Universities Minister Calls For Stronger Oversight Of Senior Pay

Jo Johnson met with sector leaders to outline his expectations for tackling senior staff pay at universities

Universities Minister Jo Johnson

Universities Minister Jo Johnson

More robust leadership is needed to address senior pay, the Universities Minister Jo Johnson told representatives from the country’s leading higher education institutions at a meeting today (Wednesday 13 November).

The Minister called on universities to deliver greater transparency and independence of remuneration committees, stricter oversight of severance pay, and the publication of the pay ratio of top to median salaries of all staff.

Minister Johnson addressed representatives from Universities UK, the Russell Group and the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) about the need for stronger public accountability, ensuring public confidence in the way universities are run. He also set out that university governance arrangements must be up-to-date and fit for purpose. The Minister welcomed UUK, CUC and Russell Group’s willingness to work together to tackle this issue at pace.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

It is vital that pay arrangements command public confidence and deliver value for money for students and taxpayers.

We need to see restraint that ends the upwards ratchet in pay and the use of benchmarks that are appropriate for a system in receipt of significant public funding.

The new Office for Students (OfS) will use its powers to ensure full transparency and accountability with respect to senior pay.

In January, the CUC will be publishing a new and robust Fair Remuneration Code, which Minister Johnson called for at the Universities UK conference in September 2017.

The Minister expects the following requirements to be included:

  • The procedure for developing senior staff remuneration should be fully transparent.
  • Vice Chancellors must not be a member of the remuneration committee that decides their own pay.
  • Remuneration committees should be constituted of members who are independent of the provider.
  • All providers should publish a clear and accurate pay ratio i.e. top (vice chancellor or equivalent) to median of all staff (including Academic staff, Professional Services staff and Professors).
  • There should be full disclosure of all senior staff benefits, including subsidised housing, expenses and any other non-taxable benefit.

The Minister believes that universities should start adhering to these principles of fair remuneration immediately.

From next year the new regulator, the OfS, will go further to ensure transparency and accountability from our universities, with justifications required for exceptional levels of pay above £150,000.

The Minister will be asking the OfS to write to all higher education providers to remind them of their responsibilities regarding good governance and public accountability.

MC11 Commonwealth Reception Speech By The Secretary Of State For International Trade

A speech by Dr. Liam Fox at MC 11, the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Argentina

Dr Liam Fox

Dr Liam Fox

Good evening.

It is a real pleasure to see so many of my ministerial colleagues and Heads of Delegation here tonight, hailing from all corners of the Commonwealth.

As I am sure you’re all aware, London has the honour of hosting next year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

It will be the largest Heads of Government meeting that the United Kingdom has ever hosted – a gathering of 52 Heads of State and leaders of Government who collectively represent a large proportion of the world’s population.

It is, of course, a gathering like no other.

The Commonwealth is a truly global organisation, encompassing states and citizens from every corner of the earth.

Yet unlike other multinational organisations brought together through practicality, the Commonwealth States share bonds of history, culture, family, and in some cases language.

The shared values and beliefs that these ties engender form the basis of relations that can often seem as social as they are diplomatic.

Although, England’s recent performance against Australia in the Ashes may test this last point somewhat.

The upshot is a vast amount of goodwill, a willingness to see our Commonwealth cousins succeed, and a genuine desire to work together to face the challenges of the future.

And of course, as we meet at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, we can all acknowledge that trade, and protecting the commercial freedoms that we have all enjoyed, is among the greatest of those challenges.

Indeed, our own Prime Minister, Theresa May, has identified trade liberalisation as one of her top priorities for next year’s summit.

Accompanying the leaders who will assemble in London will be thousands of businesses from all over the Commonwealth.

They will come to build networks, forge partnerships, and expand their operations to partners across the Commonwealth.

Intra-Commonwealth trade is currently estimated at $687 billion, an impressive figure. But the United Kingdom believes that there remains a vast amount of untapped commercial potential between our nations. Clearly, these businesses agree.

The Heads of Government meeting is our chance to redefine the trading relationship of the Commonwealth. For all our current successes, the Commonwealth is an underutilised economic resource. I have already touched on the particularly close relationship that our nations enjoy.

Such familiarity can clearly be the foundation of closer economic partnerships, as existing networks of friendship and family form the basis of new commercial opportunities.

And, as the United Kingdom negotiates its exit from the European Union, we have the opportunity to re-invigorate our Commonwealth partnerships, and usher in a new era where expertise, talent, goods, and capital can move unhindered between our nations in a way that they have not for a generation or more.

Too many commentators, some in Britain and some beyond, have an extremely negative view of Brexit, unable to see renewed opportunities including those that the UK can bring as an independent member of the World Trade Organization.

To those who take the gloomy view let me say this, Brexit is not a time bomb to be diffused but the opportunity for a bold and confident future mandated by the British public in a referendum. We should see it as a blueprint for an optimistic and outward looking future.

When our Prime Minister outlines her vision of Global Britain it doesn’t mean that we will be ignoring our European partners but rather we will be giving renewed attention to the opportunities we share with friends and allies alike beyond the boundaries of Europe.

For example there are those who claim that London may lose its pre-eminence as the world’s premier financial centre. I believe nothing could be further from the truth. The depth of professional infrastructure in financial services that London possesses cannot be easily replicated elsewhere nor can its regulatory system or international reputation.

Working alongside the UK, I believe that the Commonwealth has the potential, and the responsibility, to take a leading role in the defence of global commercial freedoms.

In an era when free trade is increasingly threatened by the siren call of protectionism, we have the opportunity to lead by example and reject insularity in favour of economic openness and cooperation.

I firmly believe that the strength of the Commonwealth lies in its diversity. Our members range from some of the largest and most populous countries on earth, to the smallest. Such variety presents disparate challenges, but also a wide range of experience.

Likewise, the different levels of economic development of our members should not be seen as detrimental. Instead, it is an opportunity for development – a chance to bring on our fellow members as new trading partners, and unleash their economic potential.

The UK believes that free and open trade is the greatest catalyst for poverty elimination and lasting economic development. That’s why the UK has been a proud supporter of the WTO’s work to support less developed countries to help their own businesses seize the economic opportunities that global trade brings.

Here at MC11, I was delighted to announce £18 million from the UK for WTOprogrammes to help less developed countries produce products fit for export and access untapped new markets which have the potential to create thousands of jobs and transform developing economies.

Development in the modern era must be about developing economic and commercial capacity – nurturing new industries in less developed countries in order to spread stability, prosperity and opportunity.

The Commonwealth of Nations, with all of our rich experience and expertise, can lead the world in developing this new approach. Development will no longer be about givers and receivers, but a partnership of equals, working together to realise our economic potential.

It is the United Kingdom’s ambition to become the leading global champion of free trade, using our economic and diplomatic influence to defend commercial freedoms. As we gather at MC11, we acknowledge that the first line of defence is the rules-based international trading system embodied by the WTO.

This was, of course, reiterated by the Statement on the multilateral trading system issued by Malta on behalf of the Commonwealth, where we reiterated our collective commitment to the WTO and its aims, and expressed our determination to work with all states to promote and defend the multilateral trading system.

Drafting this statement is just one aspect of the leadership that Malta have shown since hosting the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2015, and I would like to pay tribute to all the work that the Maltese have done on behalf of the Commonwealth of Nations. For the United Kingdom, it is clear that our own ambitions cannot be realised without the support of our Commonwealth partners.

In areas like E-commerce we have the opportunity to work together here in Buenos Aires and in the future. As I said in our national statement this morning; E-commerce and digital trade offer enormous opportunities for countries large and small, developed and developing – an empowering tool for women and SMEs in particular.

The Commonwealth’s common values and unshakable bonds will be an invaluable asset, as we prove to the world that trade promotes unity more than it sows division.

Next year’s Heads of Government meeting in London is our chance to showcase the Commonwealth’s ability to lead the response to global economic challenges, influencing global trade policy and setting an ambitious pace for the delivery of multilateral agreements.

Above all, we can show that, although we may be an organisation founded upon history, we have the dynamism, and the influence, to shape a global economic future.

Thank you.

Secretary Of State Appoints Ofcom Chair

Lord Terry Burns appointed as new Chair of Ofcom from January 2018

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Lord Terence Burns has been appointed by the Secretary of State as the new Chair of the Ofcom Board, for four years from 1 January 2018.

The term of the outgoing chair, Dame Patricia Hodgson, ends on 31 December 2017.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said:

I would like to thank Dame Patricia Hodgson for her many years of service and welcome Lord Burns as the new Ofcom Chair. The UK has a thriving telecommunications industry and a dynamic media landscape, and Lord Burns’ roles at Channel 4 and in government means he brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience to this vital role.

Lord Burns said:

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to take on this role at an important time for Ofcom. The UK communications sector provides essential services to everyone in the UK and is critical to the future success of the economy.

Lord Burns is Senior Adviser to Banco Santander and a non-executive member of the Office for Budget Responsibility. He is also a member of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee and Chairman of the Lord Speaker’s Committee on the Size of the House.

He was Chief Economic Advisor to the Treasury and Head of the Government Economic Service from 1980 to 1991 and Permanent Secretary to the Treasury from 1991 until 1998.

Previous appointments include Chairman of Santander UK plc, Channel 4 Television Corporation; Marks and Spencer plc, Welsh Water, the National Lottery Commission and The Royal Academy of Music.

From 2004 to 2006 he was Independent Adviser to the Secretary of State on the BBC Charter Review.

Vice President Attends Christmas Eve Celebration, Says Preserve Our Culture

Religion Is Personal, Culture A Way Of Life: M. Venkaiah Naidu

The Vice-President of India, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing at a Christmas celebration event organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), in New Delhi on December 12, 2017

New Delhi: The Vice-President of India, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu attended a Christmas celebration event organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) on Dec 12.

Stating that Christmas reminds us all to live up to the ideals and values preached and practiced by Jesus Christ, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu said Christmas is the festival of love, joy and sharing. It is a time to renew our commitment to love and serve our families, communities and society; to be just and transparent in our dealings; to promote social and economic inclusion of all; to promote lasting peace between people of different religions and cultures and to promote sustainable development, he added.

The Vice-President said every individual must revere his/her mother, mother tongue, birth place and motherland. Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said it is the duty of every Indian to preserve and protect our culture. Let me once again clarify that religion is personal, while culture is a way of life, he added.

Lauding that the Catholic community is a peace-loving community and has been working with every Government, both at the Centre and in the States, to promote people’s welfare, the Vice-President said the Catholic Church in India has been effectively contributing to the nation building process in a number of ways.

“As you all are aware, education is the most important tool for transformation of the society through enlightenment and empowerment. Education is meant to bring out all the good qualities of head and heart in an individual by instilling the values of compassion, morality and ethics. It must help in building character, enhancing capacity, promoting good conduct and patriotism,” the Vice-President said.

Applauding the social and welfare activities of the Chruch, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said the Catholic Church runs hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the remote areas of the country and serves millions of poor patients through its healthcare programmes. The Catholic communities in India along with the Christian community as a whole have been assiduously engaged in contributing their share to the building of a New India, which is united and strong, he said.

Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said the Feast of the birthday of Jesus – the Christmas – is a season of great joy and celebrations. During Christmas, the Christians express gratitude to God, greet one another with joy, peace and exchange gifts. Christmas is a joyful celebration of the Birthday of Jesus Christ and people all over the world, irrespective of caste, creed and nationality, celebrate Christmas with great joy and gaiety, he added.

“Jesus’ message is meant for all seasons, for all cultures, for all religions and for all nationalities. In fact, all religions preach love, peace, brotherhood and affection,” said Mr. Venkaiah Naidu.

(Source: PIB/GR/TYP/BIN/USPA/WN/IAIJ)

Shelter Press Notice And Comment: Grenfell Six Months On

Shelter UK

Shelter UK

Interview notice

Shelter spokespeople are available for interview on Thursday 14 December, six months on from Grenfell to discuss:

  • Current issues for survivors seen by Shelter advisers, including: concerns about moving into temporary accommodation, unclear rehousing processes and lack of communication, the need for greater mental health provision, worries about living in the shadow of the tower
  • That Kensington and Chelsea council needs to focus on winning back the trust of residents, alongside rehousing them
  • The need to address wider problems highlighted by Grenfell, including a lack of affordable housing, the powerlessness of people in council homes, and whether there has been a breakdown in trust between those in social housing and their landlords

Shelter comment

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “Six months on from the horror of Grenfell and there is still much to be done to aid the survivors and to ensure that nothing like it can ever happen again.

“We have seen first-hand the trauma survivors face and the scale of the challenge in rehousing them. The priority for the council must remain plugging the huge gaps in affordable housing so they can rehouse families as quickly as possible, while also ensuring survivors are free to reject homes if they aren’t right for them.

“At the same time we mustn’t ignore the wider issues brought to light by Grenfell and the breakdown in trust between those living in social housing and those meant to protect them. We need to address problems like the lack of social housing, the conditions people live in and the powerlessness that some social tenants feel or we’ll fail those desperate for change in the wake of this tragedy.”

ENDS

 

Contact: Shelter press office, 0207 505 2162 or 07850901142 (out of hours)

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