Whitehall briefing w/b 25/02/13

Politics.co.uk tracks the week's government announcements and developments, ministerial appearances and speeches, consultations and White Papers.

Friday 1st March 2013

1728 – FCO – The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has welcomed today’s launch of negotiations between the EU and Morocco for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, which the FCO says will bring closer economic integration.

1546 – Owen Paterson statement on the latest horse meat results. 

1537 – FCO – A look at the work of the Foreign Office and its embassies overseas this week: USA, Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Somalia.

1417 – FSA – The Food Standards Agency has just published 3rd set of food industry test results for horse DNA in products labelled as beef. 

1045 – DoH – The Department of Health has announced the successful applicants for stage 1 of the £50 million funding of capital projects to improve care environments for people with dementia.

1018 – DFiD – A £16 million package of development support to Rwanda will be channelled through aid agencies or directly to the poorest people, Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced today.

0957 – Home Affairs Committee publishes interim report on undercover policing: MPs call for root-and branch overhaul of RIPA. 

0942 – DfE – We’ve launched the Pupil Premium awards. Any school can nominate themselves and there will be prizes of up to £10k. 

0933 – DfT – Roads Minister Stephen Hammond launches the spring THINK! drink-drive campaign, and reminds you that a conviction could cost you £50,000. 

0922 – DECC – UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey visits Aberdeen.

Thursday 28th February 2013

1545 – DFID – “It’s now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern conflict,” says the Department for International Development. It’s time for action – take the pledge: sign to demand global action to end violence against women and girls. 

1522 – Scotland Office – Michael Moore MP: The Scottish Government’s plans for regulators would ‘double the red tape burden.

1503 – FSA – The Food Standards Authority publishes further details of the EU sampling programme of beef products for horse DNA.

1439 – DCLG – Fire Minister Brandon Lewis has today announced the completion of the sale of the Fire Service College to Capita.

1428 – NAO Managing the defence inventory – the MOD is buying more inventory than it uses and not consistently disposing of stock it no longer needs using money that could be spent elsewhere.

1407 – DoH – This week's weekly flu information and NHS emergency and urgent care data is now available. 

1431 – DCLG – Housing Minister Mark Prisk announces new action group to maximise housebuilding potential of off-site construction. 

1311 – DfT – Stephen Hammond MP: HGV Road User Levy Act has become law today paving the way for a fairer deal for UK hauliers. 

1126 – DECC releases latest national statistics on Energy Trends and Prices. 

1120 – DfE – This brief sets out the latest statistics available on NEET in England from the Department for Education's 16 – 18 participation statistical first release, the labour force survey (LFS), and regional NEET figures.

1113 – BIS – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable tour Aston Martin

1104 – MoD – 70 soldiers from the Scots Guards Battle Group have returned home early from Afghanistan as the Afghan Police take responsibility for security in their area of operations.

1012 – BIS – Ministers take the stage as the third Manufacturing Summit begins

1007 – Home Office – As net migration falls by 84,000, immigration Minister Mark Harper: “Our tough reforms are having an impact in all the right places.”

0947 – Cabinet Office – The Cabinet Office has launched a new competency framework for all 420,000 civil servants. The new framework "will focus on results, continuous improvement and breaking down departmental silos."

0748 – BIS – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will today announce £213 million of joint government and industry investment to strengthen UK advanced manufacturing supply chains – creating over 11,000 new jobs and safeguarding another 5,000.

0722 – BIS – Skills Minister Matt Hancock MP will be speaking to Terry Baxter from the BBC about making apprenticeships equal to degrees at 8:20 on BBC Suffolk.

0603  – BIS –  Government manufacturing summit is today. Follow us on Twitter for latest announcements & updates.

Wednesday 27th February 2013

1723 – DWP – Key facts on under occupancy and housing benefit reform can be found here

1639 – MoD – Army reservist medics have put their skills to the test using the lightweight facilities that they would deploy with when supporting airborne operations.

1554 – FCO – Alistair Burt condemns rocket attack on southern Israel, and calls on both parties to build on November ceasefire. 

1531 – DCLG – Last major piece of the legislative jigsaw for neighbourhood planning is now complete – business referendum regulations.

1518 – DCMS – Ed Vaisey arrives back from World Mobile Congress in Barcelona and is 'heartened' by British innovation.

1455 – DCLG – Housing Minister Mark Prisk unlocks a £225m fund to deliver up to 15,000 extra affordable homes. 

1408 – Hansard – The Official Report of Questions to the Prime Minister is available

1356 – FCO – The Foreign Secretary  William Hague has commented on the latest round of #Iran nuclear talks in Kazakhstan.

1347 – HMRC – A revised multi-agency protocol to tackle excise fraud by dubious hauliers could lead to an increase in the number of hauliers losing their licences to operate, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.

1306 – Defra – Owen Paterson published speech at the National Farmers Union Annual Conference 2013. 

1215 –  MPs prepare to debate housing benefit and the under-occupancy penalty in the House of Commons.

1001 – BIS – Business Minister Jo Swinson announces the interim results from the Company and Commercial Law Red Tape Challenge.

0930 – Justice Committee – The committee takes evidence on transforming rehabilitation, a new refocused and streamlined public sector service which will be tasked with keeping the public safe from the most dangerous and high-risk offenders. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will appear as a witness. 

0930 – Education Committee – Education Committee questions key stakeholders on the role of school governors. 

0913 – OFSTED – Chief inspector raises the stakes for school governance with school data dashboard. 

0911 – DEFRA – Fish discards will "become a thing of the past" as the UK government secures a historic victory in Brussels to set firm dates to introduce a ban, following long negotiations. Richard Benyon MP calls it "an historic day."

0906 – MoD – Afghanistan’s Defence Minister, Bismillah Mohammadi visited Sandhurst and met Philip Hammond, William Hague, Andrew Robathan and General Sir David Richards.

0905 – NAO – PAC hearing today on "Early action: landscape review" and "Autism Strategy".

Tuesday 26th February 2013

1712 – Home Office – A number of 'legal highs' including Black Mamba and Mexxy became illegal Class B drugs today

1641 – HMRC – Interview with Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, on Patent Box. 

1621 – MoD – Royal Navy warship prepares for counter-narcotics assignment. 

1619 – DWP – Steve Webb: In the next 5yrs over 1m employers will provide staff the chance to save towards their retirement through a workplace pension.

1531 –  DWP – 'Sometimes work experience is just what someone needs to get into work' – Mark Hoban talks to People magazine.

1527 – DfE – Contract worth £1.2 million over the next two years has been awarded to Carers Trust and the Children’s Society: 

1500 – DEFRA – Richard Benyon tells BBC News eliminating discards is at the heart of Common Fisheries Policy reform.

1445 – Home Affairs Committee – Home Affairs Committee takes evidence on e-crime on social networks from Google, Twitter and Facebook.

1341 DWP – Senior occupational physician Dr Paul Litchfield appointed to carry out 4th indy review of Work Capability Assessment.

1131 – The 2011/12 CRC Performance League Table has been published today by the Environment Agency.

1042 – MoD – World War II war heroes to receive new Arctic Star and Bomber Command clasp within weeks.

1000 – Treasury Committee – Treasury Committee takes evidence on the latest inflation report. 

0954 – BIS – Govt announces change to the Patent Act to help cut red tape for the UK Life Sciences industry. The change will allow clinical and field trials and health technology assessment for new drugs to be carried out without running the risk of being sued for patent infringement.

0928 – Defence Committee – The committee has published its report on the Service Complaints Commissioner, in which it calls for a new Armed Forces Ombudsman.

0925 – Public Accounts Committee – The report on the west coast franchise competition has been published

0905 – Cabinet Office – Better Public Building Award summit: about pioneering construction projects and their success, from procurement and design to building.

Opinion Former note: the Construction Products Association calls upon George Osborne to use construction to drive growth.

0732 – FCO – The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of reports of a balloon crash in Luxor, Egypt,  and is currently making urgent enquiries.

Monday 25th February 2013

1947 – Defra – Read Owen Paterson’s statement on horsemeat following the EU Agriculture Council today.

1806 – DFID – Alan Duncan – The UK will provide life-saving assistance worth up to £70m over the next two years to one million people a year in Yemen under new plans set out today. The money will help provide emergency food, shelter and water to help a million Yemenis per year recovering from conflict. 

1750 – FCO –  Brazil is an increasingly important partner for the UK on security challenges, countering terrorism, weapons proliferation and preventing conflict. Read about the Foreign Office's new developments and actions with Brazil.

1641 –  HMRC & MoD – Chancellor George Osborne has announced that a further £1.3 million, generated by fines levied on banks for attempting to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark, will be given to causes and charities supporting the Armed Forces community.

1547 – MoD – A Royal Navy survey ship has discovered a previously uncharted 250-metre-deep canyon on the floor of the Red Sea. 

1535 – FCO – Foreign Secretary William Hague, and US Secretary of State John Kerry hold bilateral talks and co-host a press conference dominated by Syria.

1533 – AGO – Dominic Grieve, the attourney general, takes action over Jon Venables and Robert Thompson injunction.

1417 – FCO – Alistair Burt opens the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution & Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC) in the Seychelles, an "important milestone in the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean." 

1412 – DCLG – Planning Minister Nick Boles and Communities Minister Don Foster are today meeting local residents and councillors, ahead of them deciding the outcome of the of country’s first neighbourhood planning referendum.

1316 –  MoD – French and British forces work together in live firing artillery exercise to prepare soldiers from regular, reserve and French units for contingency operations.

1240 – DCLG – Eric Pickles urges Enterprise Zones to “turn shovel ready sites into job ready sites” by applying for £59m investment fund. 

1214 – FCO – Photo: Foreign Secretary William Hague meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry in London today.

1159 – DoH – Health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter has today announced new checks to make sure all doctors who work for the NHS can speak English well enough to treat patients. 

1145 – FCO – Minister Alistair Burt opens the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre with Seychelles President Michel.

1108 – BIS – Acas has today launched a consultation on a draft Code of Practice on the extended right to request flexible working. Employers will be "obliged to consider all requests [for flexible working] in a reasonable manner." 

1107 – BIS – Michael Fallon promises an end to ‘gold plating’ of EU laws, and a  "redoubling" of efflorts to cut red tape.

1045 – DfE – Video: Edward Timpson speaks about the Children & Families Bill.

1031 –  HMRC – Boost to UK economy as Oil & Gas UK Activity Survey states govt changes to oil & gas tax regime stimulate highest investment for 30+ years

1030 – MoD – Defence Questions will take place in the House of Commons at 2:30pm. Watch it live.

1018 – DfE – Young Person's Guide to the Children and Families Bill to be written because this law. Read the Guide here.

1013- DfT – Report published on investigation into, and closure procedures for, motorway incidents. 

0952 – NAO – Watch: PAC hearing on the financial sustainability of local authorities will be live from 3.15pm

0952 – NAO – The National Audit Office is examining central government's approach to the funding of local authorities as they make cuts without reducing services

0945 – OFT – In April 2013, the Citizens Advice service becomes responsible for all consumer education in Great Britain, bringing all consumer services under one roof. OFT explains how to opt in to stay registered with Skilled to go.

0941 – HMRC – The treasury's Business Education Team are answering tax questions on starting up in business today. Ask any question on the #biztaxhelp hashtag.

Opinion Former note: for further small business advice and comment you can also contact Federation of Small Businesses.

0852 – Defra – Owen Paterson is in Brussels for EU Agriculture Ministers meeting. Horsemeat to be discussed this afternoon.