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Local Authority round-up 08/04/22

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

Welsh councils receive £10 million to support domiciliary care

The Welsh government has announced a further £10 million will be provided to councils in Wales to support domiciliary care and increase service provision. Funded through the second supplementary budget, the £10 million can be used to pay for driving lessons for domiciliary care workers. It can also be used to purchase electric fleet vehicles to improve staff access to vehicles in order to increase service capacity. Deputy minister for social services, Julie Morgan said “I am very pleased we are providing an additional £10m to local authorities to increase capacity in domiciliary care…This funding will support the sector to meet these challenges and help people return home from hospital by increasing the provision of services.”

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Regulatory

Health and Safety Executive publishes revised advice for workplaces

On 31 March 2022, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published revised advice to workplaces regarding COVID-19. The revised advice follows the relaxation of COVID-19-related measures across the UK. The advice notes that COVID-19 will remain a public health issue and that guidance for workplaces is being replaced with public health advice. Employers are encouraged to check the relevant position and timescales for the nation they are operating in. By way of general advice, employers should note that the HSE no longer requires every business to consider COVID-19 in their risk assessments or to have specific COVID-19-related measures in place. There is, however, a requirement to protect those who will come into contact with COVID-19 due to their work activity (for example, if they are researching COVID-19 in laboratories). In these cases, employers must still complete a relevant risk assessment and implement control measures. Employers must continue, as always, to comply with general health and safety law. Although the HSE will no longer require COVID-19 control measures, employers must continue to consult workers and their representatives on any changes they make that might affect health and safety and employers should continue to have regard to available guidance on protecting those who may be at higher risk from COVID-19 and on vaccinations, including advice from public health bodies and other government departments. The advice is due to be reviewed by the HSE again on 30 April 2022.

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Council pleads guilty to undertaking work without a marine licence

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council has pleaded guilty to carrying out a licensable marine activity other than in accordance with a marine licence granted by the Marine Management Organisation and has been fined £8,000, ordered to pay £3,894.22 in costs and a £150 victim surcharge. Following a partial cliff collapse in 2016, the council commissioned a report to investigate the stability of the area which set out several options to prevent further collapsing and the council chose the option of infilling a cave in the cliffside. The report noted at this time that a marine licence would be required for these works however the council proceeded with the works without a licence in contravention of Section 65 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. After a storm hit polyurethane expanding foam which had been put into the cave washed out into the sea and the marine environment. The judge found the council negligent in their work. A Marine Management Organisation spokesperson said “This case shows the importance of applying for a marine licence before works are undertaken. Had marine experts been able to look at the proposals before works were undertaken these substances would not have been approved for use and would not have entered the marine environment.”

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International Trade

Government imposes further sanctions on Russia

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced that the government will be imposing further financial sanctions on Russia after reports of further attacks on civilians in Ukraine. She announced that there will be a full asset freeze on the largest Russian bank and an outright ban on all UK outward investment into Russia. She also announced that by the end of 2022, the UK will end all dependency on Russian coal and oil, and end imports of gas as soon as possible thereafter. The Foreign Secretary said “Our latest wave of measures will bring an end to the UK’s imports of Russian energy and sanction yet more individuals and businesses, decimating Putin’s war machine.”

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Finance package will enable 1,000 homes to be built

A multi-million-pound finance package from the Government’s Levelling Up Home Building Fund and HSBC UK will enable Homes England and HSBC UK to work in partnership to provide funding that will enable Wyatt Homes to build over 1,000 new homes. The homes, which will be built across Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset, will consist of at least 30% of affordable homes. Neil Elliott, Head of Structured Real Estate Finance at Homes England, said “We are excited to be working in partnership with HSBC UK and Wyatt Homes. Our Mezzanine funding further demonstrates our commitment to support SME housebuilders and to working with one of the UK’s largest banks to deliver much-needed new homes.”

For more information 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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