Archives for May 16th, 2003

CHANGES IN DISTRIBUTION OF THE SOCIAL WAGE

Features, PublicNet: 16 May, 2003

By Tom Sefton Health care and education make up the largest components of the social wage, which on average is worth 4000 pounds annually to every UK household. These benefits in kind have a particular relevance to polices for tackling social exclusion. This analysis of recent trends reveals that there has been an incremental shift in favour of lower income groups across all the major services, but tax and benefit policies overall have not prevented inequality from rising.



AGREEMENT EASES PUBLIC SECTOR ACCESS TO BROADBAND

Headlines, PublicNet: 16 May, 2003

An agreement has been reached which will support the government’s drive to widen access to high-speed broadband services for the public sector. The Office of Government Commerce has unveiled the Broadband Solutions Framework Agreement, which is designed to help public bodies to buy broadband connectivity and complementary services quickly and easily.The agreement has been established following a comprehensive procurement process and the OGC chief executive, Peter Gershon, said it would be of major benefit to government departments seeking to develop the use of broadband. It would reduce the time and effort needed to source broadband products as it offers value for money on quality goods and services without the need for separate tendering processes. Six companies have been chosen after all those bidding to be included in the agreement were assessed on quality and value.

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COUNCILS CRITICISED OVER BENEFIT PAYOUT DELAYS

Headlines, PublicNet: 16 May, 2003

Local councils have been criticised for taking too long to pay out housing benefits while other authorities in the same region are providing a much quicker service. Housing Benefits Minister Malcolm Wicks called for an end to the situation in which claimants in the same county can wait 28 or 101 days for their cash depending on where exactly they live.Quarterly performance figures show that while the poorest performing local authorities have improved overall, many are still taking too long to administer Housing Benefit and some have got worse.

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