Skip to content

Local Authority round-up: 02/02/24

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.


Government refreshes Help to Grow campaign to support SMEs

The Government has pledged to refresh the Help to Grow campaign to support the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses.

The creation of a new Small Business Council is due to launch next month which is intended to provide a forum for SME leaders to be represented within Government.  In addition to the formation of the Council, the Help to Grow campaign and website has been updated to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for SMEs to find the information they need to grow and scale up. This will include assisting small firms to clearly identify what funding they can access.

This support includes the new Help to Grow management course, as announced in the Autumn Statement, which go live on the 1st February 2024. The Help to Grow: Management Scheme is an intensive 12-week programme to improve SME leadership and management skills. SMEs from all sectors are able to access the programme that is 90% subsidised by the Government.

For more information please click here.

Planning and Housing

New social housing reform to tackle anti-social behaviour

The Government has announced potential reforms to social housing. These includes disqualification from social housing for up to 5 years, for those who have unspent convictions for certain criminal anti-social behaviour, or have been subject to specific civil sanctions. This sits alongside measures which could disqualify terrorist offenders from benefiting from social housing.

The Government also seeks to introduce new UK and local connection tests to determine social housing eligibility, with applicants required to demonstrate a connection to the UK for at least 10 years and their local area for at least 2 years.

Stay up to date with:

  • Trending Topics
  • Latest Insights
  • Upcoming Events
  • Company Updates

These proposals build on the significant reforms already introduced by the Government to improve the quality and quantity of social housing. This includes the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, under which the powers of the Regulator of Social Housing to hold poorly performing landlords to account have been strengthened and social housing residents’ access to redress has been improved.

In addition to this, £11.5 billion has been allocated to the Affordable Homes Programme, which seeks to deliver more affordable, quality homes.

For more information please click here.


Government confirms plans to reduce vaping and create a ‘smokefree’ generation

On 29th January 2024, the Government published its response to the consultation “Creating a Smokefree Generation and Tackling Youth Vaping” held in October 2023, and confirmed its intention to bring forward a Tobacco and Vapes Bill as soon as possible.

It is anticipated that secondary legislation under the Bill will restrict the flavours, point of sale display and packaging of nicotine (and non-nicotine) vaping products. The Government is also considering, in order to reduce the affordability of vapes, imposing a new tax duty.

Over 5 million disposable vapes are either littered or thrown away in general waste every week. As such, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments plan to introduce a ban on their sale and supply, whether they contain nicotine or not, for environmental reasons. These Governments will also collaborate to explore an import ban on disposable vapes.

The response also confirms that the Government will create a ‘smokefree generation’ by changing the age of sale for all tobacco products so that anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 will never legally be sold tobacco products.

In terms of enforcement, the Government will introduce a £100 fixed penalty notice (FPN) for the underage sale, proxy purchase and free distribution of tobacco products, vapes (nicotine and non-nicotine).

For more information please click here.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking