MIL-OSI UK: News story: UK business on the menu: The South East set for a record year, says Liz Truss

Source: UK Government

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, visits wine and cheesemakers in the South East to highlight the success of home-grown produce and their economic potential

Minister champions local businesses in the South East and urge them to take advantage of global exporting opportunities

Today (11 January 2019), visiting Winterdale Cheesemakers who are whetting local appetites with its award-winning Kentish cheese, and Hush Heath Wine Estate who specialise in sparkling rosé, Liz Truss will champion the success of the UK food and drink industries.
The UK cheese sector is going from strength to strength in terms of export demand, highlighting the economic opportunities available to businesses large and small from new markets.
Latest figures show that cheese exports alone were worth over £600 million to the UK economy, rising by nearly a quarter in 2017 driven by increased demand from Asian markets.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss said:

The South East is leading the way as one of the UK’s strongest exporting regions, offering impressive local-grown produce.
People around the world enjoy the best of British cheese and wine and we want this success to continue, ensuring UK businesses have every opportunity to increase their trade which will lead to more jobs and higher wages.

The South East is the UK’s strongest region for exports, exporting the highest value of goods in of any UK region. Since 2010 employment is higher and unemployment has also fallen faster in the South East than in London, with over 360,000 more people in employment and 140,000 more businesses.

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MIL-OSI UK: News story: London seminar: Understanding and use of trauma informed practice (13 February, 2019)

Source: UK Government

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MIL-OSI UK: News story: Preparing for EU exit – BEIS update

Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

Delivering the deal negotiated with the EU remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, as a responsible government we are preparing for all scenarios and in December 2018 Cabinet agreed to accelerate the next phase of no deal planning.

What is BEIS doing to prepare businesses?

The government is taking the steps to prepare for the UK leaving the European Union and is working to ensure that businesses have the information they need to prepare. As well as regular and ongoing engagement with research institutes, businesses, and business and trade representative groups to discuss their priorities and concerns, we have taken forward significant preparations including:

  • recruitment of 700 new staff to work on EU Exit policy using additional funding allocated by HM Treasury for Brexit preparedness
  • passing of new legislation to lay the groundwork for our future outside the EU with 57 out of 63 required statutory instruments required by Exit day, including new laws for a nuclear safeguards regime that will maintain the UK industry’s ability to trade in the nuclear sector while ensuring the UK remains on track to meet its international obligations on day one of exit
  • laying of legislation and the putting in place of new measures to ensure a robust and effective product safety and metrology regime post-Exit by the Office for Product Safety and Standards
  • the publication of 28 technical notices, including oil and gas, climate change, company law and state aid. These will continue to be updated. These notices also include guidance about what actions businesses need to take in order to carry on exporting and importing a range of goods and services
  • continuing to work closely with the UK research community to maintain collaboration with the EU while laying legislation to ensure laws governing areas like employment rights and renewable energy remain world-leading after we leave
  • retaining a general system for recognition where UK regulators will be required to recognise EEA and Swiss qualifications which are of an equivalent standard to UK qualifications in scope, content and level
  • working with Ofgem, the Northern Ireland Utility Regulator and interconnector operators to put in place arrangements that aim to ensure that electricity and gas continue to flow across borders through interconnectors
  • signing Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCA) with Australia, Canada and the United States. The NCAs allow the UK to continue civil nuclear cooperation when current European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) arrangements cease to apply in the UK
  • protecting our climate ambition by taking steps to ensure that, if we leave the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, on day one companies will still have to report their carbon emissions and there will be a carbon tax of equivalent impact – to make sure that these important emissions don’t increase as a result of a no deal scenario
  • publishing a package of secondary legislation in December to ensure our energy laws function effectively after exit day, including: European Network Codes, Electricity and Gas Acts, and EU regulations under the Third Energy Package
  • £92 million of funding work on the development of options for a UK Global Navigation Satellite System; and
  • working with Cabinet Office, DExEU and other departments to ensure all business sectors are appropriately informed on all major issues

What do businesses need to do now?

If you run a business you can access information on a range of measures you may need to take in order to prepare, including the guidance available in the event of no deal. These notices will be regularly updated with the latest information.

Government has launched the business readiness website which includes a tool to enable you to find out:

  • what your business will need to do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU
  • what’s changing in your industry
  • information on specific rules and regulations

Other sources of information are available for businesses including from business representative organisations and trade bodies.

Published 11 January 2019

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MIL-OSI UK: Celtc Union ‘a must’ regardless of Brexit

Source: Party of Wales

The Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said that there needs to be a much ‘greater co-operation’ between the Celtic nations regardless of Brexit and has suggested a Celtic Development Bank for joint infrastructure investment projects in energy, transport, and communications. 
His comments come before his keynote lecture at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin later today.
The Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price is visiting Dublin today [Thursday] to address the Institute of International and European Affairs on the future cooperation and relationship of the four nations of the UK and Ireland. 
Speaking ahead of the lecture, Adam Price, Plaid Cymru leader said,
“I believe Wales can be much more than just a land bridge for Ireland to England and continental Europe. We hold out the prospect of being a political partner with Ireland in a great project for the 21st Century – a project made urgent by the Brexit debate and a project that is nothing less than a fundamental restructuring of political relationships across western Europe. 
“We could see much greater co-operation between the Celtic nations, even the formation of some kind of Celtic union – a multilateral organisation with their own structure and secretariat that could establish, for example, a Celtic Development Bank for joint infrastructure investment projects in energy, transport, and communications. 
“We can have a better future forging a new collaboration on these islands. A collaboration that is based on an equality of partnership and respect between Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England which develops structures we already have, built as part of the Good Friday Agreement– the British Irish Council, which could be a meeting place where we can begin to forge the common understanding that we will need to take our new relationships forward.
The Plaid leader said that Brexit has shown the British political system is ‘broken’ and that the time had come to renew Europe – beginning with a revived partnership of equals on the British Isles.
Adam Price said,
“Brexit has shown that the British political system is broken, deadlocked and incapable of reaching a consensus. The time has come to choose to not only Remain in but Reform, Renew and Regenerate Europe into a Europe that can be social, democratic, decentralised and diverse.
 “Our vision is for a new society, for a new politics, a new Wales, a new Ireland, a new Scotland, a new England, and –a new Europe too.

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MIL-OSI UK: Rudd admits the two child cap is not “compassionate” – Margaret Greenwood responds – The Labour Party

Source: Labour Party UK

Margaret Greenwood MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to Amber Rudd’s admission this morning that the two child cap is not “compassionate”, said:

“Amber Rudd has admitted that applying the two child limit to families with children who were born before the system was introduced is not “compassionate”. It’s clear the Government must scrap the two-child limit in its entirety.

“Labour will scrap the social security freeze and get rid of the two child cap, which everyone, including the Work and Pensions Secretary, knows is deeply unfair.”

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

One the Today programme this morning, Amber Rudd said: “Maybe things that were proposed weren’t effective or weren’t compassionate in the way that I want them to be, so I’m going to be perfectly bold about making those changes where I need to.”

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MIL-OSI UK: DWP reverses retroactive part of 2-child limit

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
Chair’s comments
Responding to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions’ policy announcements on Thursday evening,  Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of Committee, said:

“I strongly welcome the Secretary of State’s decision not to press ahead with what could have been the cruellest benefit cut in history. At the eleventh hour, she has prevented thousands of children from being plunged into poverty by an unjustifiable retrospective policy. “The Secretary of State also seems determined to ensure that the transfer of claimants to Universal Credit proceeds with the necessary care and caution, as the Committee has consistently urged. There are welcome hints, too, of proposals for much needed changes to the single, monthly household payment of Universal Credit that has wreaked havoc on the budgets of all too many households, and for improvements on childcare payments. Together, these proposals could have a potentially significant impact on the living standards of many families on low incomes.
“The Committee stands ready to work with the Secretary of State on each of them.”

The Committee published its own report on the two-child limit on Thursday evening.
Further information
Image: Parliamentary Copyright

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MIL-OSI UK: Press release: Salt – more than just a household ingredient

Source: United Kingdom – Highways Agency

When snow and ice are forecast, an army of workers descends on to our motorways and major A roads in a fleet of gritters, to keep traffic moving.

Highways England stores around 280,000 tonnes of salt at its 127 depots, spread across the country at strategic locations but salt has already come on a long journey before it leaves the depots to reach its final destination on the road.

Salt (sodium chloride) comes from salt mined hundreds of metres underground. The salt is extracted generally by using a continuous mining machine.

The salt travels along conveyors to a machine where it is crushed and inspected to ensure it is the correct grade to be used on roads.

It is then brought up to ground and transported by lorries to our depots where it is stored until needed. Each lorry can transport 28 tonnes and our purpose built salt barns can hold anything up to 8,000 tonnes.

Salt mining underground

Highways England’s National Winter and Severe Weather Team Leader, Paul Furlong said:

Salt works by lowering the freezing point of moisture on the road surface, so that it has to be colder before it can turn to ice. In order for it to become really effective, dry salt has to form a brine solution on the road surface.

It is this brine that is responsible for lowering the temperature at which water freezes on the road surface to prevent ice from forming. To make this process occur quicker our vehicles spread concentrated brine on to dry salt as it is spread, which helps the salt react more quickly.

The brine we use is much more salty than sea water. Sea water contains about 3.5% salt while our brine contains around 23%.

To decide on the type of salt treatment needed, a range of methods are used, such as weather station and road condition information.

Salt mining machinery

Paul added:

The amount of salt we need to use can vary and no two days will necessarily require the same treatment. However, it is important to realise that salt won’t necessarily stop snow from settling but it will help when it comes to ploughing the snow off the road.

When spreading salt our gritters will have all their amber beacons flashing and will be travelling no faster than 40mph. Our vehicles could be found in any lane although on standard 3-lane motorways they will often be in the middle lane, so we would encourage drivers to give them enough space. When snow ploughing, our vehicles will be found working on our roads at speeds around 20mph, so drivers are urged to drive with particular care during snow conditions.

Highways England gritters

Various advice and information about our winter services will be used on all of our social media channels – Twitter @HighwaysEngland, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, simply search Highways England. We also have regional twitter feeds where you can keep up to date with regional issues.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

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MIL-OSI UK: Press release: Bradley confirms £300 million to secure Peace Funding for Northern Ireland

Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

Around £300 million of funding will be committed to projects to support peace in Northern Ireland, the UK Government announced today (Friday).

The UK Government has committed to contributing millions of pounds to PEACE Plus until 2027, as part of its unwavering commitment to uphold the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland after Brexit.

PEACE Plus will succeed the current PEACE scheme which has helped promote economic and social progress in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland since 1995. The current programme – run with funding from the UK, Ireland and EU – will end in 2020.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, said:

This funding will help deliver vital projects on both sides of the Irish border, supporting cooperation and reconciliation and ensuring that generations to come grown up in a more peaceful and stable society.

Following today’s announcement, the UK Government will work with the EU Commission and Irish Government to shape PEACE Plus over the next round of the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

The EU has already set out its plan for £109 million (€120 million) of funding during 2021-27 if its financial framework is approved. Maintaining the existing funding proportions, the UK Government will also continue its support with approximately £300m. This flows from our joint commitment with the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement to maintain funding for vital work on reconciliation and a shared future for Northern Ireland until at least 2027.

This funding enables work to continue to build on the almost £1.8 billion (€2 billion) of investment in projects in both Northern Ireland and Ireland, including landmark projects such as the £14.5m PEACE bridge in Derry-Londonderry, which has linked communities across the River Foyle.

One organisation that has shown the benefit is Youth Action NI in Belfast, an organisation that used PEACE funding to help bring together young people from different communities in Northern Ireland. It established the ‘Youth Network for Peace’ – a regional project involving 10,000 young people in a range of participative social action projects on a cross-community and cross-border basis.

END

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MIL-OSI UK: News story: Government backs young musicians

Source: UK Government

In order to ensure all pupils are able to enjoy high quality lessons, schools are to receive a new model music curriculum created by an independent panel of experts, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced today (11 January).
This comes as a £1.33million funding boost is given to the Department for Education’s music education hubs, which helped hundreds of thousands of young people learn to play an instrument in whole classes in 2016/17.
The new curriculum will be developed by a group of teachers, education leaders and musicians and will be published in summer 2019. It will provide schools with a sequenced and structured template curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.
As well as ensuring all pupils can benefit from knowledge rich and diverse lessons, it is hoped that the curriculum will make it for easier for teachers to plan lessons and help to reduce workload.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Having the opportunity to study and explore music isn’t a privilege, it’s a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum – and that’s why I’m determined that all pupils should have access to a world class music education.
All pupils at least up to the age of 14 should study music in school. We want to make sure their lessons are of the very highest quality and pupils leave school having experienced an excellent music education so those who wish to do so can take up opportunities to pursue musical careers.
This new model curriculum and the new money for our successful music hubs will make sure the next generation of Adeles, Nigel Kennedys and Alex Turners have all the support they need in school.

In 2012 the government set up a network of 120 music education hubs to support the teaching of music both in and out of school. These hubs are being supported by £300million between 2016 and 2020, which forms part of an overall investment of £500million in the arts during that period, making it the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE.
This new funding – which is on top of £300million allocated to the programme between 2016 and 2020 – will help ensure that the hubs can keep up their good work. According to a report by Arts Council England, this work has reached 89% of schools and seen over 700,000 pupils learning instruments together with their classmates in 2016/17.
The music hubs support the work of primary and secondary schools, with music compulsory in the National Curriculum for children up to age 14. The new model music curriculum will provide a framework for schools to base their own programmes of study on, safe in the knowledge that it is backed by some of the most influential and expert figures in music education.
The panel overseeing development of the model curriculum will be made up of:
Veronica Wadley (chair), Former Chairman of Arts Council, London, Council Member of the Royal College of music, Governor of the Yehudi Menuhin School and co- Founder of the London Music Fund
Carolyn Baxendale, Head of Bolton Music Service and lead for Greater Manchester Music Education Hub
Karen Brock, Head of the Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service
Michael Elliott, Chief Executive, ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)
Peter Garden, Executive Director Performance & Learning, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Naveed Idrees, Head Teacher, Feversham Primary Academy
Julian Lloyd Webber, Cellist, Conductor and Principal, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, Royal Northern College of Music
Paul Roberts, National Council Member, Arts Council England
Ian Rowe, Principal, Bromley Youth Music Trust
James Thomas, Head of Hackney Music Service
Simon Toyne, Executive Director of Music, David Ross Education Trust and President-Elect, MMA Music Teachers
Ed Watkins, Director of Music, West London Free School
Bridget Whyte, Chief Executive, UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark
Veronica Wadley said:

I am looking forward to working with the expert group on publishing a rigorous, knowledge based music curriculum that schools can use to help them provide a rich and sustained music education for all their pupils.
I am also delighted that there is additional funding announced today to support music education hubs.

Julian Lloyd Webber said:

Engaging children in music and ensuring they receive a rich and diverse music education is key to growing pupils’ creativity and continuing the UK’s pipeline of future musicians. I am delighted to be playing a part in shaping a model music curriculum which will support teachers in delivering an inspiring and high quality music education.

Linda Merrick said:

The development of this new model curriculum is an extremely important and timely intervention. It will support teachers to deliver a meaningful and consistent musical education for their pupils, instilling a life-long love of music for its own sake, enhancing attainment across the wider curriculum and helping to develop the transferable skills essential for the workplace.
As Principal of one of the world’s leading conservatoires that takes its responsibility for access and participation extremely seriously, I look forward to contributing to the work of the expert steering group to ensure this exciting initiative realises its potential.

The panel will start work immediately and aims to publish the model curriculum on GOV.UK by the summer.
In 2011 the Government published The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education. The document set out a vision for how music education should look up to 2020 and introduced the plans for the music education hubs.
With 2020 approaching, the Government has committed to refreshing the plan to ensure music, which is the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE, remains at the forefront of school life.

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MIL-OSI UK: Treating everyone with dignity and respect

Source: Scottish Government

People engaging with Scotland’s new social security system will be treated with dignity and respect, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has pledged.

Ms Somerville was speaking as the Scottish Government published ‘Our Charter’, a document which takes the eight principles set out in the Social Security Act passed unanimously by Parliament last year and outlines what these will mean in practice.  It will now be considered for approval by the Scottish Parliament.

Created by people with experience of the existing social security system, ‘Our Charter’ outlines in detail what can be expected from the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland for anyone accessing Scotland’s new social security system.

Thanking the stakeholder organisations and the people with lived experience of social security who developed the charter at a meeting in Edinburgh, Ms Somerville said:

“When people use a public service they should have no concerns about how they will be treated.  Whatever the contact is about and whoever they speak to, they should have full confidence that they will be treated with dignity and respect.  However every day we read new reports of the brutal and degrading impact of a UK social security system that has been criticised by the UN and by House of Commons Committees. 

“This charter explains how Scotland will do things differently, creating a positive and supportive system that is there for all of us should we need it.  Notable commitments include treating people with kindness and empathy, recruiting staff who believe in these values, delivering services in local communities, and developing policy in a way that advances the human right to social security.

“These commitments were developed by those who know the system best – people with lived experience of social security and the organisations that represent them. There are few, if any, parallel examples of a Government working so closely with the people it serves to shape a public service.  The charter therefore goes to the heart of our commitment to work with the people of Scotland to co-design a system based on fairness, dignity and respect.”

Rob Gowans of Citizens Advice Scotland said:

“Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the launch of the charter, as it is important that people who need support from the social security system are clear about their rights, what to expect and what they can do if that standard is not met.

“We know from people coming to their local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice that this is not always the case currently, so the charter is a positive step towards creating a social security system which treats people with dignity and respect at all times.”

Background

The Social Security (Scotland) Act includes eight overarching principles which include:

  • social security is an investment in the people of Scotland,
  • social security is a human right;
  • respect for dignity of individuals is to be at the heart of the system;
  • the Scottish social security system is to contribute to reducing poverty in Scotland

The core group decided to structure the charter around four key themes:

  • A People’s Service – is about establishing a new and positive relationship between Social Security Scotland staff and the people they serve. It defines the treatment that people can expect from staff and how the core group believes that staff should be treated in return. Notable commitments include kindness and empathy, warm referrals to other services to improve finances and wellbeing, values based recruitment of Social Security Scotland staff and involving people with diverse lived experiences of social security in staff training.
  • Processes that Work – is about the design, accessibility and quality of the processes and systems that people will engage with when using the service. Notable commitments include adapting processes and communications to meet needs and preferences, delivery of services in local communities, on-going co-design with citizens and inclusive communication.
  • A Learning System – moves the charter beyond delivery to address the culture and values of Social Security Scotland e.g. that it encourages and values feedback, learns from it and strives to do better in future.       Other notable commitments include involving those with lived experience in measuring performance and recruiting a diverse workforce.  
  • A Better Future is about the Scottish Government’s policymaking process and the wider exercise of devolved social security powers to improve people’s lives. This theme contains higher level, more strategic commitments to ensure that the social security principles are embedded in policymaking more broadly, ongoing co-design and seeking to advance a human rights based approach, including commitments aimed directly at payment levels, tackling stigma and using more positive language to describe social security and the people who access it.  

The charter laid for approval therefore runs the full breadth of the Scottish social security system: from the content and design of policy, the recruitment and training of staff, their relationship with the people they serve right through to delivery of services and the culture of Social Security Scotland.

‘Our Charter’ has been laid for the approval of the Scottish Parliament and will be formally considered in the coming weeks.

Social Security Scotland was established in September 2018 and has so far paid two instalments of the Carers Allowance Supplement as well as making  payments of the Best Start Pregnancy and Baby payment. In 2019 it will deliver four new benefits including the Best Start Grant Nursery Age and School Age payments, Funeral Expense Assistance and Young Carer Grant.

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