Tag Archives: HM Government


News story: Inspiring new products and services: apply for business funding

Innovate UK has up to £25 million to invest in emerging and enabling technologies that could support UK economic growth in the future.

Projects can be carried out in a range of areas including:

  • emerging technologies such as biofilms, energy harvesting, graphene and imaging
  • digital technologies
  • electronics sensors and photonics
  • robotics and autonomous systems
  • creative economy and design
  • space applications

The aim is to support technologies that have the potential to transform commercial markets or that could make a difference to UK economic growth across many different sectors.

Up to £15 million of the funding has been set aside for research and development projects. A further £10 million is for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

  • the competition opens on 4 September 2017, and the deadline for applications is midday on 8 November 2017
  • research and development projects:
    • must involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration
    • must involve at least 2 partners working together if project costs are more than £100,000
    • can vary in size between £35,000 and £2 million and last between 3 months and 3 years
  • businesses can attract up to 70% of their total project costs
  • funding is available for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which link a business with an academic or research organisation and a qualified graduate
  • briefing events take place across the UK during September
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Press release: UK increasing support to save lives and rebuild north east Nigeria as famine looms after Boko Haram destruction

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Development Secretary Priti Patel have visited Nigeria to see how the UK is leading the international response to the humanitarian crisis in the north east of the country, helping to avert famine and build stability and security after the destruction caused by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

On their first joint visit, showing how the UK’s response includes both security and humanitarian efforts, they both saw and heard how British military have been providing training to Nigerian soldiers fighting Boko Haram on the front line, and Priti Patel announced a new package of humanitarian support that is saving and changing lives.

Parts of north east Nigeria, including ‎the outskirts of Maiduguri – a city that the Secretaries of State visited – have been decimated by attacks from Boko Haram.

The militant group have killed over 20,000 people, displaced 1.7 million and left 8.5 million in desperate need of urgent support, in some cases on the brink of famine.

Ongoing attacks continue to destroy communities, with recent reports of children being forced to carry suicide bombs.

The UK’s increased support will extend DFID’s humanitarian programme in Nigeria over five years (2017-2022) to deliver:

  • lifesaving food for more than 1.5 million people on the brink of famine;
  • treatment for up to 120,000 children at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition;
  • ongoing support to help keep 100,000 girls and boys in school to get a decent education, providing a brighter future for the next generation;
  • safe humanitarian access to transport brave aid workers and deliver aid to the hardest to reach areas, for example using helicopters where roads are blocked or dangerous to use.

The UK has so far trained over 28,500 Nigerian military personnel, of whom a significant number have been deployed on counter-insurgency operations in north east Nigeria.

This includes counter-terrorism cooperation, providing training on response to terrorist attacks, bomb scene management, and improving aviation security.

By tackling the threat posed by terrorism across Africa, the UK government is not only helping ensure long-term security in the area, so that people who have lost everything are kept safe and can rebuild their lives, but also protecting the British public.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

It is catastrophic that at least 20,000 people have been murdered by Boko Haram’s terrorist regime, and over five million people have been left hungry and many homeless. Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive.

Global Britain is a country that stands tall in the world and the UK will not turn its back on people living in danger and desperation.

We are leading the way on the international stage through our world-class development, defence and diplomacy, providing a lifeline to over 1.5 million people on the brink of famine, tackling Boko Haram and pushing for global aid reform to deliver help more effectively.

Terrorism knows no borders and the Nigerian Government must now follow our lead to stop innocent people dying and securing the area so that these people can rebuild their lives in safety – reducing the threat of radicalisation and migration for the UK at home.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Boko Haram has generated suffering, instability and poverty on a huge scale, with profound knock on effects far from Nigeria’s borders, and I am proud of Britain’s commitment to supporting the Nigerian people in tackling terror.

In Maiduguri I met casualties of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims, and saw for myself the displacement of people that brutality and poverty have created.

Our military, diplomatic and development assistance is making a big difference. The British military has to date trained 28,000 Nigerian troops, equipping them with skills to turn the tide against Boko Haram, while our humanitarian aid is alleviating widespread suffering. This is about helping a Commonwealth partner in its time of need as well as addressing the root causes of international challenges such as migration.

The new package of emergency relief announced today also includes the restoration of key infrastructure and services in north east Nigeria.

This includes giving children living in conflict zones an education, improving access to health care, helping smallholder famers to restore their livelihoods and produce food to generate higher incomes, and introducing innovative solar energy to power schools and health centres.

This longer term restoration work combined with our military support will enable the poorest and most vulnerable people to stand on their own two feet and rebuild their lives in safety.

Notes to Editors:

  • The £200 million support is an allocation of DFID Nigeria’s budget for four years from 2018 – 2022, building on our existing £100 million of humanitarian support for 2017 that the International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced earlier this year.
  • The programme will be delivered through capable and cost effective partners including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); UN agencies such as UNICEF, WFP, United Nations Humanitarian Air Service; INGOs and private sector partners.
  • This is part of a wider UK Government package of support in the north east including political, military and intelligence support to tackle Boko Haram, and reduce conflict and bring stability to the area – helping to reduce the threat of radicalisation and migration to the UK.
  • So far 500 UK military personnel have provided training to the Nigerian Armed Forces
  • Over 40 UK military personnel have been deployed to Nigeria on an enduring basis
  • Over 28,500 Nigerian military have been trained by the UK to date
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Press release: MMO and BSAC to review rules for lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear removal

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is pleased to announce that it will be working with the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) on behalf of UK recreational divers to further review and clarify the guidance and licence requirements associated with the removal of lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear from the sea bed.

On 17 August the MMO provided an update to the existing rules for recreational divers that are on the BSAC website and this update is also available on the MMO website. In response to public feedback the MMO also published a blog post which provided additional explanation on the latest update to the rules.

In both news releases the MMO set out its intention to work with stakeholders to further review the licensing requirements for recreational divers, specifically around the removal of marine litter and fishing equipment, in order to make the licensing process as clear and simple as possible. This engagement has now started and initial discussions between the MMO and BSAC have taken place.

Commenting on the matter Trudi Wakelin, MMO Director of Marine Licensing, said:

We appreciate the work of the diving community and other stakeholders in their efforts to remove lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear from the sea bed. These people volunteer their time and expertise because they share our passion to protect our seas.

We want to support these activities where possible, but need to ensure that they are carried out in a way that minimises the risk of any unintentional damage to the marine environment. This is why we are delighted to announce that we have already started discussions with BSAC as the UK’s leading dive club and the sport’s National Governing Body.

The initial discussions have been extremely useful and we look forward to building on this, to find a route that is beneficial to all parties going forward.

Endorsing the collaborative approach Maria Harwood, BSAC Vice Chair, said:

The diving community sees at first hand the damage that marine litter and abandoned fishing gear can cause to the marine environment, and we want to encourage recreational divers to help to clean our seas, without financial penalties.

We welcome the MMO’s willingness to engage and to refine this process, and look forward to some constructive discussions.

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News story: Personal applicants can now apply for probate online

HMCTS details how personal applicants can now apply for probate using new online service.

The Probate Service is now accepting online applications from personal applicants based on the criteria below:

  1. Only one executor is applying
  2. There is an original will available and the person who died did not leave an update to the will (codicil)
  3. The person who has died classed England and Wales as their permanent home or intended to return to England and Wales to live permanently

The online application form will continue to be developed to cover a broader range of probate applications in the future.

What the new online application provides

The new online application form includes:

  • a new statement of truth for you to declare that the information provided is correct, which removes the need for you to swear an oath in person
  • The function to pay the fee online removing the need to post a cheque to the Probate Service
  • A ‘save and return’ function allows you to save and revisit an application if you need to find further information. This allows a part finished application to be saved and completed later.

Online applications will be extended for solicitors and other professionals to apply later in 2017.

What is required in order to submit an online application?

The online application form is easier to understand but you will still be required to provide supporting documents as per the current process. These are:

  • The original will and two photocopies
  • The death certificate
  • The associated inheritance tax forms and figures
  • Any other supporting documents relevant to the case (e.g. a renunciation form)

We are looking to enhance this in the future, potentially through links with other departments to gather this information automatically as part of the process.

If you meet the criteria and would like to apply online please contact the HMRC helpline who can provide you with the details to apply online.

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News story: UK government committed to maximising economic opportunity in North Sea

New Energy Minister Richard Harrington has told oil and gas leaders they have the ‘full support’ of the UK government in maximising the economic opportunity in the North Sea during his first visit to the region in his new ministerial post.

The UK Energy Minister met and addressed oil and gas industry leaders at the Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) Forum and the Oil and Gas Joint Council as well as attending meetings on the Industrial Strategy’s role for supporting the sector and the prospect of Remote Islands Wind.

The Minister also listened to proposals from industry for an ambitious and deliverable oil and gas sector deal under the Industrial Strategy.

UK Energy Minister Richard Harrington said:

These are challenging but exciting times with new opportunities in North Sea oil and gas.

We are working with the sector to build on the £2.3 billion worth of UK government support through our modern Industrial Strategy.

I want to make it clear that the industry has full support of the UK government, and that we are continuing to create the right environment though a stable and supportive package to allow business, enterprise and jobs to flourish.

Over the past 50 years the oil and gas industry has extracted more than 43 billion barrels and current production accounts for over 50% of UK gas demand and around 65% of UK oil demand.

With 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil yet to be recovered by 2035, an estimated £140 billion additional gross revenue from production, and an additional £150 billion turnover from exports could be achieved if the industry is able to make the most of maximising recovery and accessing the global market for oil and gas goods and services.

In June, the first delivery of oil was delivered from one of the largest new drilling operations in the North Sea, following a £2 billion investment in the Kraken oilfield by oil and gas development and production company EnQuest. This was made possible by the UK government’s support for the sector.

Last month the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) opened its 30th Offshore Licensing Round, making awards to companies that promise to maximise economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources. The number of applications shows continued support and belief in the UK oil industry.

This morning Total announced that it has started-up production from the Edradour and Glenlivet fields off Shetland. Delivered ahead of schedule and under budget these projects will bring additional production capacity of up to 56,000 barrels of oil and is further evidence of confidence in the industry.

UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan said:

In my role as UK Government Minister for Scotland I will continue to fight to protect Scotland’s world class oil and gas industry. We’ve supported Aberdeen through £125m investment in the City and Region Deal, which was key to setting up the innovative Oil & Gas Technology centre I saw today.

The oil and gas industry can rest assured that the UK government will continue to do everything we can to support this critical sector of the Scottish and British economy.

Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority, said:

Today we held the MER UK Forum in Aberdeen and I very much value the continued close working with the oil and gas industry and strong support from the government. Together, this work is actively helping to maximise economic recovery and position the UK as an attractive basin to invest in, with significant remaining potential.

Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, said:

I welcome the Minister’s assurances that the industry has the full support of the UK government. The oil and gas industry has a critical role to play, helping meet the UK’s energy needs, generating revenue for the economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of UK jobs and other significant UK industries.

We look forward to working with the new energy minister to ensure that government policy like the Industrial Strategy and the UK Budget supports our own industry efforts to make the basin a competitive investment proposition.

While in Aberdeen the energy minister also met oil and gas apprentices and ex industry training instructors at the ASET International Oil & Gas Training Academy, a wholly-owned subsidiary company of North East Scotland College, and the Dynamic Advanced Response Training (DART) Simulator at Robert Gordon University.

Atholl Menzies, Chief Executive at ASET, said:

The ASET International Oil & Gas Training Academy plays a critical role in supporting the UK oil and gas sector through the skills development of personnel. We provide highly specialised oil and gas technical based vocational training, from new entrant to senior professional level and we train with market-leading technology and equipment including a live and integrated, replicated offshore production platform.

All of this will be brought together under the modern Industrial Strategy, and to ensure energy is as affordable as possible for consumers and businesses later this year the government will be publishing a road map to help businesses reduce their energy costs.

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