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Local Authority round-up 21/03/22

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

£48 million funding announced for cultural heritage

The government has announced £48 million funding under its Cultural Investment Fund to safeguard the nation’s critical cultural heritage. The funding will be provided to more than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues to give people access to arts and culture in areas with historically low levels of cultural engagement and boost economic growth. Recipients include Bletchley Park, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Berwick Barracks. Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said “Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country. This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Regulations revoke statutory requirement for mandatory vaccination for health and social care workers in England

Following the government’s announcement that it would introduce regulations revoking the statutory requirements for vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings in England, the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No 3) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/206) came into force on 15 March 2022. These revoke The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/891), which introduced a statutory requirement for mandatory vaccination for workers in Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated care homes on 11 November 2021. These also revoke The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No 2) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/15), which were due to introduce a statutory requirement for mandatory vaccination for health and social care workers on 1 April 2022. The Department of Health and Social Care has also withdrawn its operational guidance on vaccination of care home workers and workers in social care settings other than care homes, reflecting that vaccinations are no longer a requirement for workers in these settings.

For more information please click here.

Mask rules to remain in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that, whilst all restrictions on businesses and services are being moved from being a legal requirement to guidance from 21 March, masks will still be required in Scotland. She said it would be “prudent” to keep mask rules in place due to a spike in cases which means that the requirement to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport will remain in place until April. She said: “I know this will be disappointing for businesses and service providers such as day care services. However, ensuring continued widespread use of face coverings will provide some additional protection – particularly for the most vulnerable – at a time when the risk of infection is very high, and it may help us get over this spike more quickly.”

For more information please click here.

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International Trade

Government imposes Russia and Belarus tariffs and bans luxury goods exports

On 15 March 2022, HM Treasury (HMT) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that the UK would impose additional tariffs on goods from Russia and Belarus and ban luxury goods exports. The government confirmed that they would cease to provide most-favoured nation (MFN) tariff treatment to Russia and Belarus. The basis in international law for the suspension of MFN treatment for Russia, which is ordinarily entitled to MFN treatment as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is not set out, but it is likely that the UK would intend to rely on WTO national security exceptions. Belarus is not a member of the WTO and has no entitlement to MFN treatment. It will also impose an additional tariff of 35% on various Russian and Belarussian goods, including iron, steel, aluminium, vodka, fertiliser and others. For a full list of targeted goods, see HMT and DIT: Additional Duties of 35% on Russian and Belarusian Imports: Product List. The announcement states that the tariff increases will be imposed using powers under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 (presumably under section 15, which allows for tariff increases in the event of a dispute or other issue with another country) and given effect next week. It also imposed a ban on exports of luxury goods to Russia, which will “likely affect luxury vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art”.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Early termination of flexible tenancies possible with break clause or forfeiture clause

The Supreme Court has held that a secure tenancy for a fixed-term tenancy could be brought to an end before its fixed-term expired, where the tenancy agreement contained a forfeiture clause or a break clause. The case concerned a fixed-term, five year secure tenancy (a flexible tenancy) between Croydon London Borough Council (LBC) and the respondent (K). LBC had sought possession before the fixed-term of the tenancy had expired on the statutory grounds of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour under Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985 (HA 1985). It did not rely on any “non-default” grounds. The High Court rejected LBC’s possession claim, and the Court of Appeal rejected its subsequent appeal. The Supreme Court (Lord Briggs) considered that a break clause in a fixed term tenancy agreement would allow a landlord to seek possession when the break clause became exercisable under any of the statutory grounds (but not before). This made the tenancy “subject to termination” under section 82(1)(b) of the HA 1985. This analysis also applied to termination by forfeiture. If the tenancy agreement contained a forfeiture clause, but no break clause, the tenancy could only be terminated under section 82(3) of the HA 1985 by termination in lieu of forfeiture before or at the same as seeking possession on statutory grounds. A fixed-term tenancy without a forfeiture clause or a break clause could not be terminated under the HA 1985 until it expired by effluxion of time. Although the Supreme Court upheld LBC’s appeal in part on the ground that the tenancy agreement did, in fact, contain a forfeiture clause, the possession claim was bound to fail because LBC had not relied on non-default grounds which would have engaged it. The claim was, in any event, academic because K’s tenancy agreement had expired. The decision has significant implications for local housing authorities, given the number of flexible tenancies in England, who may need to consider the terms of their tenancy agreements and how these correspond to the grounds supporting possession claims.

For more information please click here.

£3 million funding to support 25 areas to produce local design codes

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that 25 areas in England from Bournemouth to Carlisle, have been awarded a share of £3 million under The Design Code Pathfinder Programme. The funding is being provided to help them set their own standards for design locally and being able to have their say on the development of new homes, buildings and amenities. Housing Minister Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP said “We want to give local people power over what their neighbourhoods look like and make sure all new developments enhance their surroundings and preserve local character and identity. Whether that’s choosing red brick for new buildings in our industrial heartland cities or choosing to set sustainability standards for newbuild homes, our Pathfinder Programme will help turn visions of greener, more beautiful homes and places into standards which developers adhere to.”

For more information please click here.

Joint venture to deliver 6,600 homes announced

Homes England, the Government’s housing and regeneration agency, has recommitted to a joint venture that is set to deliver 6,600 new homes and 2 million square foot of innovation and commercial space over the next 10 years. The English Cities Fund (ECF), a joint venture between Homes England, Legal & General and the national regeneration business, Muse Developments, aims to deliver housing and long-term urban regeneration projects. Among the projects planned are a £2.5 billion, 240-acre scheme that ECF has secured at Salford Crescent in partnership with Salford City Council and the University of Salford, which will bring over 3,000 homes, alongside up to 1m square foot of space to innovate and collaborate. ECF has also partnered with St Helens Borough Council to bring forward opportunities to regenerate areas across the borough, such as delivering a new market hall, grade-A office space, high-quality, town-centre homes, active transport infrastructure, along with extensive public realm improvements. Together, the regeneration of these two key levelling up areas will deliver more than 4,000 of the 6,600 new homes.

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinars

CPD Programme – Discrimination and family friendly rights

The fourth webinar in our CPD Programme focuses on discrimination and family friendly rights. Join us on Tuesday 29th March at 10am where Roisin Patton and Gillian Chinhengo will cover question such as What is equality, diversity and inclusion? What is discrimination and protected characteristics? What form can discrimination take in the workplace? How do you identify and prevent discrimination? Family friendly rights and Horizon issues.

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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