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Issue:- 21 March 2013


PETS at Home stores in Merseyside are introducing a series of microchipping events over the coming months, following the introduction of Government legislation making it compulsory for all dogs in England and Wales to be microchipped by April 2016.  The new law, announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), details that it will be the responsibility of dog owners to ensure their pet is microchipped and there will be fines for non-compliance. It will also be an owner's responsibility to keep their contact details up to date on the national microchip database.  To help pet owners comply with the new legalisation and make the transition as easy as possible, Pets at Home stores in Bromborough, Aintree, Speke and Southport are running microchipping weekends on Saturday, 23 March 2013 and Sunday, 24 March 2013, where the service costs just £10, compared to £15 the rest of the year.  The 1st weekend in February saw more than 8,000 dogs microchipped across Pets at Home's 340 stores over just 2 days.  Pets at Home stores in Merseyside have been offering microchipping to its customers since 2012 and see the service as a fundamental part of caring for pets responsibly, as well as a way of ensuring owners are less likely to go through the heartache of losing a pet permanently.  Fully trained in all aspects of pet care, including microchipping, the store teams make it incredibly convenient for pet owners to drop in and make use of the service, explaining that for the majority of pet owners, the 'peace of mind' guarantee is worth the associated cost of £10.*  A spokesperson at Pets at Home said:- "Since the Government made its announcement we have seen an increase of pet owners seeking advice on microchipping and enquiring about the service. I think most dog owners welcome the new legalisation, recognising the importance of microchipping in improving responsible dog ownership. Not only will the new law give pet owners the security of knowing they can trace their dogs should they ever go missing, it will also make it easier for Police to tackle issues with dangerous dogs and negligent owners. Microchipping is a simple, relatively painless and essential procedure for ensuring the welfare of your pet. It's a fool-proof method of keeping your pet safe."  The chip is roughly the size of a grain of rice, fits under the dog's skin and contains information about its owner, making it easier for both to be reunited should they become separated for whatever reason.   At Pets at Home, when a chip is implanted, every pet is given a unique code number, which is then stored along with the owner's contact details on the UK's largest registration database, Petlog.  For more information on microchipping go to:- or contact your local Pets at Home store.

* Or £15 during non-promotional events

Heads need banging together on carbon capture

THE UK will miss out on €300 million for new green technology if the EU and UK can't agree a common timescale according to a prominent expert on environmental legislation. The UK Chancellor and Energy Secretary today announced £1 billion of investment in projects at Peterhead and in Yorkshire to prove that carbon dioxide can be safely taken from power stations and buried in empty oil wells under the North Sea. Chris Davies MEP who authored the EU law that provided billions of Euros of funding for the development of carbon capture and storage technology says that bureaucrats in Brussels and Whitehall should be co-operating to get pilot projects in the UK up and running. The EU is offering up to €300 million for pilot projects of exactly the type being funded by the UK Government, but with a much shorter timescale. Davies said:- "£1 billion for CCS projects is great, but the UK is missing out on hundreds of millions of extra funding because of 2 different calendars. The EU should slow down a bit and the UK should speed up to get their funding streams in line so the UK benefits from this massive funding boost for research. I'll be using my influence in Brussels to bang some heads together, but the inability of Brussels and Whitehall to work together is frustrating and counter-productive. Ministers and Commissioners should make clear to their bureaucrats and eurocrats that they expect a solution to the problem rather than excuses or we will get overtaken by China and the Canadians in the race to get a lead in this particular technology race. If we are to build a stronger economy, we need a strong research lead in green technology."

Additional £10m skills boost to support growth

EMPLOYERS in Creative Media across the UK welcomed the Government's additional boost for skills development of up to £10m over 2 years announced in today's Budget. This boost to skills will support sectors, key to UK economy, in their ambitious plans for growth. This adds to the £6m already announced in The Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

The Chancellor has now ear-marked new Government co-investment to a total of £16m to match industries' leading to a total of £32m. This will provide entry and professional level training for over 5,000 individuals working in film, high-end TV, animation, video games, and additionally, now the key sector of VFX (Special Visual Effects).

The investment will support additional employer led proposals over and above the commitment to levies and new collective arrangements in video games, agreed as part of the Government's consultation on the tax reliefs. Large employers with interests across these industries, and groups of small companies collaborating together, will be enabled to bid for co-investment for proposals that meet the key skills and training challenges that have been identified by the industries as being priorities.

Creative Skillset has been charged with managing this investment through its Skills Investment Fund and will work with representatives of each industry across the UK to ensure that all investments made will be targeted at areas of priority.

Stewart Till CBE, Chair of Creative Skillset and CEO of Sonar Entertainment said:- "Our industries have identified the UK's skills and talent as one of the principal drivers of growth and of our global reputation. We applaud the Government for incentivising co-investment and providing this much needed injection to support growth in our priority economic sectors. Crucially, this news is totally aligned with employers' ambitions to develop an innovative industrial partnership for the Creative Industries to take end-to-end responsibility for skills in our sectors."

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said:- "The UK has a world class content production sector. Today's package of measures, announced in the Budget, recognises the significant economic contribution made by our highly skilled creative content industries. It demonstrates Government's ongoing commitment to supporting innovation and investing in talent to help keep the UK ahead of the game when it comes to creative excellence."

Alex Hope, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Double Negative, Co-author of the 'Next Gen' Report and Creative Skillset Board Member said:- "The Government's recognition of the content production centre and visual effects' position within that is hugely welcome. The measures announced today offer significant opportunity to drive this sector forward and invest in our greatest asset - the tremendous talent existent in the UK."

Stephen Garret, Chairman of Kudos, Executive Chairman of Shine Pictures and Creative Skillset Board Member said:- "The UK Creative Industries are renowned for having a world-beating skills base. A new challenge is making sure that we can boost growth and properly resource increased levels of production so that we compete even more successfully on the global stage. It is fantastic to see today's additional financial commitment from the Chancellor to support the skills and talent development we need to help our industries step up to this challenge."

The investment will be routed through Creative Skillset's Skills Investment Fund which currently manages film industry investment and will now extend its scope to the new beneficiary sectors of video games, animation, high-end TV and VFX.  The announcement is an endorsement of the model of public and industry co-investing together, through industrial partnership, to take a co-ordinated approach to identifying, funding, and addressing skills gaps critical to future success. Also the investment will be available from April 2013.

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