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Local Authority round-up 03/09/2021

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.

Commercial

HMRC help families save money on childcare costs

As a new school year starts, HMRC can help with childcare costs with a Tax-Free Childcare scheme. Families which meet the criteria can receive help for after school costs and breakfast. Families can receive up to £2,000 each year and the scheme is available to those who have children up to the age of 11, or up to £4,000 for families with disabled children up to the age of 17. HMRC are encouraging the public to sign up for Tax-Free Childcare. Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, stated: “as your children head back to school this autumn, don’t miss out on the opportunity to receive your 20% top-up to help pay for their childcare”.

For more information, please click here.


Health and social care

Further funding for veterans mental health service

Op COURAGE, the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, has received £2.7 million to offer extra support for armed forces veterans. The service is to particularly support those whom have experienced substance misuse, mental and/or physical trauma. Professionals will help veterans to receive better support and to assist them in using the health and care systems. It is hoped that the additional care will help to reduce suicide rates amongst veterans. Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “many of our people experienced things they will never forget, and we remain committed to supporting this veteran community through Op COURAGE. We are forever indebted to the heroics and sacrifice of our service personnel and veterans, and pledge to ensure they receive any support they need”.

For more information, please click here.


Environment

Chewing gum companies to tackle gum litter on the streets

Chewing gum companies such as Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle, amongst other key names, will work with the charity Keep Britain Tidy and invest up to £10 million to help remove chewing gum from high streets over the next five years. Not only will the funds be used to clean up chewing gum waste, but it will also be used to encourage the public to safely bin their chewing gum after use. According to Keep Britain Tidy, stained gum is present on approximately 87% of England’s streets. The partnership comes as part of the Government’s strategy to rejuvenate the high streets. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said, “this new scheme means chewing gum producers are not only helping to clean up towns and cities as they welcome people back to our high streets, but crucially taking action to prevent people littering in the first place”.

For more information, please click here.


International trade

Food and drink export decline following Brexit trade barriers

Exports of food and drinks to the EU, especially beef and cheese, have been affected post-brexit, suffering a sharp decline. It has been reported that the Food and Drink Federation lost £2bn in sales. The impact of shortages in both lorry drivers and warehouse workers, amongst other labour shortages, are being felt by the industry, having a knock-on effect with the supply chain. The exports to EU member states that were most impacted were Germany, Ireland, Spain and Italy. Since Brexit, companies in the UK have also been hit with extra paperwork and costs before their products reach the EU. Head of International Trade at the Food and Drink Federation, Dominic Goudie, stated: “the return to growth in exports to non-EU markets is welcome news, but it doesn’t make up for the disastrous loss of £2bn in sales to the EU. It clearly demonstrates the serious difficulties manufacturers in our industry continue to face and the urgent need for additional specialist support”.

For more information, please click here.


Planning and housing

Government grant to help Afghan refugees in the UK

The Government has announced that £5 million will be spent on helping councils rehome refugees fleeing Afghanistan. Up to 20,000 Afghans can be resettled under the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, with £200 million allocated for the first year. The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is in place to help the resettling transition, providing refugees with immediate indefinite leave to remain. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, commented: “by providing immediate indefinite leave to remain we are ensuring that those who have fled their homes have every opportunity to look to the future with stability and security and make a success of their new life in the UK”.

For more information, please click here.

Affordable homes deal

Sadiq Khan has negotiated a deal with the Government for 29,456 council homes and affordable homes for the upcoming 5 years. 16,739 homes will be on the lowest social rent bracket, with the other homes agreed for London Living Rent and shared ownership. A total of £3.46bn has been agreed to work with housing associations and councils. Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for Housing & Planning, stated: “we urgently need more affordable homes in London – especially social housing…so it’s great news that this much-needed boost to housing delivery in the capital has been agreed”.

For more information, please click here.


Upcoming webinars

As you may well know we run a programme of webinars on a wide range of topics, listed below are those webinars upcoming in the next few weeks which may be of interest to you:

What will change as a result of the Subsidy Control Bill?

The first of our commercial law webinars will focus on the Subsidy Control Bill.  This webinar will focus on the Subsidy Control Bill which is expected to become law in 2022. The Bill will introduce a domestic subsidy control regime to replace the EU State aid regime which applied prior to Brexit. The webinar will discuss what the law is currently following our exit from the EU and what changes the Bill will introduce. We will be discussing the end of a “block exemption” based approach to compliance and the move to a more flexible but less certain system.  Aimed at both the givers and receivers of subsidy funding, we will provide a clear insight of what to expect when this politically and economically important Bill becomes law next year.  This session will take place by Zoom on 17th September at 12.30.

For more information or to book your place please click here.

Public Sector Property update

Please join us at our online Public Sector Property update where our legal experts will update you on property and construction law developments relevant to the Public Sector. Register below for this free 90 minute session on 23rd September at 9.30am. You will be able to submit questions in advance, or using the Zoom Q&A feature during the event.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

Recruitment, Contracts of employment and Handbook

The first webinar in our CPD Programme will focus on recruitment, contracts of employment and handbook.  This session will take place by Zoom on 7th October at 10am.  These sessions are completely free and are perfect for HR professionals and managers who have responsibility for managing people. You will have the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature, or our teams will be on hand for drop-in sessions for attendees after each event.

For more information or to book your place please click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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.

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