Author Archives: HM Government

News story: Measles outbreaks confirmed in 5 areas across UK

Latest update

As of 11 December 2017, there have been 28 confirmed cases in Leeds, 18 confirmed cases in Liverpool, 7 confirmed cases in Surrey and Sussex, 4 confirmed cases in Manchester and 13 confirmed cases in Birmingham. All of the cases have been reported in children and adults who have not received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.

Previous update

As of 29 November 2017, there were 16 confirmed cases in Leeds, 11 confirmed cases in Liverpool and 9 confirmed cases in Birmingham. All of the cases have been reported in children and adults who have not received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and can sometimes lead to serious complications.

Children and young people who have not received 2 doses of MMR vaccine are at risk. Unvaccinated people travelling to Romania and Italy, where there are currently large outbreaks of measles, are at particularly high risk.

Anyone planning to travel to Europe over the Christmas period should check NaTHNaC travel health advice.

PHE local health protection teams are working closely with the NHS and local authorities to raise awareness of the outbreaks in England and Europe with health professionals and local communities.

The MMR vaccine is available to all adults and children who are not up to date with their 2 doses. Anyone who is not sure if they are fully vaccinated should check with their GP practice.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said:

The measles outbreaks we are currently seeing in England are linked to ongoing large outbreaks in Europe. People who have recently travelled, or are planning to travel to Romania, Italy and Germany and have not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly at risk.

This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at 1 year of age and as a pre-school booster at 3 years and 4 months of age. Children and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine in the past or are unsure if they had 2 doses should contact their GP practice to catch-up.

We’d also encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccine before travelling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks.

The UK recently achieved WHO measles elimination status and so the overall risk of measles to the UK population is low, however due to ongoing measles outbreaks in Europe, we will continue to see cases in unimmunised individuals and limited onward spread can occur in communities with low MMR coverage and in age groups with very close mixing.

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Press release: PM visit to Saudi Arabia: 29 November 2017

The Prime Minister held bilateral talks with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman, in Riyadh earlier this evening.

They discussed regional security and stability, noting in particular the good progress that had been made in Iraq in the fight against Daesh.

They discussed Iran, where the Prime Minister noted that we shared Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iran’s destabilising regional behaviour, and where they agreed that more work needed to be done to bring the international community together to counter it.

They discussed Yemen, where the Prime Minister made clear that the flow of commercial supplies on which the country depends must be resumed if we are to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. They agreed that steps needed to be taken as a matter of urgency to address this and that they would take forward more detailed discussions on how this could be achieved.

They agreed the relationship between the UK and Saudi Arabia was strong and would endure. They discussed “Vision 2030”, Saudi’s ambitious blueprint for internal reform which aims to deliver greater inclusivity for all Saudi citizens, which they agreed was essential to Saudi Arabia’s long-term stability and success.

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News story: Justine Greening hosts first ever DfE Skills Summit

At the first Skills Summit held at the DfE in Whitehall today(30 November), Justine Greening will tell Britain’s top businesses that enlisting their support in training the next generation of highly skilled British workers is the key to creating a country fit for the future, ready to seize the opportunities of Brexit.

The Skills Summit, supported by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), will bring together leading employers representing over 3.5 million UK employees, to help spearhead a major skills reform programme.

In a speech to an audience that is expected to include companies like Amazon, Google, Capgemini, Rolls Royce, Fujitsu, KPMG, Barclays, Tarmac, EDF and Deloitte, the Education Secretary will urge businesses to work in a new partnership with government to deliver a skills revolution, and sign up to a statement of action with government.

Outlining the government’s ambitions on skills to employers, the Education Secretary, Justine Greening is expected to say:

This government is investing in developing our homegrown talent so British business has the skills it needs and so that young people can get the opportunities they want.

We are determined to work in partnership with business to provide them opportunities to match the talent across the country. That is why this government is investing billions in technical education and why today I am calling on employers to bring their innovation, creativity and commitment to technical education reform. Only employers can provide the work placements and apprenticeships that make these reforms a success.

Eliminating the UK’s skills gap will have a transformative impact on people’s lives and the wider economy. With around 20% of our productivity gap with Germany and France due to lower skill levels, tackling this deficit will ensure Britain is ready to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Brexit.

The Education Secretary will also launch new Institutes of Technology (IoTs) with applicants able to bid for £170million of funding. IoTs will be collaborations by employers, HE and FE colleges, and specialise in science, technology, engineering and maths, providing students with prestigious qualifications that are highly sought after by local employers. By bridging local skills gaps, IoTs will drive growth and widen opportunity.

In a further announcement, £10m will be invested in new Career Learning pilots across the UK. This funding will be used to support local growth and productivity by testing how best to get adults to return to learning.

Further reforms to be announced at the summit will include:

  • A consultation on the design of T levels seeking views on how to work with businesses to deliver work placements as part of the govt reforms to deliver T Levels
  • The roll out of the first seven Skills Advisory Panels in regions across England to help identify the skills needs and employer demands at a local level
  • The full list of panel members to help create the content for the new T levels, which will begin rolling out in 2020

Speaking at the summit today CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn said:

There has never been a more important time to move beyond saying skills matter and deliver real change. Government and business must work together to ensure people have access to great careers and the needs of our economy are met.

Immediate priorities include adapting the apprenticeship system and making the new T-levels a success. Today is an important milestone in enabling firms to shape training and the Department for Education to hear their views directly – the start of a renewed partnership.

Today’s announcement builds on the Budget (22 November) which set out significant investment in skills, including an extra £20m for colleges to build the workforce to deliver new T level qualifications. The government has already signalled its determination to invest in technical education by committing £500million to T levels once all routes are up and running.

The first 7 Skills Advisory Panel areas are Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Leeds, Greater Lincolnshire, Thames Valley Berkshire, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly.

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