Press release: IPO publishes research priorities for 2015/2016

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has today published its research priorities for 2015/16. The research priorities provide the strong evidence base needed to support development of intellectual property (IP) policy, nationally and internationally.

This rolling programme of research looks to build on the existing evidence base and support future development of policy across all IP rights and the IPO’s objective of creating a balanced IP framework.

The new research priorities will look to deliver projects around three themes:

  • enforcement and infringement
  • IP, innovation and growth
  • the value of IP

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

Our understanding of the economic benefits of IP is growing year on year. The UK’s future economic success lies in innovative businesses recognising and valuing their intangible assets.

The IPO’s work in delivering a robust IP system is integral to that success and is down to the sterling work of the IPO and its development of an IP system that supports business. These priorities help us understand how a well-functioning IP system can build business confidence to invest in innovative ideas to capture new markets, generate income and increase returns on their investments.

Pippa Hall, Chief Economist, IPO said:

I am excited to announce the publication of the IPO’s new research priorities for 2015-2016. Our excellent Economics team commissions a wide range of IP-related research to build the economic evidence base. This evidence is key to the Government’s policy discussions on IP and innovation at home and overseas.

The IPO are very fortunate to work with a variety of renowned and committed researchers, both UK and international academics and consultants. Additionally, our research is discussed and peer reviewed by our industry stakeholders, academics, colleagues at the IPO and other government departments.

IPO research is well respected by economists around the world and is often cited as world class.

Notes to Editors

  1. The full report is available.

  2. The IPO is located within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of intellectual property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

  3. The IPO’s role is to help manage an intellectual property system that:
    • encourages innovation and creativity
    • balances the needs of consumers and users
    • promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy

  4. The IPO operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to intellectual property to which the United Kingdom is a party.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ipo-publishes-research-priorities-for-20152016

Press release: Ceri Witchard appointed as Regulator of Community Interest Companies

Ceri Witchard has been appointed as the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced today (8 September 2015).

Ms Witchard will leave her post as Deputy Director for Innovation at the Intellectual Property Office, taking over from the current Regulator, Sara Burgess.

Welcoming the appointment, Business Minister Baroness Neville Rolfe said:

Ceri Witchard brings a wealth of experience to the role of Regulator of Community Interest Companies and will play a vital role in supporting the set-up and development of Community Interest Companies. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sara Burgess for her work and commitment to the role and wish her well for the future.

On her appointment, Ceri Witchard said:

I am delighted to be taking on the role of Regulator of Community Interest Companies at such an exciting time. CICs are a vital part of the UK economy, delivering both economic growth and community support. I look forward to supporting the sector as it continues to grow.

The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies decides whether an organisation is eligible to become, or continue to be, a community interest company. It is responsible for investigating complaints – taking action if necessary – and it provides guidance and assistance to help people set up CICs.

Notes to editors

  1. Ceri Witchard will formally become the Regulator on 14 September 2015 and will hold the post in tandem with the role of Director of Strategy at Companies House.
  2. The Regulator of Community Interest Companies is a part-time post supported by staff from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is based in Companies House, Cardiff.
  3. The term of office for the Regulator of Community Interest Companies must not exceed 5 years.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ceri-witchard-appointed-as-regulator-of-community-interest-companies

Speech: It can happen again: the danger of rising anti-Semitism

“It happened, therefore it can happen again.”

Primo Levi’s words capture with an almost beautiful simplicity the central lesson of the Shoah…

…so much so that they are carved into the subterranean walls of Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Yet today, more than 70 years since the liberation of the death camps, both the Holocaust and Levi’s warning are slipping to the fringes of living memory.

Now more than ever we cannot allow that to happen.

Because in 2015 history is beginning to repeat itself.

Across Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise.

It’s easy to dismiss.

To see ‘liars’ painted across an advert for a Holocaust Memorial event, and say it’s just petty vandalism.

Or to hear Dutch football fans chanting “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” and say it’s just a few bad apples.

Or to see a Rabbi being chased through Gateshead by a gang and say it’s an isolated incident.

To do so ignores the grim reality.

In the past 3 years Jewish schools, shops, museums and places of worship have been attacked by gunmen in Toulouse…

… in Paris…
… in Brussels…
… and in Copenhagen.

In civilised Western Europe, in the 21st century, Jews are once again being murdered simply for being Jews.

But mass murder is not the beginning of the process.

It never is.

The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Indiscriminate killing is simply where hatred, left unchecked, reaches its tragic conclusion.

The Holocaust began with nothing more than words.

Then came the insults, boycotts, discrimination.

The noxious weed of anti-Semitism crept insidiously into everyday life…

… degrading, denouncing and dehumanising its victims…

…until the stage was set for violence, oppression and finally murder on a scale unprecedented before or since.

That steady escalation meant that the 6 million individuals who died were not the only victims of the Holocaust.

Countless more were forced from their homes…

…abandoning everything they owned…

often leaving family members behind as they desperately sought a friendly harbour in desperately unfriendly times.

Many found that harbour in Britain.

For that we have to thank people like Sir Nicholas Winton.

In 1939, as darkness descended across Europe, he organised the rescue of 669 Czech children as part of the Kindertransport.

Today, there are literally thousands of people – the children and their descendants – who can say they owe their lives to him.

Sir Nicholas died earlier this year at the age of 106.

But his daughter Barbara is here this evening, along with 2 of the children he brought to the UK.

Barbara, I know your father was a reluctant hero.

But a hero he truly was.

He deserves our eternal gratitude.

Anyone who fled murderous extremism 75 years ago will find the refugee crisis we face today depressingly familiar.

Despite what some say, ISIL are not the Nazis.

What we’re seeing in Syria is not genocide or a Holocaust.

But when we see armed police herd refugees onto a train, telling them they’re heading for a new life when in fact they’re on their way to a detention camp…

When we see the shutters come down and the ‘we’re full’ signs go up…

It’s a chilling reminder of what happens when we forget the recent past.

Of the lack of empathy, education and awareness of history that allows such scenes to unfold in modern Europe.

Of how easily and quickly we forget what went before.

A migrant leaves their home in search of a better one.

A refugee has no home to go to.

And it is incumbent upon those of us who are more fortunate to offer such men, women and children the safe haven they desperately need and they truly deserve.

If we look the other way, if we say it’s nothing to do with us, if we say a refugee’s not welcome here because of his or her religion…

Well, then we are no better than those who tried to bar the door against Jewish refugees two generations ago…

… and we have failed to learn the lesson that Levi so clearly set out.

That it happened, and therefore it can happen again.

That is why, this afternoon, the Prime Minister set out our immediate steps to tackle the current crisis.

But we also need to tackle the root of the problem, the often violent extremism that is on the rise around the world.

And I’m not just talking about the butchers of ISIL or Al Qaeda, thousands of miles away in foreign lands.

There’s plenty of intolerance much closer to home, intolerance that is disproportionately directed at the Jewish community.

Some is explicit.

The hate preachers, the extremist mosques, the far-Right groups.

Some is more oblique.

A search on Google produces more than half a million hits for ‘Holocaust Hoax’.

Thousands more pages will tell you that a greedy Otto Frank forged his daughter’s diary in a cunning scheme to make money.

Then there are the ‘dinner party anti-Semites’.

Respectable, middle-class people who would recoil in horror if you accused them of racism…

…but are quite happy to repeat modern takes on age-old myths and slanders about Jews.

Who can’t condemn the murder of Jewish children in France without a caveat criticising the Israeli government.

Who demand that a Jewish American artist sign a declaration of support for Palestine if he wants to perform at a festival in Spain.

I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a Jewish friend or colleague who hasn’t, at some point, found themselves sitting awkwardly at a dinner party…

… while a fellow guest railed against the international ‘Kosher Conspiracy’.

Together, these attitudes create a climate in which anti-Semitism is seen as ‘less bad’ than other forms of discrimination.

And in that climate, the most violent extremism can take root and it can thrive.

It happened, therefore it can happen again.

But there is hope in the darkness.

Those ideas can be challenged.

Those minds can be changed.

The climate of intolerance can be turned on its head.

And for 27 years that is exactly what the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) has been doing.

In schools, in the media, in the streets, HET helps us not just to remember the past but, just as importantly, to learn from it.

I’ve long been a supporter of your work…

…and in 2011 I got a new appreciation for what you do when I accompanied a group of students from Bromsgrove on a Lessons from Auschwitz visit.

I’d read about the Shoah.

But nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I visited that bleak, forbidding place in person.

Nothing will erase from my mind the sight of battered suitcases still bearing nametags.

Of thousands upon thousands of shoes stolen from the feet of murdered men, women and tiny children.

Everyone who joined me on that visit took something different from it, but none of us will ever forget what we learned there.

And nor will we stop sharing it with the world.

Lessons from Auschwitz is a powerful and necessary programme.

It was rightly supported by the Labour government, and by the Coalition government.

And I’m proud to say that it will continue to be supported by the Conservative government.

There are too many good people involved with the Holocaust Educational Trust to pay tribute to you all.

But I do want to thank Poju Zabludowicz for hosting this dinner.

Because of Poju’s generosity, every penny raised tonight will go direct to the trust’s vital educational work.

So there are no excuses, give generously!

But most of all, let me salute the trust’s team of Holocaust survivors, more than 40 of whom are with us today.

You witnessed humanity at its very worst.

But you represent it at its very best.

By standing up and sharing your experiences, you honour the memory of generations past and make the world safer for generations to come.

By showing us where hatred leads, you can stop it in its tracks.

So on behalf of everyone here tonight and everyone who has benefited from your selfless work, thank you.

That applause was richly deserved.

But it doesn’t quite seem adequate.

After everything you’ve been through, a politician standing here once a year and saying ‘good work, keep it up’; it really isn’t enough.

That’s why the Prime Minister set up the Holocaust Commission 18 months ago.

And let me just thank the Chief Rabbi, who I know is here tonight, for his work on that Commission.

And another member was Sir Peter Bazalgette who is now the man tasked with chairing the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

The work of the Foundation to establish a National Memorial and Learning Centre will be vital…

… in ensuring we always remember the people and communities that were lost to us.

So huge thanks to Baz for all his work on the project so far.

But what really excites me about this work is the way it will support us to do even more to educate people across the country.

Because buildings and memorials are not enough – we also need to change the way people think and act.

Ella Lingens-Rainer was an Austrian doctor, a Gentile, who courageously worked to save Jews while she herself was detained in Auschwitz.

And, after the war, when Ella was asked why she had risked so much to protect complete strangers, her explanation was very simple.

“The people who ordered and implemented these horrible deeds were not so many,” she said.

“But infinitely many others let it happen, because they lacked the courage to prevent them.

“They withdrew with a sigh claiming that ‘there is nothing we can do’, even in those cases when something could be done.”

Seventy years later, we cannot afford to withdraw with a sigh.

We cannot lack the courage to stand up, together, and say that we will not tolerate intolerance.

So tonight I call on every decent Briton, whether you’re of any faith or none, to join us all in the fight against extremism and anti-Semitism.

And I call on everyone here today to support the Holocaust Educational Trust, and to give the memory of the Holocaust a place within your walls.

Because it happened.

And it falls to us to see that it never happens again.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/it-can-happen-again-the-danger-of-rising-anti-semitism

Press release: £775,000 boost for re-use and recycling of old electricals

Local councils are being urged to bid for support from a new scheme to help increase the collection, re-use and recycling of unwanted electrical items.

Up to £775,000 has been made available by retailers, suppliers and manufacturers of electrical equipment as part of the Distributor Take-back Scheme and the WEEE Compliance Fee.

Single project bids of up to £40,000 are sought from individual local authorities, with up to £100,000 available for consortia bids.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

We have around £1 billion worth of electrical equipment in our homes which we no longer use but which still has real value.

This business-led fund can help drive up levels of collection, re-use and recycling of unwanted electrical equipment. The fund will also help divert electrical waste from landfill and reduce waste by promoting the re-use of electrical appliances.

All project proposals must be submitted to weee@bis.gsi.gov.uk by 30 October 2015 and endorsed by the appropriate waste disposal authority.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) was approved by BIS as an alternative to in-store take-back for retailers and distance-sellers to discharge some of their obligations under the UK WEEE Regulations to ensure arrangements for customers to recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment. The DTS will contribute up to £400,000 to these WEEE improvement projects.
  2. The WEEE Compliance Fee (WCF) was approved by BIS under the UK WEEE Regulations as a means for producer compliance schemes (PCSs) to discharge some of their obligations on behalf of producers of electrical equipment as an alternative to directly collecting WEEE. The WCF will contribute up to £375,000 to these WEEE improvement projects.
  3. The schemes are approved by BIS but are independently administered.
  4. Guidance notes and application forms can be downloaded from either:

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/775000-boost-for-re-use-and-recycling-of-old-electricals

News story: Major maritime report launched as London International Shipping Week gets underway

A major report examining how to maximise Britain’s potential as a maritime nation is published today, (7 September 2015), marking the first day of London International Shipping Week 2015.

The study led by Lord Mountevans, Chairman of Maritime UK, examined how Britain can build on the success of an industry that contributes at least £11 billion to the UK economy annually and supports more than 113,000 jobs and 6,600 businesses.

Recommendations in the study include:

  • the establishment of a ministerial working group in government to drive forward action on maritime issues, set clear targets and monitor progress
  • creating a new standalone unit within the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to focus on attracting more ships to be British registered and fly the Red Ensign
  • government and industry to develop a joint strategy to identify skills gaps and increase apprenticeships i‎n the UK maritime sector and increase apprenticeships
  • the creation of a single industry body to promote the UK maritime sector to international markets

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

London International Shipping Week is an opportunity to remind the world of the benefits Britain offers, whether it’s our world-leading ports, maritime business services or skilled workforce. We are determined to grow our share of the global maritime sector, helping talented people find careers in its industries and attracting companies to do business in the UK.

Our maritime history is something Britain can be proud of, but the sector is taking us into the future. I want Britain to feel the benefit of its international reputation by driving economic growth and increasing jobs. We have already seen millions invested in the UK, including at London Gateway and Liverpool – demonstrating the central place Britain already holds in the industry.

I thank the chair who has produced an important piece of work and look forward to working with industry to ensure we do all we can to keep Britain a great maritime nation.

Chair of the Maritime Growth Study Lord Mountevans said:

I am a passionate believer in the importance of the maritime sector to our island trading nation, and very aware of the reliance of the rest of the world on our diverse maritime cluster.

This report is the culmination of months of work involving widespread engagement and detailed research. I am very grateful to all those who have engaged in the study.

The result is a ‘call to arms’ to industry and government to actively support and raise the profile of a vital sector that contributes significantly to the economy and which the nation relies on to meet its daily needs.

The report launches London International Shipping Week 2015, which runs from 7 to 11 September. The shipping world will be visiting the capital for the week with the top 200 maritime global business leaders and international decision makers in attendance to network and plan business with the UK.

DfT, Treasury, BIS, MoD and Wales Office are all promoting the UK’s maritime sector which offers world class education and training, a competitive and stable tax regime and a trusted and respected flag.

London International Shipping Week will showcase the success story of British maritime, more than 503.2 million tonnes of freight were handled by UK ports in 2014. Ministers have seen first hand how private investment in UK ports are driving development and creating jobs. Projects underway include the £300 million Liverpool2 container terminal at the Port of Liverpool which will have new berths, quays and cranes able to serve the world’s largest container vessels. London Gateway Port has received £1.5 billion investment for its huge port and logistics facilities which will directly create 12,000 full time jobs.

London International Shipping Week

Highlights of the London International Shipping Week’s events include Shipping Minister Robert Goodwill opening the London Stock Exchange and No 10 Downing Street hosting a ministerial roundtable to launch the Maritime Growth Study. Later in the week, a welcome reception will be held at Lancaster House with the Transport Secretary.

The London International Shipping Week provides further details and a full list of the week’s events.

Maritime media enquiries

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-maritime-report-launched-as-london-international-shipping-week-gets-underway

Press release: Business Secretary calls on universities to tackle violence against women on campus

Universities UK has been asked to set up and lead the taskforce with the support of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The taskforce will work with the higher education sector, to develop a code of practice to bring about cultural change, leverage existing complaints mechanisms more effectively and improve engagement with Crime Prevention Officers.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Nobody should be put off going to University because of fears about their safety. If my children choose that path, I would expect my daughter to be as safe as my son on any campus in this country. This taskforce will ensure that universities have a plan to stamp out violence against women and provide a safe environment for all their students.

We do not tolerate this behaviour in any part of society and I’m not prepared to let it take place on university campuses unchecked.

The taskforce is expected to be convened in the autumn (2015) and work over a 12 month period.

In a letter to Nicola Dandridge, CEO of Universities UK, the taskforce has been asked to:

  • develop a code of practice for institutions to support cultural change
  • explore how a kitemark scheme could be developed and awarded to successful institutions
  • explore how better to engage with Crime Prevention Officers
  • ensure best use of the existing complaints mechanisms such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and, for students, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator
  • encourage institutions to ensure that the right links are in place with existing local activity, including through the Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

Universities Minister, Jo Johnson said:

“Universities already take their responsibilities for the safety of all students incredibly seriously. They have strong clear legal duties through the Equalities Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. This task force will make sure that the universities are doing all they can to meet their legal obligations and, will see where they can go further.

The taskforce will report back to the Universities Minister Jo Johnson and the Secretary of State for the Department for Business.

Notes to editors

  1. Official data is not available but 1 in 7 women responding to the NUS Hidden Marks survey had experienced a serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student. Over 2 thirds had experienced verbal or non-verbal harassment, including groping, flashing and unwanted sexual comments, and 12% of respondents had been subjected to stalking.
  2. We have asked Universities UK to set up the task force and will confirm full membership in due course.
  3. Many universities are currently involved in campaigns and initiatives, often with Students’ Unions, to help guarantee student safety. Nationally, Universities UK has been working with others such as the Equality Challenge Unit on lad culture, sexual harassment and sexual violence at universities.
  4. Universities UK Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge last week published a blog on the scale of the issue and the work institutions are doing.
  5. The Universities UK taskforce will complement the government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, led by the Home Office. We will be publishing a new Strategy in the autumn (2015) and are consulting on it at the moment.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/business-secretary-calls-on-universities-to-tackle-violence-against-women-on-campus

News story: UK Government demonstrates support for vital South Wales industries

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb and Business Minister Anna Soubry visited General Dynamics in South Wales today (2 September) to see how innovation is attracting investment to the region. They also visited steel companies Tata and Celsa to discuss the challenges the industry faces and how the UK Government can support it.

At General Dynamics in Oakdale, they saw first-hand the design and development of SCOUT SV. In July, the Prime Minister announced that General Dynamics had won a support contract for Scout Specialist Vehicles. Along with a £3.5 billion deal last year to manufacture 589 armoured vehicles, the company is creating 250 jobs at the new facility in Oakdale.

Secretary of State Stephen Crabb said:

The substantial investment announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year is a clear example of this Government’s determination to rebalance the economy and strengthen every part of the UK.

Thanks to companies like General Dynamics producing world leading secure communications equipment and state of the art armoured vehicles, Wales will continue to play a vital role in keeping British soldiers safe in the field.

Wales’ growing reputation for harnessing innovation and manufacturing cutting edge products further demonstrates why our country is such a great place to do business.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

General Dynamics UK is a South Wales success story. The company are enjoying success with the Scout Specialist Vehicle and are constantly investing in innovation, research and new ideas so that they develop the products of the future – products that can bring new growth opportunities and jobs to Wales.

Wales is an important hub of high skilled manufacturing and we will continue to back it as part of our drive to rebalance the economy.

Stephen Crabb and Anna Soubry also visited the company’s EDGE facility where they work closely with small businesses and academia by providing expertise and equipment to help develop innovative solutions for defence projects.

In private meetings with Tata Steel and Celsa Steel they discussed the current market conditions and challenges facing the sector.

Stephen Crabb said:

The steel industry is a crucial part of the manufacturing sector in South Wales and is very important to many local communities. However, we should be under no illusions about the significant challenges the industry faces.

We are doing everything we can to support all areas of manufacturing, including the steel industry. By supporting energy intensive industries and promoting the UK as a great partner for trade and investment we can ensure that our long term plan continues to strengthen the dynamic economy in South Wales.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

It was important that I came and spoke directly with steelmakers in Wales today to further understand the challenges they face and their plans for the future.

The steel industry is facing very tough global economic conditions, but my department is providing support where we can and we’ll continue to work closely with the sector.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-demonstrates-support-for-vital-south-wales-industries

News story: UK Government demonstrates support for vital South Wales industries

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb and Business Minister Anna Soubry visited General Dynamics in South Wales today (2 September) to see how innovation is attracting investment to the region. They also visited steel companies Tata and Celsa to discuss the challenges the industry faces and how the UK Government can support it.

At General Dynamics in Oakdale, they saw first-hand the design and development of SCOUT SV. In July, the Prime Minister announced that General Dynamics had won a support contract for Scout Specialist Vehicles. Along with a £3.5 billion deal last year to manufacture 589 armoured vehicles, the company is creating 250 jobs at the new facility in Oakdale.

Secretary of State Stephen Crabb said:

The substantial investment announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year is a clear example of this Government’s determination to rebalance the economy and strengthen every part of the UK.

Thanks to companies like General Dynamics producing world leading secure communications equipment and state of the art armoured vehicles, Wales will continue to play a vital role in keeping British soldiers safe in the field.

Wales’ growing reputation for harnessing innovation and manufacturing cutting edge products further demonstrates why our country is such a great place to do business.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

General Dynamics UK is a South Wales success story. The company are enjoying success with the Scout Specialist Vehicle and are constantly investing in innovation, research and new ideas so that they develop the products of the future – products that can bring new growth opportunities and jobs to Wales.

Wales is an important hub of high skilled manufacturing and we will continue to back it as part of our drive to rebalance the economy.

Stephen Crabb and Anna Soubry also visited the company’s EDGE facility where they work closely with small businesses and academia by providing expertise and equipment to help develop innovative solutions for defence projects.

In private meetings with Tata Steel and Celsa Steel they discussed the current market conditions and challenges facing the sector.

Stephen Crabb said:

The steel industry is a crucial part of the manufacturing sector in South Wales and is very important to many local communities. However, we should be under no illusions about the significant challenges the industry faces.

We are doing everything we can to support all areas of manufacturing, including the steel industry. By supporting energy intensive industries and promoting the UK as a great partner for trade and investment we can ensure that our long term plan continues to strengthen the dynamic economy in South Wales.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said:

It was important that I came and spoke directly with steelmakers in Wales today to further understand the challenges they face and their plans for the future.

The steel industry is facing very tough global economic conditions, but my department is providing support where we can and we’ll continue to work closely with the sector.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-demonstrates-support-for-vital-south-wales-industries

Press release: Measures to ensure people receive fair pay announced

A package of measures to ensure hardworking people receive the pay they are entitled to is being announced today (1 September 2015).

The measures include:

  • doubling the penalties for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage
  • increasing the enforcement budget
  • setting up a new team in HMRC to take forward criminal prosecutions for those who deliberately do not comply
  • ensuring that anyone found guilty will be considered for disqualification from being a company director for up to 15 years

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

There is no excuse for employers flouting minimum wage rules and these announcements will ensure those who do try and cheat staff out of pay will feel the full force of the law.

This one nation government is committed to making work pay and making sure hardworking people get the salary they are entitled to.

A new team of compliance officers in HMRC will investigate the most serious cases of employers not paying the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage when it is introduced in April 2016.

The team will have the power to use all available sanctions, including penalties, prosecutions and naming and shaming the most exploitative employers.

The enforcement budget for the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage will also be increased in 2016 to 2017. Future budgets will be agreed as part of the Spending Review process.

Employers who fail to pay staff at least the minimum wage they are legally entitled to will have to pay double what they do now. This reform is intended to increase compliance and make sure those who break the law face tough consequences.

The calculation of penalties on those who do not comply will rise from 100% of arrears to 200%. This will be halved if employers pay within 14 days. The overall maximum penalty of £20,000 per worker remains unchanged.

A new Director of Labour Market Enforcement and Exploitation will be created to oversee enforcement of the National Minimum Wage, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (a non-departmental public body of the Home Office). The Director will set priorities for enforcement based on a single view of the intelligence about exploitation and non-compliance.

A consultation will be launched in the Autumn on the introduction of a new offence of aggravated breach of labour market legislation. The consultation will also propose giving the Gangmasters Licensing Authority additional investigatory powers and a wider remit to tackle serious labour exploitation more effectively.

The government has also announced today it will improve the guidance and support made available to firms on compliance and will work with payroll providers to be sure payroll software contains checks that staff are being paid what they are entitled to.

Notes to editors

1.HMRC currently enforces the National Minimum Wage on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

2.It currently conducts a programme of targeted enforcement, proactively focusing on high-risk sectors. It is currently engaged in activity in the social care, hairdressing and retail sectors.

3.In 2013, the department introduced a policy of naming non-compliant employers. Since then, 285 employers, who have owed over £788,000 in arrears, have been charged over £325,000 in penalties. HMRC puts forward the most serious cases of non-compliance to the Crown Prosecution Service for prosecution.

4.In 2014 to 2015, HMRC investigated 2,204 cases; found arrears in 735 cases for 26,318 workers totalling over £3.29 million; charged over £934,000 in penalties.

5.The current National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • adult rate (21 years old and over) – £6.50 per hour
  • 18 to 20-year olds – £5.13 per hour
  • 16 to 17-year olds – £3.79 per hour
  • apprentice rate – £2.73 per hour

The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 years and those aged 19 years and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for their age.

6.Businesses or employees that have any questions about the National Minimum Wage can view guidance at www.acas.org.uk/nmw and ask questions at www.acas.org.uk/helplineonline.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/measures-to-ensure-people-receive-fair-pay-announced

Press release: Financial red tape targeted in new review

  • government commits to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of anti-money laundering regime
  • new review will target the way regulation is implemented
  • businesses are encouraged to submit evidence of over-complicated and ineffective requirements

A review to improve the effectiveness of rules designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing has been launched today (28 August 2015) as part of the government’s Cutting Red Tape review programme.

Businesses have expressed concerns that current guidance, rules and proof of identity requirements can be unnecessarily cumbersome and complicated. Inconsistency and confusion over how rules to stamp out money laundering are applied leads to a less effective regime, which disproportionately affects legitimate businesses.

The government wants these rules to protect the country and safeguard the UK’s world leading financial services industry, without putting disproportionate burdens on legitimate businesses or those companies that use their services.

This review is one of 6 chosen for the first wave of the government’s ambitious Cutting Red Tape programme, which will help towards saving businesses £10 billion over the next 5 years.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

We are committed to saving businesses a further £10 billion in red tape to help create more jobs for working people, boost productivity and keep our economy growing.

This new review is about making sure the rules we have to protect our strong financial services industry from abuse are not unintentionally holding back new and existing British business. I want firms to come forward and tell us where regulation is unclear or its enforcement ineffective.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin said:

The UK is a global financial centre, and is home to some of the most successful international financial services firms in the world. But we are clear that in order to protect the integrity and stability of our world leading financial centre, we need an effective Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Finance regime.

That’s why we are leading from the front in implementing robust global standards to tackle money laundering, and that’s why we’ve launched a review today to improve the effectiveness of our Anti-Money Laundering regime.

Ensuring that supervision and enforcement are focused on the criminals who launder funds, whilst taking a proportionate approach for legitimate business, will build Britain’s strong reputation as a safe place to invest and do business.

The review will look at the implementation of legislation and activity carried out under The Money Laundering Regulations 2007, by national supervisors including the Financial Conduct Authority and HMRC. As well as identifying where more clarity is needed for businesses, it will look for evidence of where the activity of these regulators could be made more efficient and effective.

The review is seeking a wide range of evidence, including:

  • whether current guidance meets businesses needs
  • the effectiveness and proportionality of supervisors’ approach to supervision and enforcement
  • where and how supervision and enforcement is not proportionate to the risks posed
  • any examples of good practice that could help businesses meet their obligations and might be replicated elsewhere

The call for evidence will run for 8 weeks until 23 October 2015 and can be found on the Cutting Red Tape website. Five other sector reviews were launched on 16 July 2015 into: agriculture, care homes, energy, mineral extraction and waste.

Notes to editors:

  1. Cutting Red Tape reviews look into whether legislation and its implementation can be simplified or improved, addressing issues such as where different regulators are asking the same company the same questions, or where guidance or requirements are unclear, confusing or unnecessarily burdensome.
  2. The first wave of sector reviews focuses on problems that were identified as part of the Red Tape Challenge and Business Focus on Enforcement programmes in the last Parliament. This is one of the sectors which reports a high level of concern about red tape. This is why it was chosen as one of the early reviews.
  3. The CBI has said reducing the cost of regulatory compliance in financial services should be a top priority for government.
  4. More than 2 thirds of respondents to The ICC Global Trade and Finance Survey 2014 citied the anti-money laundering regime as a “significant impediment” to trade finance – stopping many small businesses from benefitting from global trade.
  5. Businesses can feed back their thoughts by:

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/financial-red-tape-targeted-in-new-review