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Local Authority round-up 22/11/19

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.


Lib Dems identify “Remain bonus”

The Liberal Democrats manifesto says that the UK has a brighter future within the EU and remaining will free up £50 billion to spend on public services The party claims that staying in the EU would boost economic growth and generate a £50 billion “Remain bonus,” from additional tax receipts over the next five years and not paying the £39 billion “divorce bill.” It also claims that the economy will be 1.9% larger by 2024-5 than it would otherwise be if the UK leaves on the basis of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement. Jo Swinston has said that if the Lib Dems win a majority they would cancel Brexit entirely by revoking the Article 50 process for leaving the EU.

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TV debate clash over Brexit

In the first TV debate of the election campaign, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn argued their contradicting policies over Brexit. Mr Johnson said that he would get the Brexit deal he agreed with the UK into law and take the UK out of the bloc by 31 January and begin talks with Brussels on a permanent trading relationship. Mr Corbyn said he would tear up Mr Johnson’s agreement and negotiate a new deal with the EU, with a customs union and a closer relationship with the single market, which he would then put to a public vote. This was confirmed in Labour’s election manifesto, launched on Thursday.

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Council offers £10,000 package to attract foreign companies

Torbay Council is to offer foreign-owned companies up to £10,000 to relocate all or part of their business into the area. This ‘soft landings’ package is part of the council’s ‘invest in Torbay’ scheme, and is also being rolled out to foreign-owned companies already with a UK presence. As part of the scheme, the Torbay Development Agency (TDA) is engaging with a number of foreign owned companies in Europe and the US to support investment. The spokesperson at TDA Jason Buck said ‘The soft landings programme provides a further incentive and helps support companies with the initial financial challenges of relocating.”

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Local Government Associations authorise “civility in public life” programme

The UK’s four Local Government Associations leaders agreed to a shared programme of action to promote greater civility in public life. The programme was authorised at the UK forum earlier this month, with the aim of tackling concerns over the “growing level of intimidation of councillors and the increasingly toxic nature of debate is having on the democracy of our country”. The Chair of the Local Government Association, Cllr James Jamieson, said “Debate and having different views is all part of a healthy democracy, but abuse, intimidation and threats undermine democratic decision making by generating fear in those who represent it”. The councillor expressed grave concerns over the increasing incidents of intimidation and abuse of elected representatives, he said “These attacks risk the personal safety of councillors, undermine local democracy and can put off prospective candidates from standing.”

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LGA justifies £930m profit from parking charges

The RAC Foundation has revealed that councils in England made a profit for £930m last year from parking operations, this surplus is up 7% of the previous year. The Transport spokesman for the LGA, Cllr David Renard, said “Councils are on the side of motorists and shoppers when setting parking policies, which aim to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving”. Cllr Renard justified the profits, adding that “Any income raised through on-street parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as filling potholes, supporting concessionary bus fares to help reduce congestion and other local transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.”

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Planning and housing

New guide to provide clarity on council property investments

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has produced a new guide to add clarity on council property investments. The guidance outlines that councils should not borrow more than they need to purely make profit. The head of policy and technical at CIPFA, Don Peebles, said “In a landscape still reeling from a decade of austerity, we would not expect commercial investments in property to be abandoned in full. However, we must ensure that responsible decisions are made with transparency and financial sustainability in mind.”.

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Housing affordability crisis is driving families into homelessness

New data from homeless charity Crisis has revealed that families are being pushed into homelessness as they are unable to afford their homes when relying on housing benefit and are being forced to live in emergency or temporary accommodation.  Staying in emergency or unsuitable temporary accommodation, such as hostels and B&Bs, affects 61,000 families.  Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis said “We need to see action if we are to prevent thousands of people from losing their homes. The next Government cannot ignore the widespread public desire to change the system – it must do all it can to make sure everyone has a home they can afford.”

For more information please click here.

Upcoming seminars

As you may well know we run a programme of seminars on a wide range of topics. Listed below are those seminars coming up which we feel may be of interest to you. Please click on the links for further information and to book your place. You can see our full programme of upcoming events by clicking here.

HR and employment law update

Hear from Ward Hadaway’s employment specialists who will ensure that you are kept up-to-date with the latest developments in employment law.

Thursday 28th November (Middlesbrough)

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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