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Local Authority round-up 08/07/22

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.

Regulatory

BEIS consults on statutory guidance on Subsidy Control Act 2022

On 1 July 2022, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a consultation on statutory guidance for the Subsidy Control Act 2022. The draft guidance explains the legal obligations on public authorities under the domestic subsidy control regime. It provides a framework for designing and awarding subsidies in a way which is consistent with the Subsidy Control Act. The guidance is designed to help public authorities award subsidies in a way which minimises any negative impacts to competition and investment, as well as promoting the effective and efficient use of public money. The draft guidance covers the following:

  • Whether the financial assistance to be provided by a public authority is considered to be a subsidy under the new subsidy control regime, including application of the four specific conditions set out in the Act.
  • The subsidy control principles, including providing a four-part framework to support public authorities to design their subsidies in a way that is consistent with the principles.
  • Exemptions and permitted modifications to subsidies, including Minimal Financial Assistance, and exemptions for measures taken in response to natural disasters and natural or economic emergencies, and for reasons of national security and financial stability.
  • The provisions for public authorities to provide subsidies for Services of Public Economic Interest.
  • The categories of subsidy that are prohibited outright under the regime and the conditions certain subsidies must comply with, including, in particular, subsidies to support ailing or insolvent companies.
  • Application of the energy and environmental principles.
  • Subsidies and Schemes of Interest and Subsidies and Schemes of Particular Interest and referral to the Subsidy Advice Unit within the Competition and Markets Authority.
  • Transparency requirements and measures for the enforcement of the regime, including challenges to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
  • Misuse of subsidies.
  • Subsidies in primary legislation.

BEIS invites responses to this consultation by 10 August 2022.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

Northern Ireland Protocol Bill 2022-23 passes second reading

The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill 2022-23 passed its second reading by 295 to 221 votes in the House of Commons. Committee stage has been scheduled to start on 13 July 2022, to take place on the floor of the House (instead of in a public bill committee) due to the constitutional importance of the Bill. However, the Scottish Parliament voted that the Bill breaks international law and risks the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement, and called on the UK government to withdraw the Bill and restart negotiations with the EU immediately. The Scottish government informed the UK government that it will not support a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament for the Bill, and sought assurance that the UK government will respect the Sewel Convention and will not (as it has done with other Brexit legislation) press ahead without the Scottish Parliament’s consent.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Regulations made to protect leaseholders from costs of remedying defects

The Building Safety (Leaseholder Protections) (England) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/711) were made on 28 June 2022 and will come into force on 20 July 2022. The Regulations add detail to the provisions of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA 2022) that protect leaseholders from bearing the cost of remedying certain defects in buildings that are at least 11 metres high or have at least five storeys (relevant buildings). The Regulations, amongst other things:

  • Define what is meant by “leaseholder owned” for the purposes of section 117 of the BSA 2022 (a building that is leaseholder owned will not be a relevant building) (regulation 2).
  • Set out the formula for determining the net worth of a landlord’s group of companies (regulation 5).
  • Set out the form of the landlord’s certificate that must be provided to tenants at certain times, including when a demand for payment of a remediation service charge is made. The certificate must include details of the landlord’s group structure and net worth, the dates on which the building was built, converted or other works undertaken, the cost of any remediation works, and details of the tenant’s contribution (regulation 6).
  • Clarify the application of Schedule 8 to the BSA 2022 to non-residential leases (regulation 10).
  • Allow anyone applying to the High Court for a building liability order to also apply for information on the corporate structure of the person who is the subject of the application (regulation 12).

For more information please click here.

Residents and business owners to have final say over street names

All councils in England will need to get agreement from two-thirds of people who live or run businesses on a street before changing its name. The change will be brought in by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament and follows a public consultation where over 90% of respondents backed the plans. Housing Minister Stuart Andrew said “Street names are often a proud part of a community’s identity and hold cherished memories for those that have lived there past and present. As part of our mission to level up across the country, we want communities to take back control so we are putting the power over street names changes into the hands of local people who would be most directly affected. Our new laws will stop councils pushing through street names changes that communities don’t want.”

For more information please click here.

Welsh Government launches Leaseholder Support Scheme to provide financial advice on costs of building safety

The Welsh Government (WG) has launched the Leaseholder Support Scheme as part of their approach to building safety. The service offers free independent financial advice to leaseholders who face serious financial hardship due to building safety costs affecting their properties. To be eligible to apply to the Leaseholder Support Scheme, applicants must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • Be the owner of a property in an eligible building in Wales.
  • Be an owner-occupier or a displaced resident (someone who has had to move out because the property was unable to meet their needs).
  • Pass the financial eligibility assessment, which checks disposable income to see if the applicant meets the test of significant financial hardship due to fire safety issues.

For more information please click here.

Guidance published on local authority interventions to improve quality and drive up standards in supported housing

On 2 July 2022, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published good practice guidance for councils on improving the quality of supported housing in their areas. This follows a series of pilots focusing on supported housing standards and quality, which concluded in September 2021. The guidance includes information on:

  • Establishing a multi-disciplinary team. This includes information on who to include in such a team and the benefits associated with a multi-disciplinary approach.
  • Conducting standardised assessments of new supported housing providers and schemes.
  • Reviewing resident support for those in supported housing and in receipt of Housing Benefit and how to target any interventions effectively where poor quality is identified. This covers what a review should cover and how they can help a local authority to identify residents whose needs are not being met by a particular provider.

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinars

Global mobility matters

Join Flora Mewies and Roisin Patton on 12 July 2022 at 12pm as they chat about the issues and solutions of global mobility matters. Both of whom support national and international businesses daily, ensuring their workforce can be in the right place at the right time.

For more information and 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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