Whitehall briefing w/b 25/03/13

Thursday 28th March 2013

1155 – FCO – Foreign secretary William Hague has been revelling in his trip to central Africa with Angelina Jolie. The pair were busy highlighting the terrible human cost of warzone rape.

1108 – FCOUpdated travel advice has been issued for British nationals in Cyprus, where banks have now opened. There's also an underlying threat of terrorism. Furthermore: "Driving standards are poor. You should drive with great care."

1104 – HMRC – The taxman, always keen to increase the Treasury's revenues, is holding a webinar event at 1130 providing handy hints and advice to the self-employed. It's offering 'what you need to know'.

1032 – No 10 – The prime minister has implemented a mini-reshuffle, addressing tensions at DECC. John Hayes becomes a minister of state without portfolio, while BIS' Michael Fallon moves over to take on Hayes' old responsibilities as well as keeping his job with Vince Cable.

1017 – Treasury – The finance bill, which contains the Budget's policy changes, has been published.

0955 – FCO – Foreign Office minister David Lidington is getting jittery about the way Moscow is treating non-governmental organisations. The UK is officially fed up.

0834 – BIS – An oil and gas strategy has been unveiled, outlining the government's plan to "promote billions worth of new investment". UK oil and gas production is vital for energy security and to the economy, employing over 400,000 people.

Wednesday 27th March 2013 

1701 – DCLG – Housing Minister Mark Prisk has pledged to “up the pressure” on criminal landlords who trap vulnerable tenants in so-called ‘beds in sheds.’

1135 – Home Office – "This is not the end of the road. Government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada. We will consider the judgement on Abu Qatada carefully and plan to seek leave to appeal. In the meantime we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing Abu Qatada’s deportation."

1117 – NAO – The NAO believes a review of the New Homes Bonus scheme is essential to ensure the Department understands the substantial financial risks to local authorities. 

1113 – Cabinet Office – New cyber partnership launched to help government and industry share information and intelligence on cyber security threats.

0943 – HMRC – Tax cheats who become insolvent to dodge their companies’ tax obligations face up to five years’ scrutiny from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

0901 – DCLG – Eric Pickles writes in today's Daily Telegraph about planning.

0719 – DECC – The department has created an infographic showing the estimated average impact of energy and climate change policies on household energy bills in 2020.

Tuesday 26th March 2013

1602 – DfT – Patrick McLoughlin makes an oral statement to parliament about the refranchising programme and future of our railways. Read it here

1434 – Home Office – Home Secretary UK Border Agency Oral Statement: Read full statement on future of UKBA here

1425 – DfE – Michael Gove responds to today’s report by Durham University on university admissions. 

1402 – DECC – the Department for Energy and Climate Change publishes the Government's Heat Strategy and provides an update on the Renewable Heat Incentive.

1143 – MoD – The largest artillery piece in the UK, 1 of 12 surviving wartime railway howitzers in the world, is being moved for exhibition in Holland.

1128 – BIS – Wondering how nuclear energy  contributes to the environment? BIS made an infographic

1111 – HoC – Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, makes a statement on the response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, in the House of Commons.

1105 – BIS – Lord Green responds to the news today that the EU and Japan will hold talks for a Free Trade Agreement.

1047 – NAO – Police procurement report: Police forces in England and Wales could make savings by working together to improve their buying power for essential goods and services.

1047 – DECC – Government publishes industrial strategy to enable the UK to seize the opportunities for economic growth in the nuclear industry.

1011 – Defra – A £1.5million project to find Chalara-resistant ash trees has been announced by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

0831 – DoH – Government publishes initial response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Public Inquiry Report.

0705 – DfT – Department for Transport has signed a contract with Bristow Helicopters Ltd to provide search and rescue helicopter services in the UK.

0700 – MoD – A soldier who removed his helmet and body armour, under attack, to carry a stricken comrade to safety has been commended for his bravery.

0700 –  BIS – Latest guidance for UK businesses affected by the current situation in Cyprus, following Eurozone finance ministers' agreed package of measures, is available here

0700 – DfT – Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today unveils "long-term plans designed to drive improvements to rail services, deliver on major infrastructure projects, and put passengers at the heart of a revitalised rail franchising system."

Monday 25th March 2013

1747 – DCLG – A new approach to helping town centres adapt to the modern market began today, as a new forum met for the first time.

1656 – FCO – Foreign Secretary has called on all sides to show restraint and respect human rights in Central African Republic.

1632 – DfE – "The experts are not out there – they are here in this room": Charlie Taylor talks to outstanding headteachers about building a school-led system.

1550 – DfE – David Laws speaks at the ATL conference on the pupil premium.

1530 – HoC – Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, asked an urgent question in the House of Commons on Monday 25 March 2013, on the rights of immigrants to NHS treatments.

1524 – MOD – Philip Hammond announces the new Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft will be based at RAF Marham. The Lightning II is the most advanced jet UK forces have operated, and basing it in RAF Marham has secured the future of the base.

1354 – NAO – Public Accounts Committee hearing today on "Capital funding for new school places." 

1351 – DCLG – Tough new housing rules to control immigration: "fair play" for social housing and denying illegal migrants rented homes.

1331 – BIS – Lord Younger announces £150,000 of funding for new web site designed to make it easier for consumers to obtain information about copyright.

1313 – DfT – Government launches green paper to overhaul young driver rules as part of its attempt to improve safety while lowering insurance costs. 

1224 – PM – David Cameron to outline cross-government immigration system that "favours those who work hard to get on in life."

1141 – DEFRA – Thirteen communities across the country will benefit from a £5 million fund to come up with innovative projects that will better protect homes and businesses from the risk of flooding, Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced today.

1137 – BIS – Government backing of £30 million helps small construction businesses secure credit from B&Q and Screwfix via their TradeUK credit scheme. 

1117 – BIS – William Hague sends "warmest wishes" to Jewish communities as the festival of Pesach begins.

1107 – BIS – The government is going to publish improved guidance to make it easier for people to organise voluntary events in their communities.

0952 – BIS – Jo Swinson attended the Future of Social Enterprise event.

0916 – FCO – William Hague and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie call on the world to act to eradicate sexual violence in conflict.