Policy Statements and Initiatives

DECC: Plans to explore linking up green energy projects in the North, Baltic & Irish Seas were backed by PM David Cameron recently at the UK-Baltic-Nordic Summit held in London. 

He announced that Energy Ministers will work together through the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative and share experience with Ministers in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) to ensure planning, market, regulatory & technical challenges are properly addressed and the right framework created for industry to invest in future projects.
Press release ~ EWEA : Oceans of Opportunity Harnessing Europe’s largest domestic energy resource ~ UK lead in offshore wind confirmed ~ Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP)
ScotGov: Young people across the country are taking the lead in a new project to help drive Scotland's transition to a low carbon society as part of the Low Carbon Scotland Public Engagement Strategy. Developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with Young Scot, the national youth information agency for Scotland, the project involves three teams of 12 to 19 year old volunteers who will look at how their communities will change in a low carbon Scotland.
Press release ~ Low Carbon Scotland Public Engagement Strategy ~ Young Scot website
DWP: Young unemployed people will get much more help to access extended work experience opportunities to get the best possible start in life, Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced last week.  Under a new scheme young people will be allowed to do work experience for up to 8 weeks (previously only 2 weeks) so they can get a proper stint in a business, gaining valuable experience, getting a decent entry on their CV and providing real value to the employer.
The Work Experience scheme will be administered by Jobcentre Plus, who will match young unemployed jobseekers to companies interested in giving young people a step up.
Press release ~ Ad hoc analysis of individuals living in households who have never worked 
CO: Deputy PM Nick Clegg has called for new ideas to help improve the rates of young people and other under represented groups registering to vote in elections. Traditionally young people, BME communities and those in areas of high social deprivation are less likely to register to vote. The Electoral Commission estimates that over 50% of 17–24 year olds are not registered to vote, alongside 31% of BME British residents.
Press release ~ Unlock Democracy ~ Operation Black Vote
DWP: The vast majority of people who apply for Employment & Support Allowance are either being found fit for work (39%) after undergoing a Work Capability Assessment or stop their claim (39%) before they complete their medical assessment.  Ministers have already made changes to the way the Work Capability Assessments recognise people suffering from mental health conditions and those with cancer.
Press release ~ Employment & Support Allowance: Work Capability Assessments statistics
BIS: New plans to improve the way in which workplace disputes are resolved have been published alongside an ‘Employer’s Charter’ – the measures are designed to give businesses more confidence to take on workers & support growth. The Government wants to enable workplace disputes to be resolved as early & as easily as possible. The key proposals are set out in a consultation (closes on 20 April 2011).
Tribunal claims rose to 236,000 last year – a record figure and a rise of 56% on 2009 – and business has to spend almost £4,000 on average to defend itself against a claim.  Concerns have been raised by businesses that the system has become too costly, takes too much time, places unnecessary strains on small businesses and that it is too easy to make unmerited or vexatious claims.
Press release ~ Joint BIS and Tribunals Service consultation:  Resolving Workplace Disputes ~ 10 Downing St press release
CO: Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has launched a new network of Counter Fraud Champions, who will lead the fight against fraud & error in their own central government department and in the agencies and other public bodies for which the department has responsibility. New figures revealed by the National Fraud Authority show that 55% of fraud – a massive £21bn - is committed against the public sector.
They will also feed into the work of the Government’s Counter Fraud Taskforce, which was launched last October, and take forward the Taskforce’s recommendations when it completes its work in Spring 2011.
Press release ~ National Fraud Authority’s Annual Fraud Indicator 2011
Giving the elderly a voice in Parliament: An interview with Rachael Maskell MP