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PA's PA 31st July

PA's PA 31st July

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the steady march to victory of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election continued with further polls having been released which give him in the region of a 20 point lead.  Following the debacle of the general election, pollsters must surely be keeping their fingers crossed that they have got this one right.  In other news, George Osborne has been deployed to start the negotiations of the renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU, leading some to speculate that the referendum could be even earlier than predicted.  Parliament is now in recess (as is PA’s PA for the next couple of weeks).  Have a good summer everyone. 

 Prime Minister supports IP Rights

The importance of intellectual property was raised by Prime Minister this week during his visit to Singapore.  In wide-ranging speech, where he talked about the economic relationship between the two countries and how the UK can capitalise on the opportunities not only opening up in Singapore but across the region, he made specific reference to the fact that one of the biggest challenges facing British businesses who want to operate in the region is protection of their intellectual property rights.  The PM went on to say that “Today we have agreed to work together to strengthen co-operation on this issue, providing greater reassurance for British companies who want to use Singapore as a springboard to the region.”  We look forward to being able to report on exactly what this will mean in practice.   

Universities come out in favour of EU membership 

The UK’s university community has come out strongly in support of the UK remaining in the European Union.  Universities UK (the collective body of UK universities) has launched ‘Universities for Europe’ – a campaign which will set out why membership of the EU makes the UK’s outstanding universities stronger.  At the launch, Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent and president-elect of Universities UK, said: “It is abundantly clear that the UK’s membership of the European Union has an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world-leading universities, enhancing university research and teaching. UK universities are at the heart of the biggest knowledge producing region in the world – and we all benefit from that – individuals, the economy and society.  The case for staying in Europe is about ensuring the future prosperity of the UK, it’s about maximising the chances of new discoveries that enhance the society in which we live, it’s about the UK’s standing in the world, it’s about British jobs and it’s about opportunities for British people now and in the future.”  

New Lib Dem front bench 

The new leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has announced his party’s new frontbench spokespeople.  Owing to the fact that the Lib Dems now only have eight MPs in the House of Commons, Farron has had to be creative and draw on talents in the House of Lords and regional assemblies.  The list also gives a strong indication as to a couple of names likely to be entering the House of Lords – former MPs Lorely Burt and Lynne Featherstone have both been given portfolio responsibilities without currently being a member of any legislative chamber.  Notably, it is reported that former leader Nick Clegg was offered a post but turned it down.   

The portfolios of particular interest to PA members are below.  The full list can be found here

John Pugh MP – Education

Baroness Bonham-Carter – Culture, Media and Sport 

Lorely Burt – Business  

Open Access 

The Wellcome Trust has issued a guide outlining what publishers should consider when developing their open access policies in relation to monographs and book chapters.   WT acknowledge that open access for monographs and book chapters is a relatively new area of publishing and that there are many ways of approaching it.  The document is, therefore, designed to provide some things for publishers to consider when developing these policies and processes.  They go on to recognise that implementation around publishing monographs and book chapters open access is in flux, and publishers are invited to feed back any comments and suggestions to email Cecy Marden at  

Tuition fees 

The Independent reports on the latest report from the Independent Commission on Fees which concludes that, following the announcement from George Osborne that universities with “good quality” teaching will be able to raise their fees in line with inflation every year, most universities will be charging tuition fees of £10,000 by 2020.  This has led to a number of comments predicting a decline in student numbers as debt becomes a bigger issue for young people.   

And finally…  

The PA’s Chief Executive Richard Mollet addresses the issue of infringement in his latest blog, commenting that while levels of ebook piracy may appear to be low and contained, now is not the time for complacency.  

This week we have: 

Met with Lord Clement-Jones and newly appointed Lib Dem front bench Culture Spokesperson, Baroness Bonham-Carter; attended the latest meeting of the IPO’s Copyright Education and Awareness Group; briefed the IPO’s Economic and Research Unit on the latest publishing statistics; attended an Institute of Ideas dinner-debate about statistics in the media.   

Next week we will be: 

Taking a break while we plan our 2015/16 parliamentary onslaught!