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Local Authority round-up 19/08/22

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

Councils to receive funding to help people with autism into work

Twenty-four councils across England and Wales are set to receive £7.6 million over the next three years to help over 2,000 adults with learning disabilities and autism move into work. The grant funding from the Local Supported Employment (LSE) initiative will support between 60 and 140 adults with learning disabilities, autism or both in 22 council areas in England and two in Wales. The support will include assigning job coaches who can carry out vocation profiling, engage employers and provide in-work support to help develop more careers. Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Chloe Smith MP said “Disabled people deserve the same opportunities to start, stay and succeed in employment as everyone else. We know that those with autism and learning disabilities can face particular barriers to employment, which is why we’re spending £7.6m through the Local Supported Employment initiative. We hope to break down those barriers and use local networks to help more disabled people reach their full potential.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Scottish councils legally required to offer free period products

Scotland has become the first country in the world to protect in law the right to access free period products. The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act means that councils and education providers will be legally required to make period products available free of charge to anyone who needs them. Social justice secretary Shona Robison said “Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them. This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products.” The Act builds on the Period Products in Schools (Scotland) Regulations which came into force in October 2020, placing a duty on councils and grant-aided schools to provide free products for pupils. People can find their nearest collection point through the PickupMyPeriod mobile app which was launched earlier this year by social enterprise Hey Girls with Scottish Government support.

For more information please click here.

Register of overseas entities

A Companies House letter has been sent to overseas entities owning or leasing property or land in the UK, who must register with Companies House and provide information about their beneficial owners or managing officers by 31 January 2023. The letter contains guidance on the information required where registrable owners are beneficiaries under a trust. This includes details about current or past beneficial owners, settlors, grantors and interested persons. However, the letter also explains that information about the trust will only be shared with law enforcement and other public authorities such as HMRC. It will not be available to the public. The register of overseas entities was created under the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (ECTEA 2022). On 1 August 2022, most of the provisions of Part 1 of the ECTEA 2022 relating to the registration of overseas entities came into force.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

New tariff policy for trade with developing countries

The government has announced its plans for a new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), which will replace the existing Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) in early 2023. Like the GSP, the DCTS will involve the UK granting unilateral tariff preferences to developing countries, subject to certain conditions. Several changes have been announced that are intended to extend the scope of the scheme so that more imports will qualify for lower tariffs, and to make it easier for traders to make use of the scheme. The key changes compared with the GSP include:

  • Providing for more liberal product-specific rules of origin for least developed countries (LDCs).
  • Allowing LDCs to cumulate with other developing countries (that is, imports from LDCs may still qualify for lower tariffs even if many of the components used in the relevant products originate in other developing countries).
  • Making more goods eligible for tariff reductions, including tomatoes, olive oil, animal feed and pet food ingredients.
  • Eliminating so-called “nuisance” tariffs (that is, tariffs of 2% or less), and some tariffs that only apply on a seasonal basis.
  • For lower-income countries and lower-middle income countries, ensuring that access to enhanced preferences is based purely on the economic vulnerability of each country.

The government’s announcement suggests that this approach is “more generous” and will result in eight countries becoming immediately eligible for enhanced preferences, namely Algeria, Congo, Cook Islands, Micronesia, Nigeria, Niue, Syria and Tajikistan.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Self-build exemption not available where chargeable development is authorised by retrospective planning permission

Self-build housing or self-build communal development is eligible for an exemption to pay the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) (regulation 54A, CIL Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/948)). Self-build housing is a dwelling built by a person (including where built following a commission by that person) and occupied by that person as a sole or main residence (regulation 54A(2), CIL Regulations 2010). In a recent case, the High Court held that it was not possible to claim the self-build exemption where the chargeable development was authorised by a retrospective planning permission. Mr Gardiner appealed against the High Court’s judgment and the Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal. Section 208 of the Planning Act 2008 does not provide that there can be an assumption of liability to CIL before planning permission is granted for a “chargeable development” which, under regulation 9(1) of the CIL Regulations 2010, is a development with the benefit of a grant of planning permission. Properly construed, the provisions of regulation 31 do not make possible an effective assumption of liability to CIL for a development that does not have the necessary planning permission. Only when planning permission is granted for “chargeable development” can that be achieved. Under regulation 31(1), liability can only be assumed for a “chargeable development”. An effective assumption of liability must precede the making of a claim for the self-build housing exemption under regulation 54B(2)(a)(ii). Regulation 31(4) has the effect of identifying the day on which a person is “deemed to have assumed liability”. However, it cannot have the effect of generating an assumption of liability with any real consequences before that is capable of existing under the statutory scheme.

For more information please click here.

Grant worth £500,000 launched to help social housing residents

The Government has announced social housing residents are to be given more access to training and support to help them raise issues with their landlord. A £500,000 grant to provide training, boost confidence and offer toolkits for residents on a range of social housing issues yesterday opened for bids. The Resident Opportunities and Empowerment programme will run from Autumn 2022 to Spring 2025 and is aimed at empowering social housing residents to hold their landlord to account. It includes, for example, guidance on how to form a residents’ panel. Minister for rough sleeping and housing Eddie Hughes MP said “Tenants have a right for their voices to be heard – and we want to ensure they have the tools and resources to do this. We committed to rebalancing the relationship between social housing tenants and landlords as part of our Social Housing White Paper. This new grant will enable an organisation with expertise in the sector to help tenants take an active role in how their home is managed.”

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinars

The Building Safety Act 2022: What do you need to know?

With the introduction of the Fire Safety Act last year and the more recent Building Safety Act 2022, it might feel like the rules and regulations for social housing providers are in a constant state of flux. As such the social housing team at Ward Hadaway would like to invite you to attend a free webinar on 28th September at 12pm, discussing the ins and outs of the Building Safety Act 2022. At this webinar Construction specialist, Neil Williamson, will give an overview of the Act, helping you to understand what it means for registered providers and local authorities. Neil will also offer his keen insight into how these changes will impact new developments and the contractual arrangements that providers will now need to implement. Fire safety and general building safety is always of utmost precedence, and this discussion promises to contain the useful and practical advice, to guide you, our colleagues in the social housing sector, through the recent changes in regulation.

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

Holiday pay update for schools

The Supreme Court has recently handed down a judgment on holiday pay which will have significant implications throughout the education sector. Join us on 15th September at 10am where Graham Vials and Tom Shears will look into this judgment in more detail, including what it may mean for schools in terms of historic financial liability and the steps which schools should be considering moving forward in response to this judgment.

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

Mental wellbeing and suicide prevention

The most recent figures confirm there were 6292 deaths by suicide in the UK in 2020. Each one of these incidents will have had a devastating effect on the individual’s family, friends and colleagues, making the extent of those affected by these tragedies significantly more wide-ranging. World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) aims to raise awareness of how we can create an environment where fewer people die by suicide. Please join us on Thursday 8th September, when we will be joined by Claire Russell, Founder and CEO of Mental Health in Business, and Suicide Prevention Educator and Advocate.

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.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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