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Spending Review Today

Spending Review Today

Spending Review Today is the day when the Chancellor will reveal his plans for Government spending and the nation’s finances.

The spending review sets the amount Government departments will spend – a £4tn budget over the next five years.

Spending reviews were introduced by Gordon Brown in 1998 and the last one was in 2013. read more

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Bedroom Tax’ is Once Again In The Public Eye Because Lib Dems Withdraw Support

Bedroom Tax’ is Once Again In The Public Eye Because Lib Dems Withdraw Support

Nick Clegg denies the call for a reform of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is a u-turn, with the coalition partners set for a bruising battle.

The Liberal Democrats have withdrawn support for the so-called “bedroom tax” setting up a showdown with the Conservatives and sparking questions over credibility.

Will Nick Clegg's U-turn threaten the coalition?

Will Nick Clegg’s U-turn threaten the coalition?

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was clear the policy was unfair and was not working, saying: “I think when something isn’t working, you fix it.” read more

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We Need To Cut An Extra £25bn A Year

We Need To Cut An Extra £25bn A Year

Chancellor George Osborne indicates he will target the welfare budget for much of the £25bn of cuts that must be made from 2015.

George Osborne at the Conservative party conference 2013

George Osborne said more cuts are to come

A further £25bn of cuts must be made after the next election if the Government is to eliminate the UK’s deficit, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Mr Osborne, who will set out his priorities for the next 12 months in a speech later this morning saying 2014 will be “the year of hard truths”, indicated he would be looking to the welfare budget to make those savings. read more

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Met Office To Launch Round The Clock Space Weather Forecasting Service

Met Office To Launch Round The Clock Space Weather Forecasting Service

The UK government is launching a round-the-clock space weather forecasting system in partnership with the Met Office, which will make the country one of a just a handful monitoring the weather between Earth’s atmosphere and the Sun.

The service will be run by the Met Office thanks to a £4.6 million investment by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and will aim to protect national infrastructure. It equals to approximately one thousandth of the science budget, although it is being drawn from a separate pool of money, said Science Minister David Willetts, speaking at a press conference.

Space forecasts will start in spring 2014, but it will be autumn before the service is operating fully. The money will primarily be spent on the forecast bench, as well as a team of people that will collaborate with academia to make sure the latest research and knowledge is being properly relayed to the forecasters. Phil Evans from the Met Office claims the system will be cost effective as it will rely on pre-existing infrastructure, including the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter, which will take us closer to the sun than we’ve ever been before.

The main aim of the service is to offer UK-centric advice, but it will also be part of a larger international effort. The US already has its own space weather monitoring service, but has approached the UK to try and combine efforts. The Met Office will be working with external partners including the British Antarctic Survey and NoAA Space Weather Prediction Centre, in the hope that the forecasting service will be able to benefit a wide range of sectors, as well as potentially be commercialised. read more

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Cheques – Smartphone Scans Could Ensure Future

Cheques – Smartphone Scans Could Ensure Future

The Government wants to speed up cheque payments by allowing banks to use images rather than requiring the actual piece of paper.

People will be able to use their smartphones to make a payment by cheque under new Government proposals.

There were plans to kill of cheques from 2018 but, because of a public outcry, the plans were scrapped and the Government now describes cheques as a “crucial” part of the British payments landscape.

However, it believes that by bringing them into the modern age, it could cut the length of time it takes to process a cheque payment from up to six days to two at the most. read more

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Disabled People Win Living Fund Case Against Government

Disabled People Win Living Fund Case Against Government

Five disabled people have succeeded in a legal challenge to the government’s decision to abolish the Independent Living Fund.

The £320m ILF currently provides support enabling nearly 19,000 severely disabled people in the UK to live independent lives in the community.

The High Court ruled in April that the closure decision was lawful, but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The government said it was considering whether to contest the judgement. read more

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UK Government Scraps The Paper Car Tax Disc After More Than 90 Years

UK Government Scraps The Paper Car Tax Disc After More Than 90 Years

Vehicle tax was introduced in the 1888 Budget and the system of excise duty applying specifically to motor vehicles was introduced with the Roads Act 1920, with the tax disc appearing the following year.

Almost a century after its introduction, in 1921, the UK government is set to scrap the paper car disc and go all in with its electronic register.

Its death was confirmed by the UK Treasury ahead of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement later today, meaning motorists will no longer need fix a disc in their car window to prove they’ve taxed their car.

“This is a visual symbol of how we are moving government into the modern age,” says the UK government, which also announced that vehicle owners can pay for their duty by monthly direct debit, which will add 5 percent to the total cost. read more

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HS2 Plans Are Rejected By The High Court

HS2 Plans Are Rejected By The High Court

Objectors including 15 councils lose their bid to force further assessment of the controversial Government project.

Campaigners have vowed to fight on after the Court of Appeal rejected their latest challenges to the Government’s HS2 high-speed rail project.

Objectors including 15 councils and residents’ associations along the route had wanted judges to order further assessment of the entire scheme.

But their plea was dismissed on all grounds – although they were granted the right of a final appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. read more

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Government Intends To Nationally Ranked Primary School Pupils

Government Intends To Nationally Ranked Primary School Pupils

Pupils across the country would be tested and ranked in 10% ability bands, but headteachers are not convinced by the plan

Primary schoolchildren will be ranked against their peers across the country under Government proposals.

Eleven-year-olds would sit tests and be put into 10% ability bands, with parents then being updated on their child’s ranking.

The move is one of a raft of proposals by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Schools Minister David Laws aimed at raising primary school standards and ensuring youngsters are ready for secondary school. read more

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