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Information Bulletin

Summary of News and Publications from the Week ending 6 June 2014

The Queens Speech: Includes the bill to implement the reforms to annuities, a separate bill
to allow employees to pay into collective pension funds shared with other workers, the new
state-funded childcare subsidy, the Modern Slavery Bill, legislation to improve the fairness of
contracts for low-paid workers (including zero hours contracts) and harsher penalties for
employers not paying the minimum wage. See summary list of Bills.

JRF Activity
Blog from Tracey Robbins The Internet may be the cause and the Remedy to Loneliness
in the UK.

Publication - Commissioning Relationship-Centred Care in Essex: An Evaluation

JRF Response to Tax-free childcare proposals in the Queens Speech.

JRF Response to the Child Poverty Strategy 2014/17 Consultation
Northern Ireland has the lowest average disposable income in the UK at 13,902, compared
to a UK average of 16,791, say new ONS figures. Wales was the only region of the UK
where average disposable income in every area was below the UK average.

In a review of the last decade of childcare policy in the UK, a new report from the Family and
Childcare Trust, Where next for childcare?, anticipates the governments new tax-free
childcare scheme will cause rapid price rises, thus wiping out the value of the support to

The Scottish governments Expert Working Group on Welfare has published a report, setting
out how a welfare system for Scotland would be established following a yes vote.

The final report from the Commission for Developing Scotlands Young Workforce
recommends a target of reducing youth unemployment in Scotland by 40% by 2020. Other
recommendations include preparation for apprenticeships in the last phase of school,
careers education in primary schools and more support for employers to take on young
people. Education Working For All!

A new report on foodbanks from the Scottish Parliaments Welfare Reform Committee,
argues that if has strong evidence that welfare changes were a significant cause in the 400%
rise in people using Scottish foodbanks from 2012/13 to 2013/14. It calls on the UK
government to acknowledge the evidence.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland assembly is launching an investigation into the growing
demand for food banks in the province, with results due later this year.

The TCPA is calling for 30% of housing in new garden cities to be for social rent/ below
market rent and a further 30% for shared equity or low cost ownership. New report: The Art
of Building a Garden City.

The finalists for the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize have been announced this years
challenge was to design a visionary, popular and economically viable garden city.

A consultation has been launched in Northern Ireland on proposals to require private
housing developers to build social or affordable housing on developments of five homes or
more. Deadline for responses to consultation is 26 August 2014.

It is claimed that in London, the average Help to Buy customer is in the top 20% income
bracket in the capital, following the publication of Treasury figures on the scheme.

The Scottish Government has announced 60 million funding for the Home Energy
Efficiency Programme for Scotland (HEEPS), to be distributed across local authorities, to
help install energy improvement measures in households in fuel poverty.

The Policy Exchanges newly published Technology Manifesto recommends that the UK sets
a target for the population to have the worlds highest rate of basic digital skills by 2020. It
also recommends aiming to make Britain the most attractive place outside of Silicon Valley
for technology entrepreneurs to start and grow a business and using technology to power
better public services.

A document from the European Commission, setting out how the five biggest European
economies could have stronger, sustainable and more inclusive growth, recommends the
Help to Buy scheme is adjusted to dampen soaring house prices. It also suggests reforming
council tax, as taxes on higher property values are now lower in relative terms than the tax
on lower value properties.

Legislation in this weeks Queens Speech exempts small housing developments with fewer
than ten homes from zero-carbon regulations, allowing them to build homes with 44% lower
emissions than 2006 levels

An Ageing Society
A new report from the Older Peoples Commissioner for Wales, Driving Change for Older
People, outlines the action taken in in the last year to make Wales a good place to grow
older. In the next 12 months, planned action include publishing a review of care in Wales,
developing a human rights approach to public services and a formal review into the support
available to people with dementia and their carers.

The NHS in Scotland is still not providing acceptable care for people with severe dementia,
according to a report from the Mental Welfare Commission. Although some standards had
improved since the last report in 2007, visits to 52 units revealed huge variation in the quality
of care and overall, not enough person-centred care, recreational or purposeful activity, or
access to the outdoors.

Liverpool City Council, in conjunction with housing associations, is expanding its odd-job
service to any resident over the age of 50 and is making it free of charge. The service aims
to help older people remain in their own homes for longer. The service is not means tested
and is open to any kind of tenure.

This Information Bulletin is produced on a weekly basis as an update for staff at the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation (JRF) and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) for the purposes of their work it is
not intended to be comprehensive but represents a selection of news and reports appearing in the
last week. The items contained in this Bulletin are for information only and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the JRF and JRHT.