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Local Authority round-up 17/09/21

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 to receive funding for supporting Afghanistan families

The government has announced a funding package for councils across the UK who support the resettlement of families who have come to the UK having been at risk in Afghanistan through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy scheme. Councils will receive £20,520 per person, over three years and will receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English language provision for adults requiring this support and £2,600 to cover healthcare. The Afghan Housing Costs Fund will also be increase from £5 million to £17 million and run for 2 extra years to help councils provide housing. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said “we urgently need more offers of accommodation to welcome Afghan families who have remained firm allies of the UK, working with our troops and our country so bravely in recent years. With this extra funding in place, I’m asking all councils who have not yet come forward to contact us with a firm offer of support to help these families secure the best possible start to their new lives.”

For more information please click here.

Welsh councils given funding for social care services

Deputy minister for social services, Julie Morgan, has announced that councils in Wales will receive £40 million in funding for social care services. A further £8 million will also be available to extend the carers support fund. She said “We place huge value on social care in Wales and we ask a lot of the sector. It is facing significant pressures as a result of the pandemic and – just like our NHS staff – the workforce is exhausted from working so hard for so long. This new funding recognises the challenges the sector is facing and will help to address some of the financial pressures it faces. It also includes new funding to invest in priority areas to improve services, in line with our ambitions and commitments.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Councils should be given tough new powers to tackle non-transport related pollution

The City Corporation and London Councils have outlined proposals to enable councils to tackle air pollution caused by boilers, construction machinery and generators and are calling for councils to be given new powers to enable them to do so. The subject was debated in the House of Lords this week. Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, Keith Bottomley, said “Local authorities have been given the responsibility to improve air quality, but they do not have regulatory powers to deal with non-transport related pollution. These essential measures would give them tough new powers to further clean up the UK’s air. The public must see a major improvement in air quality. Their councils need the ability to take bold and practical steps to combat all air pollution at a local level.”

For more information please click here.


International Trade

UK delays checks on EU goods until 2022

In a written statement to Parliament on 6 September 2021, the UK government announced that it will continue to operate the Northern Ireland Protocol to the UK-EU withdrawal agreement on the current basis, including the grace periods and easements currently in force.  In March 2021, the government announced a series of unilateral measures relating to the Protocol, including measures on agri-food movements and parcel movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The European Commission responded by launching infringement proceedings against the UK. In June 2021, the UK and the EU agreed through the Joint Committee to extend the grace period for the movement of certain meat products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland until the end of September 2021. The UK government has now confirmed that they will be extending the introduction of post-Brexit checks on food and farming imports to England, Scotland and Wales, until January and July next year. The UK government continues to aim for a new UK-EU agreement under Article 13(8) to supersede parts of the Protocol, failing which it has stated its belief that the threshold has been met for triggering Article 16 safeguards. The European Commission froze its legal actions in July. The government’s latest statement confirms that there have been initial technical talks between the UK and the EU since July, which will continue in order to determine whether a constructive process can be established for discussing and addressing the issues identified with the Protocol.

For more information please click here.

EU confirms it will not renegotiate Northern Ireland Protocol

In a statement on 6 September 2021, the European Commission took note of the UK government’s statement, but repeated that the EU will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol. It also continued to stress that the withdrawal agreement is an international agreement, the Protocol is the agreed solution between the UK and the EU to the problems caused by Brexit for the island of Ireland, and both sides are legally bound to fulfil their obligations under the agreement. The EU also reserved its rights in respect of infringement proceedings, however it noted that at present, the Commission is not moving to the next stage of the infringement procedure launched in March 2021, and is not opening any new infringements for now.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Councils express concern about practicalities of implementing new fire safety legislation

The Local Government Association (LGA) has said it welcomes the introduction of the Fire Safety Act and the Building Safety Bill and hopes they will be “an important step in the right direction”, but has expressed concern about some of the practicalities of the implementation of new fire safety legislation for both resident safety and councils. It said the Building Safety Bill, “while welcome”, needed to be expanded in scope in order to safeguard those, especially the vulnerable, in buildings under 18 metres. The LGA also warned that the imposition of the developer levy on social landlords might undermine the ability of councils to deliver social housing. It also said that to ensure new legislation is successful in protecting lives, national government must ensure that local government is reimbursed for any additional costs arising out of the operational changes mandated by fire safety legislation.

For more information please click here.


Upcoming Webinars

Resilience and mental wellbeing

Ward Hadaway are delighted to invite you to join us for this powerful session on Wednesday 22nd September at 11am where founder and CEO of Mental Health in Business, Samaritans Volunteer and TEDx Speaker, Claire Russell will share with us some of the experiences that saw her invited to take to the TEDx stage with her talk on Resilience. She will also share an important understanding about resilience, and some practical tools that we can all reach for to help us to develop personal and organisational resilience and mental wellbeing.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

Public Sector Property update

Please join us at our online Public Sector Property update where our legal experts will update you on property and construction law developments relevant to the Public Sector. Register below for this free 90 minute session on 23rd September at 9.30am. You will be able to submit questions in advance, or using the Zoom Q&A feature during the event.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

The impact of the menopause in the workplace

Ward Hadaway is hosting a series of events exploring the impact of the menopause in the workplace and what very practical things organisations can do to provide relevant support. Join us in the first of these sessions to take place on 5th October from 3.30pm to 5pm where we will be speaking to Dr Joanne Hobson, specialist in menopause and hugely experienced in providing education and advice on this topic.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

Recruitment, Contracts of employment and Handbook

The first webinar in our CPD Programme will focus on recruitment, contracts of employment and handbook.  This session will take place by Zoom on 7th October at 10am.  These sessions are completely free and 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 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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