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Local Authority round-up 07/10/22

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

Government encourages councils to host a new Investment Zone

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is inviting expressions of interest for Investment Zones from all local areas in England with effect from 2 October 2022. The deadline for expressions of interests is noon on Friday 14 October and successful areas will be announced within weeks. The government is encouraging councils to take full advantage of Investment Zones, which will boost growth, deliver homes, spread opportunity and create jobs across the country, as they could benefit from a range of tax incentives over the next 10 years, such as reliefs on business rates, stamp duty land tax and employer national insurance contributions.

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Government announcement on widening regulatory exemptions for smaller businesses

On 2 October 2022, the Prime Minister announced plans to widen the exemptions for small businesses from certain regulations and reporting requirements to capture businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The government’s starting assumption when developing policy has been that businesses with less than 50 employees should be exempt from certain regulations. The government is now revising the threshold for this assumption so it applies to businesses with less than 500 employees. The announcement indicates that this is not a blanket exemption, and it can be overridden in appropriate cases as a result of the policy development process, including any consultations that may be undertaken, if there is a justifiable reason for doing so. It is intended that the small business exemption will be applied in a proportionate way to ensure standards are protected, while at the same time reducing the burden for growing businesses. The announcement confirms that the revised threshold applies from 3 October 2022 to all new regulations under development as well as those under current and future review, including retained EU laws. The government also plans to consult in the future on potentially extending the threshold to businesses with 1,000 employees, once the impact on the current extension is known.

For more information please click here.

DCMS Secretary of State announces plan to replace UK GDPR

On 3 October 2022, at the Conservative Party Conference, Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), announced the government’s plan to replace the UK GDPR with a bespoke British data protection system. In her speech, she suggested that the bureaucratic nature of the UK GDPR limits the potential of UK businesses and leads to excessive caution amongst staff in the handling of data, in particular for smaller organisations. The government intends the new system to be business and consumer-friendly, to protect consumer privacy and keep their data safe, while retaining data adequacy for the UK and also for it to be simpler and clearer for businesses to navigate. The government intends to look at countries which achieve data adequacy without having GDPR, such as Israel, Japan, South Korea, Canada and New Zealand, to focus on growth and common sense, help to prevent losses from cyber-attacks and data breaches, while protecting data privacy. The speech also suggests that the UK can be “the bridge across the Atlantic and operate as the world’s data hub”. This suggests that the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, awaiting second reading, will be further paused (and potentially withdrawn) while the government revisits its approach to UK data protection.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

The Trader Support Service is extended for one year

The Trader Support Service, which was launched in 2020 to help businesses move good between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has been extended until December 2023. The service, which is free-to-use digital platform, provides end-to-end support to manage digital declarations including completing import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders and it also provides guidance and training to businesses to ensure they can trade inline with the protocol and to save them time and money.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Welsh Government publishes response to consultation on using planning to help manage the number of second homes and short-term holiday lets in Wales

On 28 September 2022, the Welsh Government published its response to the consultation, Planning legislation and policy for second homes and short-term holiday lets.

  • The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (SI 1987/764) will be amended to create new use classes for primary homes (class C3), secondary homes (class C5) and short-term lets (class C6).
  • Related amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (SI 1995/418) will be made to allow permitted changes between the new use classes for primary homes, secondary homes and short-term lets.
  • The new permitted development rights relating to second homes and short-term lets will be added to the prescribed list in the Town and Country Planning (Compensation) (Wales) (No 2) Regulations 2014. This amendment will provide a limit on the compensation payable should a planning application be refused or have different conditions imposed. For property owners it will offer either a 12-month window to claim compensation or at least 12 months’ notice to make arrangements (such as to complete the change of use or dispose of the property) in anticipation of an Article 4 direction coming into effect. LPAs will be able to avoid any claims for compensation by providing at least 12 months’ notice of the Article 4 direction coming into effect.
  • PPW will be amended to make it explicit that, where relevant, the prevalence of second homes and short-term lets in a local area must be taken into account when considering the housing requirements and policy approaches in local development plans. Complementary changes are also being made to section 4.2 of Planning Policy Wales (PPW). These policy changes make it explicit that, where relevant, the prevalence of second homes and short-term lets in a local area must be taken into account when considering housing requirements and policy approaches in local development plans.

For more information please click here.

Written statement by Welsh Government on compulsory purchase provisions in Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill

On 28 September 2022, Julie James MS published a written ministerial statement on the compulsory purchase provisions (clauses 140 to 149) in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (LURB). The Welsh Government supports the use of compulsory purchase powers by local authorities to facilitate the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and promote placemaking principles to deliver beneficial environmental, social and economic change in our communities. The Welsh Government believes the use of compulsory purchase powers should be considered by local authorities to increase the supply of housing as well as bring vacant and empty properties back into use. Julie James considers that it is appropriate for these provisions to apply in relation to Wales and for them to be included in LURB.

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinars

The Autumn employment law update

Ward Hadaway’s employment law update is back this Autumn and taking place online via Zoom on Wednesday 19th October at 10am. Our panel of 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. You will be able to ask your own questions in advance via the registration form, or you can use the Q&A feature in Zoom on the day.

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

Right to work checks – keeping you up to date on recent developments

Many changes to right to work (RTW) checks came in to effect on 6 April 2022 and have now had time to bed in. Ward Hadaway are therefore pleased to invite you to a free webinar at which we will remind you of those changes, and highlight developments since our right to work webinar in March this year. This short webinar will take place on Zoom on 20th October at 10am.

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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