MIL-OSI UK: News story: Colleges receive funding boost to help raise standards

Source: UK Government

Thirty six colleges across England will receive funding totalling £5.5 million to help drive up standards, Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton announced today.
Successful colleges from the first round of the Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF) will receive a total of £5.5m between them from the overall £15m fund.
The colleges will work with a high performing ‘partnering’ college to share their knowledge expertise to help tackle issues – such as raising the standard of teaching or improving learner recruitment and retention.
Today’s announcement follows a successful £2m pilot phase, which showed strong support for the partnership model and led to colleges reporting how the fund enabled rapid improvements in quality.
Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Anne Milton said:

Colleges play a vital role in our education system and we want that to continue. The Strategic College Improvement Fund is designed to help support colleges to improve so that their students get the best possible education and training.
I’m thrilled to announce the first round of colleges to receive funding from the scheme. I wish them all the best for the future and look forward to hearing how they are all progressing.

The SCIF was introduced following calls from the sector for a peer-to-peer support programme. It is playing a vital role alongside the Government’s National Leaders of Further Education (NLFEs) programme helping to share best practice and boost standards throughout the further education sector, so more people can access high quality education and training.
Funding will help pay for training and services to improve best practice and with it the quality of education on offer to students.


MIL-OSI UK: Chi Onwurah comments on the Aerospace Sector Deal – The Labour Party

Source: Labour Party UK

Chi Onwurah MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, commenting on the Government’s Aerospace Sector Deal, said:

“To truly take off, our world leading aerospace sector needs more than what the Government has put forward today – a reannouncement of existing funds which doesn’t give industry the long term support it needs.

“Business Secretary Greg Clark says UK aerospace needs an ‘open, frictionless economy’, yet the Prime Minister’s deal will cut off key supply chains and bar skilled workers from moving here, extending Brexit uncertainty for at least two years and keeping the industry grounded.

“Labour will deliver the boost that our aerospace sector needs. Our National Investment Bank will provide strategic, long term support and we will negotiate a permanent, comprehensive Customs Union agreement maintaining access to crucial European markets.”


MIL-OSI UK: Jeremy Corbyn congratulates Mark Drakeford on his election as Welsh Labour leader – The Labour Party

Source: Labour Party UK

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, responding to the election of Mark Drakeford as leader of the Welsh Labour Party, said:

“I would like to congratulate Mark Drakeford AM on his election as leader of the Welsh Labour Party. As leader and as First Minister, I am confident that Mark will demonstrate what Labour in government can achieve by building a more equal society, even in the face of the Conservatives’ callous austerity agenda and cuts to the Welsh budget.

“I know Mark will relentlessly fight for the interests of the Welsh people and stand up to the Tories’ chronic underinvestment in Wales compared to other parts of the UK, particularly London.

“I congratulate Eluned Morgan and Vaughan Gething for the passion with which they campaigned and put forward their visions for Wales.

“I thank Carwyn for his longstanding service to our Party and for his unprecedented electoral success and I wish him well for the future. I am looking forward to working with Mark as he builds on this legacy, to deliver his bold plan for jobs, investment and pioneering proposals for a modern, low carbon economy, run in the interests of the many, not the few.”


MIL-OSI UK: Press release: Construction of thousands of new homes to be accelerated following Homes England loan to St. Modwen

Source: UK Government

The loan, which is part of the Government’s Home Building Fund, will support St. Modwen to speed up the installation of vital infrastructure, such as roads and schools, on a number of sites.
The new infrastructure will enable the company to deliver homes through its housebuilding business, St. Modwen Homes, as well as sell other plots to third party housebuilders – helping to fulfil Homes England’s goals of diversifying the market, promoting better design and creating higher quality homes.
Chief Executive of Homes England, Nick Walkley, said:

This type of investment is a key example of how Homes England is stepping in to disrupt the housing market and provide homes for those wanting to get a foot on the housing ladder.

By equipping medium sized homebuilders like St. Modwen Homes with the resources to speed up construction, we are not just handing them the powers to make homes happen, but also to drive up the quality of new homes.

Rob Hudson, Chief Financial Officer, St. Modwen, said:

Our partnership with Homes England will enable us to bring forward our housing developments more quickly, providing much-needed housing across the country.

This investment from Homes England will enable St. Modwen Homes to more than double its housebuilding output by 2022.
One site set to benefit from new infrastructure funding from Homes England includes St. Modwen’s largest residential scheme, Kingsgrove, a new settlement which will total 1,500 homes, sports pitches, open green space and community allotments, located in the Oxfordshire town of Wantage. St. Modwen recently announced the sale of a 9.65-acre plot to CALA Homes which will deliver 174 homes for the scheme, with St. Modwen Homes currently delivering 70 new homes on site.
Contact details
For further information, please contact:
Sarah Tucker Homes England T: 020 7393 2261 E:
Kathryn Edwards/Matt Walker St. Modwen Properties PLC T: 0121 222 9400 E:
Notes to editors

Homes England is the new housing delivery organisation that has been created to adopt a more commercial approach to respond to the long term housing challenges facing this country. The new, expanded agency will play a far bigger role in investing in supply and intervening in the market to help deliver 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade. Homes England will act differently from its predecessor, bringing together money, land, expertise and planning and compulsory purchase powers to accelerate the supply of new homes and address affordability issues in areas of highest demand.

St. Modwen is a different kind of property partner, taking a different view. Thirty years’ experience as an expert developer and regeneration specialist, dealing with complex and challenging sites, has taught us to look at things differently, challenge the norm and create new and sustainable solutions to benefit all those involved. Today, we continue to unlock value and deliver quality outcomes across a wide range of activities, from regeneration to the long-term planning and development of commercial and residential assets, as well as active asset management.

In the 2017 Budget the Chancellor set out his plan to increase funding available through the Home Building Fund from £3 billion to £4.5 billion to support more new homes to be built in England. The revitalised fund will continue to support key marginal sectors like the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) developer market and will continue to be available nationally, although there will be an increased focus on investment in areas with the highest affordability pressures.

The loan – which comes from the Long-Term Home Building Fund – has an initial maturity of seven years which can be extended to a maximum of ten years, subject to Homes England’s consent.


MIL-OSI UK: EU Withdrawal Agreement: Government loses ‘contempt motion’ on publishing legal advice – Video

Source: British Parliament News (Video)

The House of Commons voted in favour of a motion finding Ministers in contempt for their failure to publish full legal advice concerning the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

The House of Commons voted 311 to 293 to approve the motion, finding Ministers in contempt and ordering the immediate publication of the full legal advice on the Brexit deal.


MIL-OSI UK: Durkan: Life expectancy still dependent upon your postcode

Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has said that a report showing continued disparity of life expectancy between local electoral wards highlight that much work is needed to ensure life expectancy is not dependent upon your postcode.

Mr Durkan commented:

“This report is evidence of the continued failure to address health inequalities. It is unacceptable, especially in a place as small as Northern Ireland, that we have such disparity in health outcomes on a postcode lottery basis.

“It must be emphasised that these figures in no way reflect the standard of healthcare delivered in particular places like the North West and areas of Belfast, rather the need that exists therein. This is not a failure of the health department or our Trusts but of Government or now lack of Government to address economic inequalities across the region.

“There must be increased efforts and investment in more deprived areas to create and support employment and improve economic performance and living standards. It is said that our health is our wealth. Conversely, lack of wealth is a clear factor in poor health and any City Deal or other initiative should have addressing these inequalities at their core.”


MIL-OSI UK: Alliance take McDonalds concerns to planning committee

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

Alliance take McDonalds concerns to planning committee

December 6, 2018 3:42 PM

East Belfast Alliance representatives will outline serious concerns over a planned new McDonalds at the Tesco Knocknagoney site at a Belfast planning meeting next week.

Councillor Peter McReynolds and Chris Lyttle MLA have been working closely with residents over the past few months and will appeal to planners to listen to the growing fears over the impact of the project on Tuesday night.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Councillor Peter McReynolds said, “the proposed two storey drive through restaurant risks putting further strain on an already congested area and would also have a serious impact on surrounding residents and Knocknagoney Primary School”.

“At the meeting, Chris Lyttle MLA, residents and I will present a range of concerns about this application which is regarded by many people as likely to result in a significant increase in vehicle congestion and a detrimental impact on the neighbouring residential area.

“Over the last year, Alliance has been approached by many residents in the area and raised their concerns direct with McDonald’s and the planning office. Concerns include litter, noise and air pollution and the need for an improved traffic impact assessment – meaning this application should be given greater scrutiny. I want the committee to call out to the site and to see the impact it will have on the area.

“Councillors should also consider whether the location would be consistent with the aim of the Belfast Agenda to promote healthy living and lifestyles for children and young people.”


MIL-OSI UK: New petition tackles parking problems in Bangor West

Source: Alliance – Northern Ireland

New petition tackles parking problems in Bangor West

December 6, 2018 3:17 PM

Local Alliance Party activists have unveiled a campaign set to target the on-going problem of parking in and around Bangor West Train Station.

Councillor Scott Wilson and local representative Connie Egan – who have both been revealed as Alliance candidates for the Bangor West area in next May’s Local Government election – have said the problem has gone on long enough, adding they are determined to see a park and ride installed to alleviate the pressure.

Connie, who lives near the station, stated “Bangor West is my home and I regularly see the issues caused by irresponsible parking. While most people park with consideration for others, unfortunately some commuters leave their cars places where they block line of sight at junctions or make it difficult for residents to exit their driveways.

“I was shocked to hear some of the reports from those who have witnessed accidents. I can’t help but feel a serious incident is inevitable unless something is done soon.

“One of the reasons I have put myself forward as a candidate for Council is to help with issues such as this. I hope our petition will show Translink the public desire is there, and adequate Park and Ride facilities are long overdue.”

Scott Wilson, who has been working on this issue for a number of years now, is hoping the petition will send out a clear message to Translink that Bangor must not be overlooked.

Councillor Wilson stated, “I get contacted regularly by frustrated residents regarding problem parking and the issue seems to be getting worse. I was not surprised at the level of support for our petition when we called door to door but I was shocked by some of the stories from residents.

“People pushing prams and wheelchair users often have to walk down the middle of the road and ambulances have been unable to get past due to lack of space left by parked cars. This a serious concern and people’s lives could be put at risk.

“The Department for Infrastructure have previously agreed to my requests to paint yellow lines in various places and this has helped reduce the danger in some areas. They don’t however want to extend these any further so as not to inconvenience residents who want to park outside their own house. The answer then must surely be to give these commuters somewhere else to park.”

“With a Park & Ride being planned for Newtownards I am extremely disappointed that Bangor seems to have been forgotten about. If you would like to help, please sign our petition at:


MIL-OSI UK: Ennis welcomes ‘whistle-to-ban’ gambling advert ban

Source: Sinn Féin

Ennis welcomes ‘whistle-to-ban’ gambling advert ban | Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin – On Your Side

6 December, 2018 – by Sinéad Ennis

Sinn Féin MLA Sinéad Ennis has welcomed an agreement between major gambling companies to stop betting advertising during live sports broadcasts.
The South Down MLA said:
“I welcome the deal between gambling companies for a ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on gambling advertising during live sports broadcasts. 
“Gambling advertisement plays a massive part in the growing rise of gambling addiction across society.  
“It’s a positive step that major gambling companies understand the dangers that can come from gambling advertisements given that many clubs are sponsored by gambling companies. 
“Sinn Féin have called for stricter legislation and regulations on all forms of gambling and gambling advertising. Addiction and it’s damaging impacts can affect everyone.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Mark Drakeford wins Welsh Labour leadership race

Source: Labour List UK

Mark Drakeford has won the Welsh Labour leadership election and will be the next First Minister in Wales.

The Corbynite, who was widely considered the frontrunner throughout the race, will replace Carwyn Jones after the incumbent steps down on Tuesday.

Drakeford was chosen by the Welsh Labour Party over Vaughan Gething, a Corbynsceptic, and Eluned Morgan, who secured her place on the ballot paper with a nomination from Jones.

First round results:

Mark Drakeford – 46.9%

Vaughan Gething – 30.8%

Eluned Morgan – 22.3%

Second round results:

Mark Drakeford – 53.9%

Vaughan Gething – 41.4%

In his acceptance speech, Drakeford said: “The choice that I believe has been made today is a choice for a Labour Party that is ambitious for a distinctive Wales in a successful United Kingdom.

“For a Labour Party here in Wales, which will do everything we can to make sure that we have a Labour government in Westminster to work with a Labour government here in Wales.”

The leadership contest was sparked by Jones’ announcement at Welsh Labour spring conference that he would resign by the end of the year.

His decision followed a tumultuous few months, as in November 2017 minister Carl Sargeant was found dead after being sacked over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

More to follow…

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