ Hepatitis C - Scotland
 
Defra: In future, bat and wintering waterbird numbers will be used to help measure the health of the UK's wildlife. They join other wildlife indicators published as part of the UK and England Biodiversity Indicators.
 
Bat populations remain vulnerable, which is why they serve as a good indicator for the wider health of the UK's wildlife.  Pressures faced by bats (including landscape change, agricultural intensification, development and habitat fragmentation) are also relevant to many other wildlife species. The overall trend of the indicators published shows that, since 2000, there has been general slowing and halt in the long-term decline in populations of key species or habitats.  
 
Also published last week was the list of habitats and species of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity in England under the:
* Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.
* Wild bird population indicators for the English Regions 1994-2006.
Press release ~ UK Biodiversity Indicators ~ Bat Conservation Trust ~ National Bat Monitoring Programme ~ Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ~ British Trust for Ornithology ~ UK Biodiversity Action Plan ~ Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 - Section 41 ~ Defra - Biodiversity ~ UK Biodiversity Action reporting system ~ Wild Bird Population Indicators for the English Regions: 1994-2006 ~ International Biodiversity Day
 
ScotGov: The Scottish Government recently announced its way forward for infrastructure investment in Scotland to secure new schools, hospitals and transport projects at better value to the public purse. Ministers published the strategic business case for the Scottish Futures Trust initiative to be supported by a new company established in the public sector.  SFT will be formed this summer and work with the public sector & market.

Professor John Kay, a Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, Visiting Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, and a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, said: "PFI is well past its sell by date. The Scottish Futures Trust can achieve its three objectives of cheaper finance, better project management and the operation of infrastructure projects for the benefit of the people of Scotland."
Press release ~ Taking forward the Scottish Futures Trust ~ ScotGov – Council of Economic Advisers ~ Prudential Code ~ Scottish Funding Council
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