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Local Authority round-up 22/04/22

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.


DfE permanently extends free school meals for children

The Department for Education (DfE) has published new guidance, providing free school meals to families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), for schools and councils. The guidance confirms that the DfE has permanently extended free school meal eligibility to children in all households with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), subject to maximum income thresholds. As a result, it has withdrawn its earlier guidance, Coronavirus (COVID-19): temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups, which reflected the temporary arrangement that was introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance states that eligible groups for free school meals include, but may not be limited to the children of, among others Zambrano carers, families with NRPF with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and families receiving support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction. The maximum income threshold varies depending on whether the family is within or outside London, and the number of children in the family. The guidance includes a sample application form and information concerning recording eligible pupils, confirming income and confirming NRPF status.

For more information please click here.

Welsh councils to receive £1.1 million to become Age Friendly

Councils in Wales will have access to £1.1 million funding to help the country become Age Friendly. Under the plans, the Welsh Government will take action to champion older people, raise awareness of older people’s rights, improve public services and spaces, and tackle age related poverty. More than £1 million is being made available to councils to help them become age friendly and involve older people in the design and planning of local services. Deputy minister for social services, Julie Morgan, said “From making sure housing supports people to age well, to creating opportunities to keep healthy and active, this plan outlines how we will work across government and with key partners, including the Older People’s Commissioner, to reject ageism and realise our vision of an age friendly Wales.”

For more information please click here.


Scotland removes legal requirement to wear face coverings

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Revocation (No 2) Regulations 2022 (SSI 2022/133) came into force on 18 April 2022. The Regulations revoke the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/277), which contained the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor settings (including certain workplaces) and on public transport as well as related enforcement provisions. The development brings Scotland into line with the rest of the UK.

For more information please click here.

International Trade

UK-India trade creates commercial deals and jobs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a two day visit to India this week to boost collaboration between UK and India as part of a trade deal. He announced a raft of commercial agreements, more than £1 billion in new investments and export deals in various areas including software engineering and health. He also announced that more than 11,000 new jobs have been created through new UK-India trade and investment deals. Mr Johnson said “Our powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth and opportunities for our people, and it will only go from strength-to-strength in the coming years.”

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

Calls grow for social landlords to have full access to funds for building safety remediation

The Local Government Association (LGA) and Labour MP Clive Betts, who chairs the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee are calling for social landlords which own tower blocks to have access to the Government’s new building safety fund. Mr Betts has written to Michael Gove asking a series of questions in relation to the Government’s announcement of an agreement with the housing industry to contribute £5 billion to address the building safety scandal. His questions include whether the funding and building safety levy will cover non-cladding as well as cladding issues, how social housing providers will be affected and the steps being taken by the Government to make other sectors, beyond developers and construction manufacturers, contribute. Mr Betts said “I hope the Secretary of State is able to provide clarification around what is covered by the funding announcement and the building safety levy, including whether it will apply to non-cladding as well as cladding issues, and the total expected amount that industry and Government will together spend on remediation. As we recommended in our recent Committee report, social landlords should have full access to funds for building safety remediation and be exempt from the Building Safety Levy. More detail from the Secretary of State on how social landlords will be affected would be welcome.”

For more information please click here.

Royal borough introduces planning order giving consent for solar panels on listed buildings

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is understood to have become the first in the country to introduce a new planning order that gives consent for solar panels on most Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings without the need for individual listed building consent. The council said that if the building is residential, planning permission is already not needed, so installing solar panels will be much simpler in future for homeowners. The order will include solar PV panels, including solar tiles or slates, or solar thermal panels. The Royal borough added that there are conditions about the positioning, materials and fixings that can be used, to protect the appearance and fabric of listed buildings – this will just need a simple application to the council. Councillor Johnny Thalassites, lead member for planning, place and environment, said “I’m proud that we’re the first council to introduce a planning order to make solar power a realistic choice for more people. Removing barriers to green energy is vital because 80% of the borough’s carbon emissions come from buildings. With 4,000 listed buildings in Kensington and Chelsea, we’ll need more of these homes and businesses running on renewables if we are going to be carbon neutral by 2040.”

For more information please click here.

Upcoming webinars

Contract Law Update with Professor Ewan McKendrick

Join us for three fortnightly consecutive lunchtime sessions running from the end of April through May with Professor Ewan McKendrick QC who will provide an insightful overview of the latest in contract law. The sessions will be held as follows:

  • Wednesday 27th April: Formation and interpretation of contracts
  • Wednesday 11th May: Incorporation of terms into contracts, implied terms, the doctrine of economic duress
  • Wed 25th May: Remedies for breach of contract

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.

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