Policy Statements and Initiatives
BIS: Business Minister, Ian Lucas, has claimed that the government is ‘doing all it can to support the car industry helping it to adapt & survive, so it can emerge stronger and better able to deal with future challenges’. Mr Lucas made the comments as he published the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) response to the Business & Enterprise Select Committee’s report, ‘The Automotive Industry in the UK’.
In addition, the government recently made the first loan from the Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP). Tata Motors TMETC has been given a £10m to support the development & manufacture of electric vehicles in the UK.
Press release ~ Business & Enterprise Select Committee’s report, ‘The Automotive Industry in the UK’ ~ Government’s response ~
Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP) ~ Strategy for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles in the UK
DECC: Britain’s top 100 business leaders & top 100 media personalities are being asked to put their efforts & influence behind the global ‘tck tck tck’ climate change campaign - a global alliance of NGOs, trade unions, faith groups calling for a ‘fair, ambitious & binding climate change agreement’.
Kofi Annan, ex-Secretary General of the United Nations and leader of the campaign, recently wrote to 100 global leaders, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to ask them to join the campaign for an ambitious global climate deal at Copenhagen in December 2009.
Just as he wrote to the global ‘top 100’, the UK Government is now passing on the message to the top 100 leaders in British business & media. The letter asks business & media leaders to write to their own ‘top 100’ telling them why they personally believe in tackling climate change, send them a badge and ask them to pass on the message to their own ‘top 100’.
ScotGov: A new action plan to help cut greenhouse gas emissions from across the agricultural sector has been launched. The 5-point plan will help farmers increase productivity and tackle climate change. Farming for a Better Climate (FBC) is funded by the Scottish Government. A dedicated website, hosted by the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), will offer advice on cost-effective ways to benefit business and the environment.
Press release ~ Farming for a Better Climate (FBC) website ~ 5 key FBC action areas ~ Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
DCSF: Schools Minister Vernon Coaker has announced the 10 successful pilot areas looking at how local services can be better co-ordinated for separating & separated parents. The £4.75m project aims to improve the wellbeing of families caught up in divorce & separation with help from, local services including counselling, mediation and practical & legal support.
Over 90% of parents responding to a 2008 survey by the Kids in the Middle campaign felt that more should be done to support families during separation. This was echoed earlier in the year with responses to the Child Maintenance & Other Payments Act consultation.
The pilots will also provide the Government with evidence as to how local approaches can tackle the stress & conflict faced by parents going through separation or divorce and to reduce the negative outcomes that children caught in the middle can face.
ScotGov: All Scotland's local authorities will be able to apply for funding from the Scottish Government to help ensure that people going out for the night can enjoy themselves in a safe environment. The Safer Streets funding of £400,000 will be available to Community Safety Partnerships from November 2009 - March 2010.
It is to be divided between all 32 local authorities to fund community safety initiatives including high visibility police patrols in 'hot spot' areas, street pastors, targeting of street drinkers, enhanced CCTV and late night taxi marshals.
Press release ~ ScotGov - Safer Streets ~ Community Safety Partnerships ~ Safer Scotland ~ Glasgow Community and Safety Services ~ Nite Zone ~ Threads of Success - A study of Community Safety Partnerships in Scotland
Defra: Pond dipping, a hunt for ancient trees, coppicing & scrub bashing were just a few of the activities Wildlife & Biodiversity Minister Huw Irranca-Davies got stuck into recently as part of Defra’s Muck In4Life campaign. The Minister was spending a day volunteering for conservation work in the South East to find out about the range of activities available.
MuckIn4Life encourages families & people of all ages to get fit & healthy out and about in the countryside by taking part in conservation volunteering with all sorts of activities on offer from bird surveying to pond cleaning and path building.
Volunteers can also take part in a photo competition to win high street vouchers simply by taking snaps of their volunteering experience. The winning photos will also be displayed at the famous KewGardens.
Press release ~ Kew's International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition ~ MuckIn4Life photography competition ~ Directgov: MuckIn4Life
BIS: Graduates thinking about starting their own business will get a flying start, as successful entrepreneurs offer advice to help them make it happen. Building on the Flying Start scheme launched in 2004, the Government is investing a further £1m, so 5,000 graduates will get the opportunity to attend one of 50, one day rallies aimed at inspiring them to start up their own business.
The rallies will provide support, advice, guidance & information through practical workshops and inspirational speakers & business mentors. Graduates will also have the opportunity to network with like-minded people, giving them the motivation they need to take the first step. Graduates will be contacted shortly with more information about how they can get involved with Flying Start - Make it Happen.
Press release ~ Flying Start Online ~ National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship ~ Graduate Talent Pool matching service ~ Low Carbon Future Leaders placement scheme ~ For more information monitor Flying Start - Make it Happen and Graduate Prospects websites
WAG: Better public transport and walking & cycling facilities are making it easier for people in Wales to get into town without their car. On 'In Town, Without My Car!' Day recently, the Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, set out how the Assembly Government is helping people to take part.
Press release ~ 'In Town, Without My Car!' Day ~ Safe Routes in Communities scheme ~ Valleys Cycle Network ~ Travel Line Cymru website ~ WAG - Walking and cycling ~ National Transport Plan consultation (closes on 12 October 2009)
ScotGov: Television viewers in Scotland could be guaranteed more content relevant to their lives & interests under different constitutional arrangements, Culture Minister Michael Russell claimed as he published a discussion paper on Broadcasting - an area currently reserved to Westminster.
The Opportunities for Broadcasting paper sets out - as part of the National Conversation on Scotland's future - what could be achieved in relation to broadcasting, under 4 different constitutional options. Further devolution of powers could mean the Scottish national football team's World Cup and European Championship home qualifying matches being protected for free-to-air transmission.
Press release ~ Opportunities for Broadcasting ~ More powers option for referendum - NEWS ~ National Conversation on Scotland's future ~ BBC Scotland
ScotGov: Local Authorities are to be given the legal protection they require to limit P1 class sizes to 25 Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced. The right of children to more time & attention in the classroom and delivery of improved literacy & numeracy in early years are at the heart of the Scottish Government's decision to introduce new regulations, which will allow local authorities to tackle the largest classes and help drive down P1 classes towards 18.
The Scottish Government plans to introduce regulations to establish a maximum class size for primary one from the start of the next school year. Ms Hyslop also announced the Scottish Government is establishing a Class Size Review to examine the variety of rules & regulations governing individual class sizes across primary & secondary levels, and how to make them more coherent, giving consideration as to whether primary legislation is required.
ScotGov: The importance of establishing a successful relationship between Government and the Third Sector has been emphasised in a joint statement signed by the Scottish Government, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). It represents a milestone in efforts to create partnerships and encourage joint working in Community Planning Partnerships throughout Scotland.
Press release ~ Joint Third Sector Statement ~ Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) ~ Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) ~ Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) ~ Community Planning Partnerships
ScotGov: The largest & most comprehensive examination of child protection measures in Scotland has just finished - allowing safeguards to be strengthened through the most in-depth analysis ever - Children's Minister Adam Ingram has claimed.
Mr Ingram said the Scottish Government and child protection agencies had already started drawing from the vast bank of information to help ensure successes can be shared and measures across the country are as robust as possible.
Press release ~ Raising child protection standards ~ Wide-ranging review of guidance ~ ScotGov – Child protection ~ Children 1st
HO: A competition has been opened for designers to develop new ideas or methods to tackle retail crimes such as shoplifting. Design students from across the country are being invited to enter the competition as part of the national Retail Crime Action Plan, which sets out a broad range of actions to tackle crime against retailers and small businesses.
The competition is part of the Home Secretary's Design and Technology Alliance's work to ‘design out’ crime, which is aimed at generating innovative & cost-effective ways of stopping crimes likes shoplifting or ‘dipping’ with measures such as new types of packaging, new shop layouts or products (including more secure trolleys and baskets).
Press release ~ Competition ~ Retail Crime Action Plan ~ Design and Technology Alliance (DTA) ~ Secured by Design ~ Design Council – Design Against Crime ~ RSA - Design Directions project ~ UCL Centre for Security and Crime Science
ScotGov: Young children whose parents regularly speak to them have hundreds more words in their vocabulary by the age of just two Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop said, as she kick-started a nationwide parenting campaign.
The new Play, Talk, Read campaign - part of the Scottish Government's focus on the first years of children's lives - will help parents stimulate young children and put in place the building blocks for future life chances. The national drive - which includes TV & radio adverts and a new one-stop website for parents of young children - is aimed at helping parents stimulate their children from day one through easy, fun activities.
DCSF: Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan has announced a package of measures to help put the focus clearly on the child in the care system. The minister has also written to local authorities to look at ways to bolster support for foster carers. The measures include:
* consulting on significant revisions of the National Minimum Standards (NMS) against which Ofsted inspect care settings
* providing research on how local authorities might improve the stability of permanent placements and better structure their looked after children budgets.
Research published by the DCSF shows that children in stable, long-term placements achieve much more than children who have a series of temporary placements or whose placements breakdown. We therefore need to urgently address the issue of stability in the care system.
Press release ~ Revising the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for Adoption, Children’s Homes and Fostering ~ Adoption and the Inter-agency Fee and Characteristics, Outcomes and Meanings of Three Types of Permanent Placement - Adoption by Strangers, by Carers and Long-Term Foster Care ~ Minister’s letter to all Directors
Defra: Measures to protect & improve our soil to meet rising demand for food and to combat climate change have been unveiled by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. England’s soil has suffered over the last 200 years from the impacts of intensive farming & industrial pollution and today is under threat from erosion by wind & rain, a loss of organic matter & nutrients and pressure for development.
Safeguarding our Soils sets out how the government plans to halt & reverse the degradation of England’s soil over the next 20 years, working with farmers & other land managers, developers, planners & construction companies to manage soil sustainably.
By 2050 the world will need to double current food production to feed a growing population, possible only with healthy soils. Future sustainability of the UK’s food supply will depend on maintaining the natural resources, including soil, on which production depends.
Press release ~ Defra - Soil ~ Safeguarding our Soils ~ British Society of Soil Science ~ JNCC - Soils ~ Soil-net.com
ScotGov: Further benefits to the rural economy were announced last week at Scotland's first-ever Rural Gathering. The Scottish Government intends to fund up to 90% of projects in rural communities, such as small businesses, renewable energy projects & community gardens and festivals through the LEADER programme, which previously provided up to a maximum of 50%.