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Local Authority round-up: 16/02/24

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.


The Government invests £11 million into the semiconductor industry to support AI

Two new ‘Innovation and Knowledge Centres (IKC)’ will each receive an £11 million investment in order to help innovate semiconductor technologies in the current market as well support advancements in AI.

It is hoped that each £11 million site will help convert scientific findings into business realities. The funding is set to offer researchers access to state-of-the-art prototyping technology essential for testing their designs. The funding will also ensure training and workshops are provided to vital industry contacts, ensuring that researchers are fully equipped for when their products are market-ready.

The REWIRE facility at the University of Bristol will support chip companies across the South West and Wales, helping to accelerate the UK’s net zero ambition by advancing high-voltage electronic devices with compound semiconductors.

The “Cornerstone” Information and Knowledge Centre in Southampton will build on the University’s specialism in silicon photonics. This is an emerging area of research in semiconductors, which uses light to communicate information instead of electricity, resulting in these chips being much quicker than standard semiconductors.

For more information, please click here.

Planning and Housing

Government increases the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme by £3 billion

The Government has announced a £3 billion increase to the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme which is anticipated to fund 20,000 new affordable homes. The expansion of the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, which provides low-cost loans to housing providers, will also be used to upgrade existing properties.

The now £6 billion fund, supported by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, will allow housing providers to access low-cost loans so they can expand their business, build more affordable homes and upgrade their existing stock.

Eligible registered providers who would like to apply for a loan under the scheme should contact ARA Venn at

For more information, please click here.

Local Government Association calls for reforms to the Right to Buy Scheme

The Local Government Association (LGA) has asked for changes to the Right to Buy (RTB) Scheme in order to prevent the current net loss of social housing stock each year experienced by local authorities.

The LGA has asserted that local authorities should be given:

  • Control over how and when monies raised through the scheme should be used on the development, delivery or acquisition of new homes.
  • Power to protect a council’s financial investment in both existing and new social housing stock from a loss-making transaction.
  • Flexibility for councils to shape the scheme locally “so it works best for their local area, housing market and people”.

The LGA stated the latest figures showed that, for the last financial year, RTB assisted in the sale of 10,896 homes, with only 3,447 replaced, resulting in a net loss of 7,449 social homes in 2022/23.

While the LGA has acknowledged that RTB has delivered home ownership for many, it has challenged the scheme on the basis that it “does not work for many of those in need of social housing”. According to the LGA, councils are primarily concerned about the fact that increasing discounts, combined with the restrictions on councils’ use of Right to Buy receipts, has meant that household’s home ownership is increasingly being prioritised over access to safe, secure social housing.

For more information, please click here.


Upcoming Events

Webinar: Promoting Inclusivity in the Workplace – A case study in manufacturing

In this new series, we will be exploring a range of different sectors, from technology to social housing, and discussing the challenges faced by employers to achieve greater inclusivity, as well as advising on what positive changes can be made in order to strengthen businesses.

In this session we will focus on the manufacturing industry. We will be joined by Rachel Mansfield, Managing Director, Responsive Engineering and Katie O’Brien, General Manager, Human Resources of Komatsu (UK) Limited, to discuss why workplace inclusivity is so important, why it is proving to be such a challenge in their sector and what employers can do to promote it.

The session will take place online on the 29th February 10:00am till 11:00am.

To register your place, please click here.

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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