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Local Authority round-up 06/04/23

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.


Additional £842 million under Household Support Fund announced

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced an additional £842 million of funding will be available under the Household Support fund in order to help the most vulnerable households across England with essential food and energy costs. The funding was made available with effect from 1 April 2023 and will be allocated to councils across England. The extra funding is available in order to help people with essential food and energy costs until 31 March 2024. Councils have discretion as to how the funding is allocated and people are encouraged to check their council website for details of support available. Mims Davies MP, DWP Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, said “This fund is of course just one part of our extensive Cost of Living support package for families that is complementing our efforts to halve inflation – one of the Prime Minister’s top priorities – to reduce prices for us all.”

For more information please click here.

International Trade

UK government announces deal to join CPTPP

The UK government has issued an announcement that the UK had reached agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The government also published a policy paper explaining what the UK and CPTPP negotiating teams have jointly decided should be included in the agreement once it is finalised. The policy paper also sets out the benefits to the UK of accession to the CPTPP. The accession texts themselves have not yet been published. The CPTPP is a comprehensive trade agreement covering various areas, including trade in goods and services, investment (including provision for investor-state dispute settlement), digital trade, government procurement, competition policy, subsidy control, intellectual property, labour and environmental standards, and state-to-state dispute settlement. It first entered into force in December 2018 and it currently has 11 parties: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Other states have applied to join, or expressed interest in joining. The UK already has free trade agreements with most of the members of the CPTPP, but the government’s expectation is that accession to the CPTPP will deepen those existing arrangements, with more than 99% of UK goods exported to the bloc being eligible for zero tariffs, including cheese, cars, chocolate, machinery, gin and whisky. Accession is also expected to facilitate the export of services, and in particular digital services and data flows, to the bloc. Notably, UK companies will be able to operate in the bloc without having to establish a local base. The UK and CPTPP members will now take the final legal and administrative steps required for the UK to formally sign in 2023, which, in the case of the UK, will involve the same scrutiny process as applied to the FTAs with Australia and New Zealand, and will include an assessment by the Trade and Agriculture Commission to ensure compliance with UK standards on food safety, animal welfare and the environment.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

New eligibility rules for business rates

New eligibility rules for business rates will apply to self-catering properties in England and Wales from 1 April 2023, it has been announced. The information about lettings during the 2022/23 operating year will be used to determine whether a property is eligible. If the property is in England, then in order to be eligible for business rates from 1 April 2023, the property must be available for letting commercially for short periods that total 140 nights or more in the previous and current year or actually let commercially for 70 night or more in the previous 12 months. In Wales, in order to be eligible for business rates, the property must be available to let commercially for short periods that total 252 nights or more in the previous and current year or actually let commercially for 182 nights or more in the previous 12 months. If you are no longer eligible for business rates under the new rules then you will become eligible to pay council tax on the property.

For more information please click here.

Councils had not properly discharged their statutory duty when making “out-of-borough” offers of accommodation to homeless applicants

Each of the appellants (Z and U) were homeless and in priority need, and the councils had accepted that they owed them a duty to provide them accommodation. Z was offered accommodation 160 miles away, and U was offered accommodation 20 miles away. In each case, the offer purported to be a “private rented sector offer” within the meaning of section 193(7AC) of the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996). When the appellants rejected the offers because of the distance, each council confirmed that it had made an offer of suitable accommodation and that it would make no further offers. Both appellants appealed, unsuccessfully, to the County Court. In conjoined appeals, the appellants appealed against the County Court decisions that the councils had each discharged their duty under section 193(2) of the HA 1996. The Court of Appeal allowed both appeals. It held that in relation to Z’s appeal, if it was not reasonably practicable to offer in-borough accommodation, a local housing authority was obliged, where possible, to try to place the applicant as close as possible to where they had previously been living. It had been incumbent on the council to try to offer Z accommodation as close as possible to the borough. In the absence of any evidence that it had tried to do so, her appeal succeeded. In relation to U’s appeal, the council had not informed U of the implications of section 195A(2) of the HA 1996 when making the offer of accommodation, and that failure rendered the offer invalid. The court dismissed the council’s argument that U should not be permitted to pursue the section 195A(2) ground because it did not raise an important point of principle or practice, as required by section 55(1) of the Access to Justice Act 1999. Further, it did not matter that the section 195A(2) ground had not been pursued before the judge below. There was no prejudice to the council.

For more information please click here.

Upcoming webinars

Webinar series: Data Protection

Register your interest for our on-going webinar series on ‘Data Protection’ for in-house lawyers, DPOs and senior management in private and public sector organisations. The series will run throughout 2023 providing attendees with up to date information on key Data Protection topics. The short one hour sessions will be delivered by our experts with allocated time for you to ask any questions you may have. The next in our series ‘Data Subject Access Request’ will take place on 16 May 2023.

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

Housing Management Law School – Spring term

On 25th April at 10am our Housing Management Law School returns for it’s Spring term. The Law School is taught by two of our very own expert Social Housing lawyers, John Murray and Simon Thirtle. It is free to attend and exists to deliver training to Registered Providers of Social Housing across the country, educating and updating their housing management staff with the essential legal knowledge that they need. The Law School is held over 90 minutes and covers three sections, in this session we will be discussing News, Committal Proceedings and The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill.

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

Employment Law update

Ward Hadaway’s employment law update is back this Spring. Taking place via Zoom on Wednesday 26th April at 10am. Our experts will ensure your team is kept in the loop, covering recent and upcoming updates in legislation, case law and pending Tribunal decisions, focusing throughout on the practical points of what this means for employers and HR teams.

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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