News story: Innovate UK appointments confirmed

The appointments of Gerard Grech, Priya Guha and Simon Devonshire have been confirmed today (21 April 2017) by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Innovate UK finds and drives science and technology opportunities that will grow the UK’s economy – delivering productivity, new jobs and exports and keeping the country globally competitive in the race for future prosperity.

The board regularly reviews the management and performance of Innovate UK and ensures the organisation delivers its strategic priorities and that resource is allocated effectively in the delivery of these objectives.

Gerard Grech is currently the chief executive officer of Tech City UK, an organisation focused on accelerating the growth of digital businesses in London and across cities in the UK.

Priya Guha is Ecosystem General Manager of RocketSpace, a London start-up space. Priya was a UK diplomat for 20 years, with her most recent post being British Consul General to San Francisco.

Simon Devonshire OBE is co-founder of Talent Cupboard and was Entrepreneur in Residence at the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

These appointments have been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

News story: Acas council reappointments confirmed

The reappointment to the Acas Council of the 4 members has been confirmed today (21 April 2017) by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. It supports good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success.

The Acas Council sets the strategic direction, policies and priorities for the organisation, and makes sure that the organisation meets its agreed strategic objectives and targets. It consists of the Chair and 11 employer, trade union and independent members, appointed by the Secretary of State.

Sir Brendan Barber, Chair of the Acas Council said:

I am delighted that the Acas Council will continue to benefit from my colleagues’ invaluable experience in the field of employment relations. They play an essential role as independent and impartial workplace experts.

I look forward to working with them for another 3 years strengthening our reputation as Britain’s number one employment relations service for businesses and employees.

Biographies

Jane McNeill QC

Jane McNeill is a member and former Head of Old Square Chambers, a leading employment set of chambers. She has been involved in many important and test cases in the fields of employment and discrimination law, including the part-time workers’ pensions (Preston) litigation, the test cases in the Supreme Court and Court of Justice of the European Union concerning the calculation of holiday pay (Williams v BA) and the equal pay litigation.

She has acted for individuals, groups of individuals and NHS Trusts in cases at first instance and appellate level involving whistleblowing and the interpretation and implementation of disciplinary processes and procedures.

She has been a Queen’s Counsel since 2002, a fee-paid Employment Judge since 2000 and has sat as a Recorder in the County Court since 2006. She is an accredited and practising mediator.

Mike Gooddie

Mike is Director of Human Resources for the Canal & River Trust, prior to that he was vice president of Labour Relations for Asda.

Mike began his career with Shell as a graduate trainee working in both the UK and Australia, before progressing on to senior HR positions with British Airways, GNER and the BBC. He has held non-executive positions for Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Community Integrated Care (CIC) and York Archaeological Trust (YAT). He is a graduate of Leicester University and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA).

Neil Carberry

Neil Carberry is Director for Employment, Skills and Public Services at the CBI, a role he has held since February 2011. Neil has worked at the CBI for the past decade on a wide range of business issues, including employment, employee relations, pay, education, skills and public service reform.

He is a member of the CBI’s Management Board. Before joining the CBI, Neil worked in consultancy on HR issues for financial services firms. He is a member of the Low Pay Commission, which makes recommendations about the level of the UK’s National Minimum Wage. He has an MSc in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. He is the Chair of BusinessEurope’s Employment Working Group.

Paul Nowak

Paul Nowak was appointed Assistant General Secretary of the TUC in February 2013, and was subsequently confirmed as Deputy General Secretary by the TUC General Council in February 2016.

He has responsibility for a number of key policy areas including public services and transport, and for the TUC’s organisation in the English regions and Wales, union organising, inter-union relations and the organisation of the TUC’s annual Congress.

These reappointments have been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

News story: Lord Robert Smith named new chairman of the British Business Bank

Business Minister Margot James has today (21 April 2017) announced the appointment of the Lord Smith of Kelvin as the new non-executive chairman of the British Business Bank.

Lord Robert Smith joins the UK’s national development bank for businesses with over 20 years of chairman experience, most recently as Chair of the Green Investment Bank and of the Scotland Devolution Commission. Lord Smith would begin the role following the successful completion of the sale of the Green Investment Bank, officially taking over from interim Chair, Christina McComb.

Business Minister Margot James said:

With a wealth of knowledge and experience of venture and development capital, I am pleased to be announcing that Lord Robert Smith is joining the British Business Bank.

The British Business Bank plays a crucial role in helping the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses access the finance they need, which will be a great match with Lord Robert Smith’s evident passion for, and background in, supporting the UK’s start-ups and small businesses. I would also like to pay thanks to Christina McComb who has acted as interim Chair for the Bank during the search for a new Chair.

The British Business Bank manages government’s access to finance programmes for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), ensuring finance markets work for smaller businesses, allowing them to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

The government’s Industrial Strategy is committed to further improving access to finance across the country, with a £400 million government investment into the bank announced in the government’s autumn statement in 2016. This is expected to attract £1 billion of private sector equity finance, to help small businesses access the capital they need to scale-up.

Keith Morgan, CEO of the British Business Bank, said:

We are pleased Lord Smith will become our new Chairman. Lord Smith’s impressive track record of leadership and his depth of experience will be invaluable to the Bank as it enters a new period of growth and development.

Interim Chair Christina McComb took up the position after the inaugural Chairman Ron Emerson stepped down in September 2016. The British Business Bank is currently supporting more than 54,000 businesses, working with over 90 finance partners. Its programmes support over £3.4 billion of finance to UK smaller businesses and participate in a further £5.1 billion of finance to UK small mid-cap businesses.

News story: Non-executive director appointment to the National Nuclear Laboratory

This appointment takes effect from 21 April 2017. The decision was taken on the basis that:

  • Ms Flint’s skills and experience closely match the needs identified by a recent independent board review
  • her service a non-executive director associate has established her not only as an excellent and clearly appointable candidate but as the likely appointee if the post were advertised and competed
  • NNL is currently undergoing a major programme of business transformation and Ms Flint’s in-depth knowledge of this will be very helpful in the next 2 and a half years, and also help ensure board continuity
  • Ms Flint’s appointment would ensure improved gender diversity in the non-executive side of the board
  • the time, effort and expense involved in running a competitive recruitment would represent poor value and that a direct appointment is a sensible and a pragmatic course of action

National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)

News story: Non-Executive Director appointment to the Office for Nuclear Regulation

Biography

Oona began her career in the Ministry of Defence where her roles included Director of Communications during the 1999 Kosovo campaign and Director General for Organisational Change across MoD. After senior executive roles in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Local Government Organisation she became Chief Executive of the South East England Development Agency in 2011. She also chaired the Nations and Regions Group (South East) for the 2012 London Olympic Games Organising Committee. Among other current roles Oona is a Trustee of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

Further information

For more information about the Office for Nuclear Regulation see: www.onr.org.uk.

News story: Trade unions to face new fines of up to £20,000 for breaking governance laws

Trade unions are set to face new fines of up to £20,000 for breaking governance laws under plans being consulted on by the government.

Under the proposals, the union regulator, the Certification Officer, will be able to issue fines of up to £20,000 for breaking the law including serious breaches of election rules or mismanagement of their political funds.

Currently the Certification Officer cannot impose a financial penalty, instead issuing a declaration or an enforcement order if a union breaches its statutory obligations under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

The new proposed powers the Certification Officer will be able to fine unions for breaches like:

  • failing to ensure senior positions are not held by someone with a criminal record
  • breaching requirements for elections to senior positions
  • mismanagement of political funds

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

Trade unions exist to represent workers’ interests and make decisions which can affect millions of people’s lives, so it is right for the government to ensure they are run responsibly.

The proposed powers will make sure unions are properly regulated in the future to ensure they truly represent the interests of their members.

The government is consulting on these powers as agreed during the passage of the Trade Union Act last year.

The majority of the Act’s new powers came into force on 1 March, bringing in tougher ballot requirements for industrial action – particularly for important public services like health, education and transport.

This will save more than 1.5 million working hours a year from being lost to undemocratic strike action.

The consultation on the Certification Officer’s powers will run for 6 weeks from 9 April until 21 May.

Further information

  1. The Certification Officer is responsible for regulating statutory functions relating to trade unions and employers’ associations.
  2. The Certification Officer’s complaint rulings are published online.
  3. The Trade Union Act which came into force on 1 March, is expected to reduce strikes:
    • on important public services like transport, education and health by 35%
    • in all other sectors from construction to water supply by 29%

News story: Clean energy projects receive £24 million to keep towns warm

The £24 million is spread across projects from Sheffield to Somers Town, which will soon help warm homes and businesses with low carbon energy.

This is the first round of funding from a £320 million pot set aside to support heat networks, which have been dubbed ‘central heating for cities’ and have the potential to reduce heating costs in some cases by more than 30%.

The networks remove the need for individual properties to have their own boilers by linking them to a single heat source.

Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd said:

This Government is committed to ensuring a clean, secure and affordable energy supply for communities and businesses across the country.

Energy innovations like heat networks can cut costs for households and reduce carbon emissions, as almost half of the energy we use goes towards heating our homes and buildings.

The £24 million in Government funding awarded to these projects will help deliver low carbon energy at competitive prices for local consumers.

Nine of the winning authorities will receive a share of just over £24 million of capital funding to support the building of their projects, with around £200K in early stage funding for a further four authorities to develop their plans. This will build a pipeline of high quality projects ready to compete for future rounds of capital funding.

Winning entries at the building stage include four projects in London, two in Manchester and one each in Sheffield, Crawley and Colchester. Support was won at the planning stage by projects in Trafford, Islington, Buckinghamshire and Middlesbrough.

Heat networks use technologies such as biomass boilers, heat pumps, energy from waste, combined heat and power (CHP) plants and even heat from deep below the earth’s crust. They can also use recycled waste heat from places like factories, power stations and even the London Underground and pump it into homes and businesses to keep them warm.

The scheme will run over five years and is expected to enable up to 200 heat networks to be built, while leveraging around £2 billion of wider public and private investment.

Heat networks have already been used successfully in the UK, and are popular across Scandinavian cities for keeping homes warm in winter. The winners of this pilot will now begin to build their projects, with further funding available over the next four years to support hundreds more. The department aims to launch the main funding scheme by the end of 2017.

Notes to Editors

  1. This initial funding was open to local authorities in England and Wales and public sector bodies who submitted applications last November. The total value of the fund over five years is £320m and in future years this will be opened up to a wider set of applicants. More information about applying for the scheme.

  2. The estimated 30% reduction in heating costs is sourced from AECOM (2015) Assessment of the Costs, Performance, and Characteristics of UK Heat Networks. It compares estimated heat price for a small flat (10.24p/kWh) with average heat price from heat networks studied (6.43p/kWh) – pp. 35-36.

  3. The nine winning projects will receive a share of just over £24 million, and will build networks using a variety of technologies:
    • Sheffield District Energy Network development- Energy from waste plant
    • Somers Town (Phase 2), Camden- Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
    • Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network- Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
    • Colchester Northern Gateway- Heat pump
    • Wood Street South, Waltham Forest, London- Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
    • Becontree, Barking & Dagenham- Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
    • Church Street District Heating Scheme, Westminster- Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
    • Crawley Town Centre Heat Network- Biomass boiler and Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
    • St Johns Heat Network, Manchester- Gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
  4. An energy from waste plant burns refuse such as household and garden waste to generate electricity and/or heat.

  5. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants produce both heat and power simultaneously, often using reciprocating engines and water jackets to collect the heat. Combining generation of heat and power in this way can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30%.

  6. A heat pump takes heat from the environment (e.g. air, ground, water but in this case heat from ground water), boosts it with a pump and it is then circulated to buildings on the network.

  7. A biomass boiler burns sustainable wood product e.g. pellets or chips to create heat.

News story: Low Carbon Contracts and Electricity Settlements Company reappointments

The Energy Secretary Greg Clark has reappointed Dr Martin Read CBE as Chair of the Low Carbon Contracts Company and the Electricity Settlements Company.

He will continue to be supported in these roles by Jim Keohane, who has been reappointed as Senior Independent Director of both companies.

The Low Carbon Contracts Company and Electricity Settlements Company are Government companies established in 2014 to help deliver Contracts for Difference and the Capacity Market. These schemes are designed to incentivise the investment required in our electricity infrastructure to deliver clean and reliable electricity supplies, whilst minimising costs to customers.

These reappointments have been made in accordance with guidance issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

News story: UK-India economic and trade relations to take centre stage on two-day visit

The Chancellor will be joined by a senior business delegation including leaders from UK FinTech and financial services firms, as well as FinTech envoy Eileen Burbidge, the Commercial Secretary Baroness Neville-Rolfe and International Trade Minister Mark Garnier. Less than a week after the triggering of Article 50, the talks will also focus on the future of UK-India trade relations.

The Chancellor will participate in high-level talks aimed at deepening the UK’s economic and trading relationship with India and showcasing Britain as one of the best places in the world to do business.

Building on the Prime Minister’s ambitious vision for the India-UK Strategic Partnership last November, the 9th EFD will involve a series of events over a two-day period, including discussions on trade, financial services, and infrastructure. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and the CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Bailey, will also take part in the dialogue with Mr Jaitley.

The Dialogue itself will take place in Delhi will also focus on how the UK and India can forge a stronger strategic partnership together.

In Mumbai, the Chancellor will meet Indian FinTech start-ups at Barclays RISE, as well as the Chairman of Mahindra group, and will give a speech at the UK-India FinTech conference.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said:

As we prepare to leave the European Union, it is more important than ever that we strengthen our relationship with India, one of the world’s leading economies and one of our oldest friends and allies.

Our trade and investment relationship is already strong – the UK has been the largest G20 investor in India during the last 10 years and India is a leading global investor in the UK, creating over 7,000 new jobs last year alone, but there is much more we can do. I am looking forward to positive and productive talks with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his team.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark said:

As we deliver on the shared commitment to provide sustainable, secure and affordable energy in both our countries, the India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue will enable us to explore the immense shared economic opportunities lying ahead.

India invests more in the UK than in the rest of the EU combined, while the UK is the biggest G20 investor in India. I look forward to discussing how the UK government’s Industrial Strategy will increase the prospects for shared trade, investment and energy innovation between our two great countries.

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

The UK is a great, global trading nation and we are determined to strengthen our relationship with old friends like India as part of our plan for Britain.

Nowhere is this more true than in financial services, where the UK’s world leading financial sector is helping to support growth all over India.

I want this to continue long into the future and I am therefore delighted that we are deepening our collaboration in FinTech to advance cooperation in this fast-growing sector.

HM Treasury’s special envoy for FinTech, Eileen Burbidge said:

It’s brilliant to see so many FinTech-related initiatives announced as part of this Economic Financial Dialogue. Since the UK is the world’s leading FinTech hub, we look forward to supporting the growing FinTech ecosystem of India – and exchanging ideas, talent and investment between our two countries.

As the UK regulator deepens its cooperation with India this is an important signal to UK FinTech companies, SMEs and larger financial services institutions alike, and I find it encouraging that this collaboration will now be made even easier.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for International Trade, Mark Garnier said:

The UK and India enjoy a strong trading relationship, we are the largest G20 investor in India and in 2015-16 India was the UK’s second biggest job creator. With the world’s largest young population and an ambitious reform agenda, there are huge opportunities for UK businesses as we have the skills, expertise and technology to meet India’s demands. As we prepare to leave the EU, we will continue to ensure our businesses seize the global demand for British goods and services and I look forward to discussing how we can forge even stronger links with this key trading partner.

In the same week Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will participate in the first-ever India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue and meet with his Ministerial Counterparts to deepen energy cooperation between the two countries. Through the Dialogue, India and the UK will agree priority areas for bilateral collaboration and a business delegation of over 40 companies will explore commercial opportunities.

Since 2000 the UK has invested over £19 billion in India, more than the US or any other European country and Indian companies play a major part in the success of the UK economy. Many of these operate in fast growths sectors such as technology & telecoms (32%), pharmaceuticals (19%) and financial services (10%).

Ministers will showcase how Britain is open for business by making a series of announcements on including:

  • Encouraging more City of London investment into India’s rapidly growing energy and renewables market, through a UK-India sub-fund of India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. With an a core investment of £120 million from each government, this will aim to raise £500 million for vital Indian infrastructure projects
  • Increased collaboration between the UK and Indian Fintech sectors – taking forward a regulatory cooperation agreement that will make it easier to share information about innovations, emerging trends and regulatory issues and make it easier to invest in FinTech in both India and the UK
  • Chevening Financial Services Scholarships – eight top Indian financial services leaders of the future will attend an eight week intensive course in financial services in London in spring. Standard Chartered is sponsoring the scholarships, which is being supported through the Government’s Chevening scheme

A number of commercial deals are expected to be signed during the visit, creating and securing jobs at home and demonstrating market confidence in the strength of the British economy.

These include:

  • Mumbai based Indsur Group, will invest £12 million in UK-based Western Thermal Limited, creating 100 jobs in the UK
  • Barclays will create a UK-India Fintech Exchange Programme, where three Fintech start-ups from both the UK and India will travel out to each other’s countries and work closely with mentors and finance professionals. Barclays Rise Accelerator Mumbai, the successful scheme to support Fintech start-ups, will now expand and take in firms continuously from around the world, including the UK
  • Lloyd’s of London will welcome the opening of its Indian reinsurance branch in Mumbai and the successful registration of MS Amlin as the first Lloyd’s syndicate to operate there, which will provide speciality reinsurance protection onshore in India for the first time
  • World First, a UK-based foreign exchange company, will announce that they are opening their first office in Bangalore in autumn 2017, with plans to handle half a billion pounds in international transfers by 2020.
  • HDFC, a leading Indian financial conglomerate, will issue a £400 million masala bond as part of a new Medium Term Note programme listed on the London Stock Exchange
  • Arecor, a leading UK formulation technology research company, will sign a £45 million licencing agreement with Cadila Pharmaceuticals to research and develop insulin glargine for diabetes.
  • AstraZeneca, one of the UK’s leading biopharmaceutical companies invested in a Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Chennai two years ago with more than 2,000 employees. The company will announce a further expansion of this GTC this month with the opening of a new facility that will focus on IT and non-IT services
  • WealthObjects a UK company that provides a B2B Robo Advisory, Financial Planning and Engagement ready-made platform or modular APIs for Consumer Banks, Fund Managers, Investment firms, and Insurance firms. This helps firms launch a customised and automated digital wealth proposition faster and at a fraction of the cost. WealthObjects will shortly be launching these in India to add to their growing list of clients
  • With its fourth global FinTech program, Startupbootcamp will continue its objective of fostering collaboration between corporates and startups in financial innovation by announcing its first cohort of start-ups from its Mumbai programme

List of delegates

  • Mark Carney, Governor, BoE
  • Andrew Bailey, CEO, FCA
  • Chris Woolard, Executive Director, FCA
  • Gerry Grimstome, Standard Life
  • John Nelson, Lloyd’s of London
  • Chris Davies, CEO HSBC International
  • Nikhil Rathi, CEO, LSE
  • Ashu Khullar, Co-head Corporate Banking EMEA, Cit Group
  • John Laws, Managing Director, Head of Regulatory and Government Relations, Asia Pacific, Barclays
  • Eileen Burbidge, Partner, Passion Capital and HM Treasury FinTech Envoy
  • Christoph Rieche, Co-founder Iwoca Ltd
  • Sajeev Viswanathan, Earthport
  • Rohit Bammi, Earthport
  • Kristo Kaarman, Co-founder, TransferWise
  • Husayn Kassai, Onfido
  • Nikhil Saigal, Onfido
  • Kush Patel, Tallysticks
  • Raj Pofale, SCA
  • Alistair Tebbit, RELX
  • Jeff Parker, Managing Director for Asia-Pacific, World First
  • Emma Davis, WorldFirst
  • Rahul Tripathy, Fundaura
  • Uday Bhaskar, WealthObjects
  • Julie Lake, FinTech50

News story: £290 million boost for clean energy in Britain

Renewable energy developers will compete for £290m worth of contracts to support the growth of clean energy in Britain, as the second Contracts for Difference auction launches today (3 April).

Contracts for Difference are won through a competitive process which drives down energy costs for consumers and guarantees companies a certain price for the low-carbon electricity they produce over 15 years. This gives them the support and certainty they need to attract investment and get projects off the ground.

The contracts made available today represent the first part of the Government’s commitment to provide up to £730m of annual support for renewable electricity projects over the course of this parliament. They support a key pillar of the Industrial Strategy by ensuring a cleaner, more flexible energy supply.

Energy Minister Jesse Norman said:

This auction underlines that Britain is open for business to companies seeking to invest in low carbon energy.

It is designed to deliver clean power to a million homes, create jobs in the energy industry and provide new supply chain opportunities, while reducing carbon emissions by some 2.5 million tonnes per year.

The scheme is funded through a levy which forms a part of energy bills and only projects that offer the best value for money will win contracts. There is no cost on energy bills until projects are up and running and generating low-carbon energy.

The auction process starts today and will continue over the coming months. It is expected to draw to a close by the autumn, when the winners of the auction and final clearing prices will be announced.

There has been £52bn of investment in renewable energy in the UK since 2010, and for the first time ever exactly half of the UK’s electricity came from low carbon sources in the third quarter of 2016. The latest contracts will help the UK build on this success.

Additional information

The UK is making significant progress in reducing harmful carbon emissions. Provisional figures released last week show the UK is halfway to meeting its 2050 target for greenhouse gases reduction, with emissions 42% lower than in 1990.

View the documents relating to the Contracts for Difference auction

National Grid is the Delivery Body for Contracts for Difference, responsible for publishing application/allocation guidelines and running the Contracts for Difference allocation process.

Details about how developers can apply

For media queries please contact Tim Malone on 020 7215 6140 or tim.malone2@beis.gov.uk.