Government announces measures to temporarily suspend minimum wage enforcement activity for social care sleep-in shift pay.
The government today (26 July 2017) announced it has temporarily suspended enforcement activity and is waiving historic financial penalties against employers concerning sleep-in shift pay in the social care sector.
Ministers have worked closely with the sector in response to concerns over the combined impact which financial penalties and arrears of wages could have on the stability and long-term viability of providers.
The exceptional measures announced today are intended to minimise disruption to the sector by recognising these unique pressures, and ensuring that workers receive wages they are owed.
Social care providers play a vital role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society and workers in that sector should be paid fairly for the important work they do. The government remains equally committed to making sure workers in this sector receive the minimum wage they are legally entitled to, including historic arrears.
The long-term stability and success of the social care sector is a priority and the government has already allocated an extra £2 billion of funding to the sector, including an extra £1 billion this year.
The government will continue to look at this issue extremely carefully alongside industry representatives to see whether any further support is needed and ensure that action taken to protect workers is fair and proportionate, while seeing how it might be possible to minimise any impact on social care provision.
The government today announced it will:
- waive historic financial penalties owed by employers who have underpaid their workers for overnight sleep-in shifts before 26 July 2017
- temporarily suspend HMRC enforcement activity concerning payment of sleep-in shifts by social care providers until 2 October 2017
Government reaffirmed its expectation that all employers pay their workers according to the law, including for sleep-in shifts, as set out in guidance entitled ‘Calculating the National Minimum Wage’.
Press release: Government announces additional support for social care providers
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Sir David Metcalf launches his introductory report on labour market enforcement.
Director of Labour Market Enforcement Sir David Metcalf today (25 July) warned rogue employers he would be consulting on how to make full use of powers to jail the worst offenders.
Sir David Metcalf was appointed in January 2017 to oversee a government crackdown on exploitation in the workplace by setting the strategic priorities for the government’s 3 enforcement agencies:
- HMRC’s National Minimum Wage (NMW) enforcement team
- the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)
- the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS)
Publishing his introductory report, Sir David said he would work with the government’s enforcement bodies to:
- better tackle illegal practices by implementing labour market enforcement undertakings and orders, which came into force in November 2016 and carry a maximum 2-year prison sentence for serious or repeat offences
- identify how best to ensure large employers’ supply chains do not breach labour market laws, particularly in the fashion, construction and cleaning sectors
- review the effectiveness of current labour market enforcement efforts
Over the coming months Sir David will consult business and worker representatives, industry bodies and enforcement action groups ahead of publishing his first full labour market enforcement strategy later this year.
New enforcement statistics also released today revealed the government identified record back pay for workers, with almost £11 million for 98,000 workers in 2016 to 2017.
Sir David said:
Tackling labour market abuses is an important priority for the government and I am encouraged it has committed record funds to cracking down on exploitation.
Over the coming months I will be working with government enforcement agencies and industry bodies to better identify and punish the most serious and repeat offenders taking advantage of vulnerable workers and honest businesses.
The report is published alongside this year’s National Minimum and Living Wage enforcement statistics. The figures show in 2016 to 2017 HMRC’s enforcement teams identified a record £10.9 million in back pay for 98,150 of the UK’s lowest paid workers – a 69% increase on those helped last year.
Businesses who failed to pay workers at least the legal minimum wage were also fined £3.9 million, with employers in hospitality and retail sectors among the most prolific offenders.
Business Minister Margot James said:
This government is firmly on the side of hard-working people and we are determined to stamp out any workplace exploitation, from minimum wage abuses to modern slavery.
While the majority of employers create a fair and safe environment for their workers, there are a small minority of rogue employers who break the law and we will use all enforcement measures at our disposal to crack down on labour market abuses.
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Sarah Newton said:
I welcome the director’s introductory report which recognises the importance of a collaborative approach across enforcement agencies.
I am pleased that we have extended the reach and budget of the GLAA as it will enable them to do even more, using new powers to search premises, seize evidence, and arrest those who mistreat workers.
The new powers are working, multiple arrests have already been made, including for modern slavery offences, and I am confident that GLAA officers will continue to disrupt the unscrupulous criminals who exploit the most vulnerable.
The report comes after Matthew Taylor published his independent review into modern employment practices to achieve “good quality work for all”. The government will study this review carefully over the summer and respond in detail later in the year.
Sir David will start consulting with stakeholders ahead of publishing his first full strategy later this year. To contribute please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press release: Director of Labour Market Enforcement warns rogue bosses of plans to use powers to jail worst offenders
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Business Secretary Greg Clark announces the launch of the £246 million Faraday Challenge to boost expertise in battery technology.
- Business Secretary announces first phase of its £246 million investment in battery technology as he launches Industrial Strategy’s landmark ‘Faraday Challenge’
- first phase includes launch of £45 million ‘Battery Institute’ competition to establish a centre for battery research to make technology more accessible and affordable
- Business Secretary to give keynote Industrial Strategy speech later today in Birmingham where he will also outline cutting-edge energy plans to break down barriers to new technologies and business models
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark will today (24 July 2017) announce in a keynote speech on the Industrial Strategy the launch of the first phase of a £246 million government investment into battery technology to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.
Known as the Faraday Challenge, the 4-year investment round is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy. It will deliver a coordinated programme of competitions that will aim to boost both the research and development of expertise in battery technology.
An overarching Faraday Challenge Advisory Board will be established to ensure the coherence and impact of the challenge. The board will be chaired by Professor Richard Parry-Jones, a senior engineering leader with many decades of senior automotive industry experience and recently chaired the UK Automotive Council for 6 years.
At a speech hosted by the Resolution Foundation in Birmingham, Greg Clark is expected to say on the need for an Industrial Strategy:
At its heart is a recognition that in order for all our citizens to be able to look forward with confidence to a prosperous future, we need to plan to improve our ability to earn that prosperity.
To enjoy a high and rising standard of living we must plan to be more productive than in the past.
Economists have pointed to what they have called a productivity puzzle in Britain. That we appear to generate less value for our efforts than, say, people in Germany or France. In other words, we have to work longer to get the same rewards.
It’s not that we want – or need – people to work longer hours. It’s that we need to ensure that we find and seize opportunities to work more productively – as a country, as cities and regions, as businesses and as individuals. If we can do so, we can increase the earning power of our country and our people.
We have great strengths. Our economy has been extraordinarily good at creating jobs. When we look at our closest neighbours, we can be truly proud of the fact almost everyone of working age in this country is in work and earning.
Greg Clark is expected to say on the government’s approach:
Our strategy will create the conditions that boost earning power throughout the country – its people, places and companies.
If every part of Britain is to prosper in the future we need to ensure that we have the right policies and institutions in place to drive the productivity – which is to say, the earning power – of the economy, and the people and places that make it up.
I want to thank all of the organisations across the UK for the formidable response to the consultation that we have undertaken on our green paper ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’. The response has been extraordinary.
Over 1,900 written responses – full, thoughtful and creative. From all parts of the United Kingdom; from new start-ups to big businesses; from organisations as diverse the Premier League to the Wellcome Trust and the Women’s Engineering Society.
Later in the year we will respond formally to the consultation with a white paper. But the shape of it is already becoming clear.
One of the strengths of an industrial strategy is to be able to bring together concerted effort on areas of opportunity that have previously been in different sectors, or which require joining forces between entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers, industries, and local and national government.
So as part of our I am today launching the Faraday Challenge, which will put £246 million into research, innovation and scale-up of battery technology.
The first element will be a competition led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a Battery Institute.
The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through industrial collaborations led by Innovate UK.
And the Advanced Propulsion Centre will work with the automotive sector to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.
The work that we do through the Faraday Challenge will – quite literally – power the automotive and energy revolution where, already, the UK is leading the world.
The Faraday Challenge’s competitions are divided into 3 streams – research, innovation and scale-up – designed to drive a step-change in translating the UK’s world-leading research into market-ready technology that ensures economic success for the UK:
- Research: To support world class research and training in battery materials, technologies and manufacturing processes, the government has opened a £45m competition, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to bring the best minds and facilities together to create a virtual Battery Institute. The successful consortium of universities will be responsible for undertaking research looking to address the key industrial challenges in this area.
- Innovation: The most promising research completed by the Institute will be moved closer to the market through collaborative research and development competitions, led by Innovate UK. The initial competitions will build on the best of current world-leading science already happening in the UK and helping make the technology more accessible for UK businesses.
- Scale-up: To further develop the real-world use and application of battery technology the government has opened a competition, led by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, to identify the best proposition for a new state-of-the-art open access National Battery Manufacturing Development facility.
Today’s announcement follows a review, commissioned as part of the Industrial Strategy green paper, by Sir Mark Walport in which he identified areas where the UK had strengths in battery technology and could benefit from linkage through this challenge fund.
The Faraday Challenge forms 1 of 6 key challenge areas that the government, together with business and academia, has identified through its flagship Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) as being one of the UK’s core industrial challenges, where research and innovation can help unlock markets and industries of the future in which the UK can become world-leading.
Ruth McKernan, Innovate UK Chief Executive said:
By any scale, the Faraday Challenge is a game changing investment in the UK and will make people around the globe take notice of what the UK is doing in terms of battery development for the automotive sector.
The competitions opening this week present huge opportunities for UK businesses, helping to generate further jobs and growth in the UK’s low carbon economy.
Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said:
Batteries will form a cornerstone of a low carbon economy, whether in cars, aircraft, consumer electronics, district or grid storage. To deliver the UK’s low carbon economy we must consolidate and grow our capabilities in novel battery technology. EPSRC’s previous research investments mean we are in a world-leading position.
The Faraday Challenge is a new way of working. It will bring together the best minds in the field, draw on others from different disciplines, and link intimately with industry, innovators and other funders, such as InnovateUK, to ensure we maintain that our world leading position and keep the pipeline of fundamental science to innovation flowing.
Richard Parry-Jones, newly appointed Chair of the Faraday Challenge Advisory Board said:
The power of the Faraday Challenge derives from the joining-up of all 3 stages of research from the brilliant research in the university base, through innovation in commercial applications to scaling up for production. It will focus our best minds on the critical industrial challenges that are needed to establish the UK as one of the world leaders in advanced battery technologies and associated manufacturing capability.
In April, the government announced £1 billion of investment through the fund in cutting-edge technologies to create jobs and raise living standards. Other areas receiving government support through the ISCF in 2017 to 2018 include cutting edge healthcare and medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence, and satellite and space technology.
Richard Scudamore, Premier League Executive Chairman, welcomes the opportunity for business to work with government to shape policy:
Even economically successful sectors could contribute more to the UK’s economic growth in the right public policy environment, especially as we approach Brexit. Elite sport is one of the UK’s great international success stories but its economic impact has often been under-estimated. That is why the Premier League welcomes the Industrial Strategy as an important opportunity for enterprises like us to help shape government policy.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) welcomes the government’s commitment to a modern Industrial Strategy:
We are pleased to see the government recognising the importance of scientific research as part of the Industrial Strategy. This research has not only boosted the UK economy but has also led to the development of treatments and technologies that have transformed millions of lives around the world.
Medical research charities play a particularly important part in this success: the BHF funds more than half the UK’s independent research into heart and circulatory diseases. We look forward to continuing to work with government to deliver an Industrial Strategy that supports world-leading research that improves the lives of patients across the UK and globally.
The Business Secretary will also be confirming today the launch of the third Connected Autonomous Vehicles research and development competition, with £25 million of funding being made available to new projects.
For the first time the government is making funding available to off-road driverless innovation, with investments earmarked for cutting-edge projects that will grow the commercial potential of off-road driverless technology and develop technologies that will increase productivity and improve mobility in a range of sectors including construction, farming and mining.
Government has already invested more than £100 million of research and development funding in over 50 connected and autonomous vehicle projects across the country to help UK businesses and Universities take advantage of the huge commercial opportunities in this area.
Press release: Business Secretary to establish UK as world leader in battery technology as part of modern Industrial Strategy
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Government and Ofgem set out plan to upgrade energy system, putting consumers in control.
A plan to give homes and businesses more control over their energy use and support innovative new technologies, as part of the Industrial Strategy, was set out by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark today (24 July 2017).
The innovative plan will transform how homes and businesses store and use energy. It will deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system by removing barriers to smart and battery technology, reducing costs for consumers. The report, ‘Upgrading our energy system’ describes how the UK energy system is changing and how it can ensure economic benefits for businesses and households. Over a quarter of the UK’s electricity is being generated through renewables such as wind and solar, much of it located close to homes and businesses. New technologies that help store and manage energy are emerging and the costs are falling.
These changes provide an opportunity to create new businesses and jobs in the UK. At the same time new smart technologies like smart meters – and appliances you can control from your mobile phone – along with other improvements to manage the energy system will help the country save up to £40 billion on energy costs over decades to come.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:
Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy. A smarter energy system will create opportunities to reduce energy costs, increase productivity and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world.
By rolling out smart meters, enabling suppliers to offer lower tariffs and making it easier for firms to develop smart appliances and gadgets, the plan will help consumers use energy when it is cheapest or get rewarded for returning it to the grid when it is needed.
The plan also recognises the role that energy storage can play in a smart energy grid and the opportunities presented by falling costs of battery technologies designed to store surplus energy. To allow industry to exploit these new technologies government and Ofgem have committed to removing barriers to the introduction of this technology into our power network.
Andrew Wright, Senior Partner, Energy Systems, Ofgem, said:
The way we are generating and using energy in Britain is changing rapidly. Today’s plan sets out how Ofgem, government and the industry will work together to modernise the energy system and make sure consumers get the benefits of the changes.
We want to open the door to new technologies and services so that they can help to reduce bills for consumers in the long term. It is vital that we get the changes in place as there is potential for a smarter system to save consumers billions between now and 2050.
The plan will also make it easier for new businesses to help customers that are interested in reducing, or increasing, their energy use at certain times, which can help balance the calls on the electricity network.
As part of the Industrial Strategy, the government has committed to modernising the UK’s energy system and developing a business environment where new entrants to the market can compete. This will also allow industry to develop innovative new products and services, creating thousands of jobs.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said:
Upgrading our energy systems is vital if we are to have clean, affordable and secure supply for the long-term and meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions.
This plan is a clear step forward, and was one of the 12 key infrastructure decisions we said needed to be made as a matter of urgency. I’m particularly pleased that many of the 29 points listed today directly follow recommendations in our Smart Power report.
Our study demonstrated the revolution our energy sector is going through, and the real benefits we can get from that in terms of greater efficiency, flexibility and value for money for customers. The measures announced today will lead to exciting innovations in the industry to help make that happen.
The full implementation of the plan to move to a smarter energy system alongside other changes could help save the country up to £40 billion over the coming decades, according to research conducted for BEIS by Imperial College and the Carbon Trust..
British company Moixa offers residential battery systems which can help manage energy demands across the electricity network, make better use of energy generated by rooftop solar panels, and enable suppliers to reward consumers who charge their batteries during periods of low demand, when prices are lower. These systems have been deployed in nearly 1,000 homes across the UK, and Moixa calculate that they could help consumers save up to 60% on their electricity bills.
Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa Energy Holdings said:
Moixa welcomes this plan which recognises the central importance of energy storage in upgrading the UK Energy System – and the potential to save £40 billion off future customer bills. The regulatory improvements proposed and Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will help storage providers like Moixa participate better in energy markets, and enable our Utility partners to deliver smart tariffs to customers. The actions will make the UK a global leader for new smart technologies and accelerate the transition to a cost-effective, resilient and low carbon energy system.
Press release: Plan launched to bring smart energy technology into homes and businesses
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Margot James appoints 5 new members to the Tribunal’s panel of ordinary members.
Today (20 July 2017), the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Margot James MP, has appointed 5 new members to the panel of ordinary members of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the Tribunal).
The Tribunal is a specialist judicial body with expertise in law, economics, business and accountancy. Its function is to hear and decide appeals and other applications or claims involving competition or economic regulatory issues.
The new members are:
- Mr Peter Anderson
- Ms Kirstin Baker CBE
- Mr Eamonn Doran
- Mr Paul Lomas
- Professor Anthony Neuberger
Notes to editors
Ordinary members are selected for their expertise in law, business, accountancy, economics and other related fields. Prior to the making of these appointments, the Tribunal’s panel of ordinary members consisted of 21 members (11 of whose terms of appointment end on 3 January 2019).
The new members are appointed for 8 years and paid according to the amount of time that they spend working for the Tribunal, based on a daily rate, currently £400. The appointments carry no right of pension, gratuity or allowance on their termination. The appointments announced today will commence on 1 October 2017.
All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity to be made public. None of the new members are politically active.
Although these appointments do not come within the remit of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA), they have been made following OCPA best practice.
The Tribunal is a specialist judicial body with cross-disciplinary expertise in law, economics, business and accountancy. It consists of the President and Chairmen, who are appointed by the Lord Chancellor, and the panel of ordinary members. Cases are heard before a Tribunal consisting of 3 members: either the President or a member of the panel of Chairmen and 2 ordinary members.
Support staff and functions to the Tribunal are provided by the Competition Service (CS). The CS has 17 members of staff and it is headed by the Registrar, who is appointed by the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
About the new members
Peter Anderson has been a solicitor in Scotland since 1975 and a Solicitor Advocate in Scotland since 1994. He was a partner in Simpson & Marwick, Solicitors, Scotland from 1978 and since the firm merged with Clyde & Co Solicitors, a partner there since 2015. He has over 40 years’ experience in general insurance work, specialising in complex and high value personal injury claims, professional negligence, commercial litigation and aviation disputes. He has lengthy experience as Chairman and Managing Partner of a sizeable law firm.
Kirstin Baker CBE
Kirstin Baker had a long career in the civil service and was most recently HM Treasury’s Finance and Commercial Director. Earlier in her career, she led the Treasury team coordinating public spending policy and managed many of the Treasury’s interventions in individual banks in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Kirstin has also worked as a competition official in the European Commission, as an EU policy advisor in the Cabinet Office and as a senior civil servant in the Scottish government, leading work on infrastructure investment. Kirstin holds non-executive positions on the boards of UK Financial Investments, The Pensions Regulator and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust. She is also vice-chair of the Council of Sussex University. Kirstin is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. She was awarded a CBE in 2011 for her work during the financial crisis
Eamonn Doran is a solicitor who has worked at Linklaters LLP since 1986, latterly as a partner, becoming a partner consultant in 2014. He specialised in EU and UK competition law with particular experience of inquiries concerning retail banking and financial services and was head of the London competition group from 2009. He also has experience of the education and charity sectors including, since 2013, as a director of the Laurels School Limited and a trustee of Missio, a Catholic mission charity.
Paul Lomas is a solicitor (with Higher Rights of Audience). He has been with Freshfields (subsequently Freshfields Bruckahaus Deringer) since 1982 and a partner from 1990. His experience includes general litigation, including commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, joint ventures, a wide range of regulatory litigation and defence work, financial services law, energy law, art law and, particularly competition, cartel and EU law.
Professor Anthony Neuberger
Anthony Neuberger is currently Professor of Finance at Cass Business School at the City University of London where, since 2016, he has also been the Deputy Head of the Finance Faculty. He was previously at the University of Warwick as Professor of Finance and the London Business School as Associate Professor of Finance. He also has experience of working for the Department of Energy and the Cabinet Office between 1973 and 1983.
Press release: Minister appoints new Competition Appeal Tribunal members
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Employed parents who have lost a child will for the first time get statutory paid leave to grieve under a proposed new law announced today.
- Bill delivers on government’s promise to ensure ‘bereavement support’ for employees
- Kevin Hollinrake MP, introduces government-supported Bill in Parliament today
For the first time, parents who are employed and have suffered the death of a child would receive statutory paid leave to grieve, under a new law being supported by the government and introduced to Parliament today (19 July).
The government expects employers to be compassionate and flexible at such a difficult time, but not all employers will respond in this way. This can have a devastating impact on parents, especially those who need time away to grieve.
The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill will seek to ensure grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to grieve away from the workplace, delivering on the government’s pledge to “enhance rights and protections in the workplace”. Currently there is no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents.
Today Kevin Hollinrake MP introduced the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill into Parliament.
Kevin Hollinrake MP sponsor said:
This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times. There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.
I have represented a number of constituents who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a child and I am honoured to be able to do something to help parents in these desperate circumstances.
Business Minister Margot James said:
The loss of a child is a traumatic experience for any parent. For parents holding down a job at the same time as dealing with their grief it can be doubly stressful.
We want parents to get the support they need at this deeply upsetting time that is why government is supporting this Private Members Bill which will introduce statutory paid bereavement leave for employed parents.
Over the summer, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be working with employers, employee representatives and campaigners on behalf of working families to understand better the needs of bereaved parents and employers.
The Bill is expected to have its second reading in the autumn.
Notes to editors
- Currently under the Employment Rights Act, employees have a day-one right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following the death of a dependant. What is “reasonable” depends on the circumstances but in practice the length of time off will be agreed between the employer and their employee.
- In the unlikely event that employee and employer can’t agree what is ‘reasonable’, this can be resolved through Acas or an employment tribunal.
- Acas has also published good practice guidance for employers on managing bereavement in the workplace.
Press release: Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill introduced today
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The Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety has set out its recommendations for improving the UK’s product safety system.
Established in October 2016 by Consumer Minister Margot James, the group consisting of product and fire safety experts was brought together to explore and build on the recommendations made by Lynn Faulds Wood in her independent review into consumer product recalls.
Led by Chief Executive of the Institution of Fire Engineers and former deputy Chief Fire Officer Neil Gibbins, the group provided interim recommendations in December 2016 and embarked on a programme of work to improve the recall system. The minister received their report in April, which outlined progress made by the Working Group in the past 6 months.
Since Lynn Faulds Wood’s report into product safety was published in February 2016, a number of her recommendations and further actions have already been taken forward, including:
- considering the framework for a national body to support consumers on product safety
- updating the government’s product recall page, ‘Acting on Product Safety’, to provide a one stop shop for recall information across a number of products, including electrical appliances, vehicles and food
- tasking the working group with considering a new standard on recalls, which they are taking forward with the British Standards Institution
- undertaking behavioural insights research with the working group to understand how to increase the impact and effectiveness of product safety messages
The working group’s recommendations include:
- setting up a central scientific and technical resource, to help support effective decision making of government, businesses and enforcers, and co-ordinate national corrective action and recall programmes
- working with BSI to create a Code of Practice for businesses and regulators – informed by behavioural insights research – to set out best practice for undertaking and evaluating corrective action and recalls of products
- improving the way product-related accident and fire data is gathered and used to better understand risks
- establishing effective arrangements between trading standards and electrical goods manufacturers through Primary Authority, to strengthen compliance and recalls
Consumer Minister Margot James said:
Everyone deserves to know that the products in their homes are safe to use, and that there is a robust system in place if they need to be repaired or replaced. The government has already taken forward a number of proposals suggested in Lynn Faulds Wood independent review and the working group report builds on that.
I gave the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety an ambitious task – to explore and progress recommendations for improving product safety within 6 months. Under Neil Gibbins’ leadership, the group has made impressive steps which we are already taking forward, for example considering the framework for a national body to support consumers on product safety.
Chair of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety, CEO of The Institution of Fire Engineers and former deputy Chief Fire Officer Neil Gibbins said:
Since starting my career in the fire service almost 40 years ago, it has been my personal mission to help reduce fires and other risks. I am confident that the recommendations in this report and the progress we have already made can help improve the UK’s product safety regime.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with the minister and the working group members, to deliver outcomes that will make a difference.
The government will continue to work closely with the working group in taking forward its workplan to strengthen the product safety system and will be formally responding in the Autumn.
Press release: Working group report demonstrates progress on product safety
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The first statutory review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) was published today.
Small Business Minister Margot James has welcomed a positive relationship change between supermarkets and their suppliers, as she publishes the first statutory review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) today (19 July 2017).
The review, which considered independent findings from YouGov alongside responses from trade associations, supermarkets and suppliers, found that the GCA, Christine Tacon CBE, has been effective in exercising her powers and enforcing the Groceries Code. Suppliers reported a positive change in their relationship with large retailers, as well as a major reduction in unfair trading practices. The number of suppliers who complained about being charged to remain on supermarkets’ supplier lists fell from 30% to 9% between 2014 and 2016, while problems with incorrect deductions from invoices fell from 47% to 30% over the same period.
A number of respondents praised Ms Tacon personally, with one citing her “wealth of knowledge and skills”. Another commented that she “holds an in-depth knowledge of the sector that is hugely beneficial.
Small Business Minister Margot James said:
This review highlights the excellent work of the Groceries Code Adjudicator over the past 3 years. It is vital that government and the GCA continue working together to prevent unfair treatment of smaller suppliers.
Poor supply chain practices have no place in an economy that works for all, and I want to thank Christine for her achievements in levelling the playing field and ensuring fair treatment of suppliers and retailers alike.
Notes to editors
- Established in 2013, the Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, is the UK’s first adjudicator of the groceries industry, overseeing the relationship between the 10 largest supermarket chains and their suppliers.
- In June 2017 Ms Tacon was reappointed for a second term in the role, in which she is responsible for ensuring large supermarkets treat their direct suppliers fairly and lawfully.
Press release: Groceries Code review notes significant cultural change in supermarket industry
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The Prime Minister’s independent reviewer on modern employment practices, Matthew Taylor, has published his 7 principles to achieve “good quality work for all”.
In a central London speech, alongside the Prime Minister and Business Secretary Greg Clark, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, set out his blueprint for a UK economy that truly works for everyone, creating more skilled, well-paid jobs to boost the nation’s earning power and productivity.
Matthew Taylor, who was commissioned last year by the Prime Minister to carry out this review called for a fresh look to be taken at employment laws to make it easier for workers to understand and access their rights.
Matthew Taylor said:
Our national performance on the quantity of work is strong. But quantity alone is not enough for a thriving economy and fair society. We believe now is the time to complement that commitment to creating jobs with the goal of creating better jobs.
The Review calls on the government to adopt the ambition that all work should be fair and decent with scope for fulfilment and development.
Despite the impact of the National Living Wage and tax credits, there will always be people who are in work but finding it hard to make ends meet. Our social contract with those people should include dignity at work and the realistic scope to progress in the labour market.
Bad work – insecure, exploitative, controlling – is bad for health and wellbeing, something that generates cost for vulnerable individuals but also for wider society.
As many business leaders recognise, low quality work and weak management is implicated in our productivity challenge. Improving the quality of work should be an important part of our productivity strategy.
Technology – like robotics and machine learning – is going to have a big impact on jobs and the tasks that make up those jobs. As we seize these technological opportunities – as we must – we should do so with the aim of making working lives better, taking away the drudgery and leaving the human contact and creativity that machines can’t provide.
If we want citizens who are engaged, responsible, active, who – to coin a phrase – ‘take back control’ we should encourage those same virtues in the workplace. Our idea of what it is to be a respected citizen should not stop at the office or factory door.
Prime Minister Theresa May launched the Taylor Review in a speech at the Royal Society of Arts.
The government will now be engaging with stakeholders across the country, including those who represent employers and employees, to understand their views ahead of publishing a full government response later in the year.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said:
We have record numbers of people in work thanks to our flexible labour market.
Being in work is important but people also deserve to be treated fairly by their employers whatever work they are carrying out.
I’d like to thank Matthew Taylor and his expert panel for conducting such a thorough and detailed review. We will be engaging people and organisations across the country to continue this important debate.
Through our Industrial Strategy, we will make sure wherever people are in the country, there are more skilled, well-paid jobs to increase productivity and earning power, benefiting both workers and business.
Read the review ‘Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices’
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Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson underlined the government’s commitment to the UK space sector today as he visited the future site of a new £100m state-of-the-art government-funded satellite facility.
- £99m of government funding for a National Satellite Testing Facility on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire
- additional £4m announced for a National Space Propulsion Facility to develop and test space engines
- space sector forms a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to spread economic growth across the UK
The £100m package includes £99m of Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment to create a National Satellite Testing Facility (NSTF) on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, alongside a £4m investment for a new National Space Propulsion Facility to develop and test space engines at Wescott Venture Park in Buckinghamshire.
Part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, the significant funding boost will enable UK industry to competitively bid for more national and international contracts and ensure we remain a world-leader for space technologies for decades to come.
Visiting the UK Space Gateway on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, where the NSTF will be based, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
“From Cornwall to the Highlands and islands of Scotland, the UK space sector underpins industries worth more than £250 billion to the UK economy, and through our Industrial Strategy we will unlock the sector’s potential to grow further.
“Located in a cluster known for research excellence, these new facilities will help UK companies be more competitive in the global market for space technology and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”
Due to open in early 2020, the new NSTF will be a world-class facility for the assembly, integration and testing of space instruments and satellites, positioning the UK to capitalise on the estimated 3,500 -10,000 satellites that are due to be launched by 2025. It will also facilitate the build of bigger and more technologically advanced satellites and remove the need for UK companies to use test facilities located abroad.
The NSPF will allow companies and academia to test and develop space propulsion engines, alongside a new facility for Reaction Engines where the revolutionary SABRE air-breathing rocket engine will also be tested and built.
Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:
This investment will enhance the capability of the UK space industry. Having access to a National Satellite Testing Facility will help companies develop and encourage new business to come the UK, while the development of new facilities at Westcott builds on what is already a world-class UK space propulsion sector.
Dr Brian Bowsher, Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said:
STFC’s RAL Space team has been chosen as the delivery organisation for this investment and our staff will be responsible for the definition, design, building, fit out and operation of the facility. This is fantastic recognition of the strong reputation we have in the UK and overseas as the go-to team for the assembly, integration and testing of the incredibly complex and unique engineering involved in space payloads and satellites.