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Local Authority round-up – 12/11/21

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

Councils selected for Partnerships for People and Place programme

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that thirteen councils in England that have been selected for its Partnerships for People and Place initiative which has been backed by £5 million government funding.  Between £150,000 to £350,000 in funding will be provided to the selected councils over a two year period to trial specialist support projects in those areas to target specific issues such as unemployment, health disparities, poverty and crime. Minister for Levelling Up and Communities Kemi Badenoch MP said “This is an innovative programme with the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives.  From skills shortages and unemployment to tackling poverty and reducing crime, local people are best placed to solve challenges in their own areas.  That is why we are empowering communities as we level up every corner of our country.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Welsh Government publishes Net Zero Wales plan for 2021-25

The Welsh Government has published its Net Zero Wales carbon budget plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which focuses on the WG’s Carbon Budget 2 period from 2021 to 2025. The plan also looks ahead to building the foundations for Carbon Budget 3 and the WG’s 2030 target, as well as achieving net zero by 2050.  In March 2021, Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) revised Wales’ 2050 GHG target from 80% emissions to net zero (at least 100%), which includes higher interim targets and must only be achieved by action in Wales (without using international credits). The plan accepts the advice of the Climate Change Committee’s December 2020 progress report that this must be a decade of action for Wales.  The plan contains 123 government policies and proposals, including building 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent, legislating to extend producer responsibility and cut single-use plastics and requiring that, by March 2023, all public sector organisations report their GHG emissions and publish net zero plans, with the aim of the Welsh public sector being net zero by 2030.  The plan calls on the UK government to assist in unlocking a green future for Wales and follows publication of the UK government’s broader UK Net Zero Strategy on 19 October 2021.

For more information please click here.

COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all frontline health and social care workers

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that health and social care providers in England will be required to ensure workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they are exempt under new government plans.  This will mean that any health and social care workers who have direct, face-to-face contact with people while providing care, which includes doctors, nurses, dentists and domiciliary care workers, will need to be fully vaccinated in order to work, unless they are exempt.  The deadline for care home workers to be fully vaccinated came into force this week on 11 November.  All remaining health and social care workers will need to be fully vaccinated by 1 April 2022. Mr Javid said “Vaccines save lives and patient safety is paramount. Many of the people being treated in hospitals or cared for at home are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. We have a responsibility to give patients and staff the best possible protection.”

For more information please click here.

Plans to make Wales smoke-free by 2030

A new plan to make Wales smoke-free by the end of the decade has been unveiled.  The long term tobacco control strategy aims to reduce smoking rates in Wales from 14% to less than 5% of the population.  A consultation into the plan has been launched to seek people’s views on how to create a smoke-free society in Wales.  Deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said “Whilst we have made progress in recent years in reducing the number of people smoking, we want to go further and be ambitious to create a Wales where smoking is far from the norm.” Wales was the first country in the UK to ban smoking in playgrounds, school grounds and hospital grounds. Next year it will also ban smoking in hotels, guest houses and in self-contained holiday accommodation.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

UK signs economic partnership agreement with Madagascar

It has been announced by the local British embassy that the UK and Madagascar had signed an economic partnership agreement (EPA). Few details have been provided, but it is expected that this would involve the accession of Madagascar to the existing EPA between the UK and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), which already covers Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe.  The areas covered by the UK-ESA EPA include trade in goods, including customs duties, non-tariff measures, trade remedies, and administrative provisions and the agreement grants immediate duty-free quota-free access to the UK market for all ESA exports, with a more gradual liberalisation of the ESA market for UK exports.  The EPA also covers fisheries, including marine fisheries, inland fisheries and aquaculture development, economic and development co-operation, including in relation to private sector development, infrastructure, and natural resources and environment and areas for future negotiations, including in relation to trade in services, agriculture, competition, investment and intellectual property.

For more information please click here.


Planning and Housing

New laws and a Code of Practice to resolve the remaining commercial rent debts

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced that new laws and a Code of Practice are being introduced to provide a legally-binding process to resolve the remaining commercial rent debts which have been accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Under the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament this week, from 25 March 2022, a legally-binding arbitration process will be introduced for commercial landlords and tenants who have not yet reached an agreement regarding repayment of outstanding rent.   The Code of Practice sets out that in the first instance tenants who are unable to pay in full should negotiate with their landlord in the expectation that the landlord waives some or all rent arrears where they are able to do so. Mr Kwarteng said “Today’s measures provide commercial landlords and tenants with the clarity and certainty they need to plan ahead and recover from the pandemic. We encourage landlords and tenants to keep working together to reach their own agreements ahead of the new laws coming into place, and we expect tenants capable of paying rent to do so.”

For more information please click here.

Loan funding of at least £624 million to be available for house builders

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that £624 million of loan funding will be made available to support thousands of new homes and improve vital infrastructure.  Loans will be administered by Homes England through the Home Building Fund.  The funding available will allow for 116,000 new homes to be built as well funding vital infrastructure such as improving transport and building schools. Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said “We are building the right homes in the right places so more young people and families can get on the housing ladder. Improving transport links, building schools and health facilities are key to unlocking new homes and creating vibrant places where communities can thrive. This money will build on our commitment to bring derelict and abandoned sites back to life, regenerating towns and cities as we level up across the country.”

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:

CPD Programme – managing capability: performance and sickness absence

The second webinar in our CPD Programme will focus on managing capability: performance and sickness absence. Join us on Tuesday 23rd November at 10am. These sessions are completely free and will take place by Zoom, so they will not disrupt your day. They 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 secure your place, please click here.

The office, reimagined for a post-Covid world

At this free webinar on 1st December at 10am, Simon and Daniel Harrison, CEO from True Potential will be talking to employment partner and health and wellbeing speaker Jamie Gamble. They will share their experiences of how businesses can create a “destination” office environment – a place to attract colleagues back into a shared workplace from their home working environments.

For more information or to secure 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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