News story: Dean Beale appointed Chief Executive of the Insolvency Service

Following an open competition, Dean Beale has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Insolvency Service. He took up post on 2 December 2019.
Dean has been acting as interim chief executive since September. Prior to this, he was Direct…



National Statistics: Road fuel prices: 6 January 2020

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Detailed guide: Chemical Weapons Convention guidance

The Chemical Weapons Convention
The UK is one of 192 countries that have ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the first arms-control treaty to introduce a verifiable ban on an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
The CWC entered into…



Policy paper: National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage: government response to the Low Pay Commission’s Autumn 2019 recommendations

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has recommended that the hourly rates should increase in April 2020:
from £8.21 to £8.72 for workers aged 25 and over (the National Living Wage)
from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21 to 24 year olds
from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18 to 20 ye…



Press release: Energy users save £1 billion on bills in 2019

  • government’s energy price cap safeguards 11 million people, often the most vulnerable and elderly, from overpaying on their gas and electricity
  • combined saving of as much as £1 billion on energy bills in the first year of the price cap
  • new data also shows 4.4 million electricity and 3.6 million gas customers switched supplier in first 9 months of 2019, saving even more

11 million customers have saved as much as £1 billion on their energy bills in 2019, according to new data to mark the first anniversary of the government’s energy price cap.

Research has shown that the cap has saved families on default energy tariffs around £75 to £100 on dual fuel bills this year. This comes as the government pledges to build on the success of the price cap and do more to lower energy bills including by investing £9.2 billion in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals and giving the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) enhanced powers to tackle consumer rip-offs and bad business practices.

However, with around 60 suppliers now competing in the retail energy market, consumers who switch can still make the biggest savings. Around 4.4 million electricity customers switched supplier in the 9 months to September 2019. Around 3.6 million gas customers switched. Typical households would have saved an average of around £290 on their bills if moving to one of the cheapest deals.

In order to shield those least likely to shop around – including the elderly and most vulnerable – from being charged extra on their dual fuel bills the government introduced the energy price cap on 1 January 2019.

Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

Our bold action to ensure all consumers pay a fair price for their energy is making a real difference to the budgets of up to 11 million households and driving increased competition and innovation in the market which will help keep bills down.

Record numbers of customers have also decided to switch suppliers this year saving themselves an average of around £290 on their bills.

Chief Executive of Ofgem Dermot Nolan said:

The price caps give consumers who are on default deals peace of mind that they pay a fair price for their energy. Ofgem set the cap at a level which required suppliers to cut energy bills by around £1 billion.

Consumers can save more money this winter by shopping around for a better deal. While the cap remains in place, Ofgem will continue to work with government and industry to put in place reforms to get the energy market working for more consumers.

Notes to editors

Research by the Competition and Markets Authority has shown that consumers had been overpaying the ‘Big Six’ energy companies some £1.4 billion a year.

The price cap, continuing through 2020, is set by energy watchdog Ofgem, which review it every 6 months to reflect changes in the cost of supplying energy. This ensures those who do not shop around, often elderly and low-income households, are protected from paying over the odds.

The latest ceiling was set by Ofgem at £1,179 per year for a typical dual fuel bill paid by direct debit.


News story: Government announces pay rise for 2.8 million people

  • Annual pay rise of up to £930 for a full time worker.
  • National Living Wage (NLW) increasing from £8.21 to £8.72.
  • New NLW rate starts on 1 April 2020 and applies to over 25 years olds.

Low-paid workers will receive a 6.2% pay rise with a new National Living Wage (NLW) of £8.72 per hour, the biggest cash increase ever, the Government has announced today.

Nearly 3 million workers are set to benefit from the increases to the NLW and minimum wage rates for younger workers, according to estimates from the independent Low Pay Commission. The rise means Government is on track to meet its current target for the NLW to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020.

The new rate starts on 1 April 2020 and results in an increase of £930 over the year for a full-time worker on the National Living Wage. Younger workers who receive the National Minimum Wage will also see their pay boosted with increases of between 4.6% and 6.5%, dependant on their age, with 21-24 year olds seeing a 6.5% increase from £7.70 to £8.20 an hour.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Hard work should always pay, but for too long, people haven’t seen the pay rises they deserve.

Our government will put a stop to that, giving nearly three million people from Edinburgh to Eastbourne a well-earned pay rise, including the biggest ever cash boost to the National Living Wage.

But that’s not all. As we enter a new decade, we’re setting our sights higher, to help people earn more over the next five years and level up access to opportunity across our great country.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said:

We want to end low pay and put more money in the pockets of hard-working families. This latest rise will mean that since we introduced the National Living Wage in 2016, the lowest paid will have had a wage increase of more than £3,600.

But we want to do more to level up and tackle the cost of living, which is why the NLW will increase further to £10.50 by 2024 on current forecasts.

Business and Energy Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said:

We want to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. Employment is at a record high and as well as investing to meet that ambition, we also want to make sure that people get to keep more of what they earn.

Our people’s pay rise will put more money into the pockets of millions of hard-working Brits across the country – but we won’t stop there. We want to make the UK the first country in the world to eliminate low pay in the next five years.

The Government has fully accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations after they consulted stakeholders such as unions, businesses and academics, before recommending the NLW and NMW rates to the Government. In September the Chancellor pledged to increase the NLW towards a new target of two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, provided economic conditions allow, which, on current forecasts, would make it around £10.50 per hour.

The introduction of the NLW has already delivered the fastest pay rise for the lowest earners in 20 years, putting more cash into the pockets of those who need it the most. Supported by the NLW, the lowest paid saw their wages grow by 8% above inflation between April 2015 and April 2018.

The Chancellor has also announced his plans to expand the reach of the National Living Wage to cover workers aged 23 and over from April 2021, and to those aged 21 and over within five years. This is expected to benefit around 4 million low paid workers.

The Government will set out more details on the future policy framework, including the important role of the independent Low Pay Commission, by the Spring.

Further information

2020 NMW/NLW rates increases

The increased rates were recommended by the Low Pay Commission, an independent body that advises the government about the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage.

The National Living Wage (for over 25 year olds) will increase 6.2% from £8.21 to £8.72.

The National Minimum Wage will rise across all age groups, including:

  • A 6.5% increase from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21-24 year olds
  • A 4.9% increase from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18-20 year olds
  • A 4.6% increase from £4.35 to £4.55 for Under 18s
  • A 6.4% increase from £3.90 to £4.15 for Apprentices

The £930 increase in annual earnings compares the gross annual earnings of a person working 35 hours per week on the new NLW rate from April (£8.72) versus the 2018/19 NLW rate (£8.21). The £3,680 increase in annual earnings compares the gross annual earnings of a person working 35 hours per week on the new NLW rate from April (£8.72) versus the 2015/16 minimum wage rate (£6.70).


Research and analysis: Ambient gamma radiation dose rates across the UK

Published 22 January 2013
Last updated 30 December 2019 + show all updates

  1. 30 December 2019 July to September 2019 mobile and fixed RIMNET data added.
  2. 16 July 2019 2019 Quarter 2 data for fixed and mobile monitors added.
  3. 4 April 2019 2019 Q1 data for fixed and mobile monitors added.
  4. 10 January 2019 2018 Quarters 3 and 4, ‘Ambient gamma radiation dose rates across the UK’ added
  5. 23 July 2018 Quarterly data for April to June 2018 (quarter 2 2018) published.
  6. 18 June 2018 Quarterly data for January to March 2018 published.
  7. 19 October 2017 Data for Q1 and Q2 2017 published.
  8. 10 January 2017 Q4 2016 ambient gamma radiation dose rates across the UK.
  9. 22 January 2013 First published.

Corporate report: Electricity transmission networks: major projects update

Published 12 February 2018
Last updated 30 December 2019 + show all updates

  1. 30 December 2019 Major projects December 2019 added.
  2. 30 September 2019 Transmission Owner major projects status update and Major projects status update: September 2019 added.
  3. 30 July 2019 Added project status updates for June 2019.
  4. 22 March 2019 Added project status updates for March 2019.
  5. 16 January 2019 Added project status updates for December 2018.
  6. 4 October 2018 Added project status updates for June and September 2018.
  7. 5 April 2018 Added project status update for March 2018.
  8. 12 February 2018 First published.

News story: UK satellites to help lead the fight against climate change

  • new government-backed virtual satellite data centre will analyse the impact climate change is having on the UK, help shape policies on reducing carbon emissions, and contribute to reaching net zero targets
  • 50 new PhD researchers and £5 million investment to enable use of satellite images to better predict future weather trends and protect communities from flooding and pollution
  • Earth Observation experts from the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds will work with 18 businesses on pioneering work to monitor the impact of climate change

Ministers today (30 December) announced backing for ground-breaking research analysing satellite images that will better predict the future impact of climate change in towns and cities and inform future government action.

A new £5 million satellite data centre involving the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds will use cutting-edge satellite technology to help combat climate change, including helping lower the risk of people being affected by flooding. The data centre will bring together 50 of the UK’s brightest and best PhD researchers to help solve climate change.

Measurements from satellites on rising sea levels, greenhouse gases and shrinking glaciers and forests will help provide policy makers, government and industry with the data and knowledge they need to better understand the impact of climate change and make future predictions.

This knowledge and data could lead to the adaptation of preventative measures for vulnerable areas such as installing flood defences to protect coastal towns, identifying areas increasingly at risk of flooding and monitoring pollution levels in towns and cities.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change and we have set the bar high, as the first country to legislate to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, and the fastest in the G20 to cut emissions.

This new satellite data centre will give us instant images showing us the true impact of climate change and in doing so, help us develop innovative new ways of tackling it.

Dr Anna Hogg, co-director of the centre in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, said:

Earth observation satellites collect hundreds of terabytes of data per day, delivering important information about how fast glaciers flow, the size of forest fires in the Amazon, and the quality of the air that we breathe.

We have a fantastic opportunity to grow the community of researchers with the skills and knowledge to measure the how our environment is changing.

Dr Edward Mitchard, centre leader at the University of Edinburgh, said:

We are looking for outstanding candidates from environmental science, maths, physics, engineering and computer science disciplines to undertake a PhD in this exciting and innovative centre.

The students will belong to a happy, inclusive and stimulating research environment, with supervision from world-leading earth observation scientists.

The 50 new PhD researchers will work closely with experts from UK universities at Leeds and Edinburgh as well as leading Earth Observation scientists and industry-leaders.

The Centre for Satellite Data in Environmental Science (SENSE), is a virtual academic collaboration and is being established with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). It will work with 18 businesses and partners, including Airbus and Unilever, who will co-fund, co-design and co-supervise 42 of the PhD research projects.

Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC, said:

The researchers will support cutting-edge scientific discovery, new data-based products and new Earth observation technologies that will provide benefits to society.

Working with the UK Space Agency gives students unique opportunities to engage with the wider community.

Beth Greenaway, Head of Earth Observation and Climate at the UK Space Agency, said:

We are at the forefront of innovative new technology for measuring our planet from space.

We have many of the world’s leading scientists and academics who can use this data for new discoveries, and we have a commercial sector able to build the space missions and create services for the public and private sector.

The rapid growth of the Earth Observation sector means we need to attract thousands of people with the right skills over the next 10 years.

Notes to editors

The new centre will be funded by £2.3 million funding over 3 years from NERC’s core grant with money from UK Space Agency for specific student activity support. This is matched by £3.4 million additional funding from business/industry as well as the universities own funds.

The independent ‘UK space industry: size and health report’, published in January 2019, showed that, compared to the 2016 survey Earth Observation services, such as data for monitoring land use and agriculture, is a significant growth area, supporting £92 billion of GDP and growing at a rate of 25% per year.

At the 2019 European Space Agency Ministerial Council in November the UK Space Agency committed over £200 million of investment in Earth Observation, including a UK-led TRUTHS mission to help tackle climate change and the ESA Copernicus Space Component, which runs to 2028.

(Image credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016 to 2018), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO).


Business Growth Grant – Leicestershire

How much can you get

£2,000 to £25,000

Who it’s for

SMEs trading over 12 months who are looking to scale up.

What you can get

Grants from £2,000 to £25,000 providing 35% towards capital projects.

Support from a Business Gateway adviser throughout the application process. ERDF exclusions apply, speak to an adviser for further details.

Find out more on the Business Gateway website

Published 23 December 2019