Skip to content

Local Authority round-up 24/03/23

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.


Chancellor’s Spring Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, announced his Spring Budget this week. The budget included a raft of new ‘Levelling Up Partnerships’, with £400 million in investment, £200 million for regeneration, £200 million extra to help local councils in England repair potholes and a further £100 million for charities and community groups. Mr Hunt also announced new deals for the West Midlands and Greater Manchester combined authorities, and confirmed 12 investment zones and £63 million for leisure centres with swimming pools in order to help them with rising heating costs and investment to become more energy efficient. Alongside these measures, the Chancellor also announced the Government’s intention to boost the workforce by encouraging disabled people, pensioners, parents of young children and universal credit recipients into work. This included extending the provisions of providing 30 hours of free childcare for working parents in England to cover every child over the age of 9 months with working parents by September 2025, a new voluntary employment scheme for disabled people in England and Wales, called Universal Support and £63 million for programmes to encourage retirees over 50 back to work, “returnerships” and skills boot camps. Mr Hunt said “Our plan is working – inflation falling, debt down and a growing economy. Britain is on a lasting path to growth with a revolution in childcare support, the biggest ever employment package and the best investment incentives in Europe.”

For more information please click here.

Funding to upgrade social homes and public buildings

The government have announced £1.8 billion of funding through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant and the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to upgrade social homes and public buildings.  £1.4 billion of the funding will be allocated to local authorities, providers of social housing and charities and it is expected that more than 115,000 homes across England will receive upgrades which will improve their energy efficiency and save them money on their energy bills. £409 million will be given to improve public sector buildings such as schools and hospitals in order to reduce their carbon emissions by upgrading heating systems which will be powered by cleaner, cheaper, renewable energy. Emma Pinchbeck, Chief Executive of Energy UK said “Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s draughty homes and buildings is the best way to cut energy bills permanently, while also boosting the UK’s energy security and reducing carbon emissions. Today’s announcement will rightly prioritise those who need support the most like low- income households, social housing and public buildings.”

For more information please click here.

£58.8 million Cultural Investment Fund announced

The government has announced that funding of £58.8 million will be provided under the Cultural Investment Fund which will see more than 70 cultural organisations across the country receive funding in order to level up opportunities to access the arts. The money will be allocated to various organisations so that they can upgrade and create new venues in order to improve people’s access to the arts. This includes Basildon Brough Council who will receive £4.4 million to turn empty properties in the town centre into creative facilities. £350,000 will also go to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens to improve infrastructure and protect its nationally important collections covering social and natural history.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

39 developers sign building safety contract

39 developers, including the top 10 biggest UK housebuilders, have now signed the government’s legally binding building safety contract. The signed agreements will raise at least £2 billion in remediation costs in order to fix unsafe buildings they developed or refurbished. Signatories obligations start immediately and require them to fix all life-critical fire-safety defects in all English buildings over 11 metres they had a role in developing or refurbishing. It also requires them to reimburse the taxpayer where government funds have already paid for remediation, with that money being used to make other buildings safe faster. Levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove said “I am grateful to those developers who have done the right thing today by signing this legally binding contract. We will be monitoring their progress on remediation very closely, to ensure this work is completed urgently and safely. For those developers that have taken responsibility, today offers the chance for a reset, so we can get on and build more of the safe, decent and affordable homes we so desperately need.”

For more information please click here.

Funding for councils to recruit skilled planners

Minister for Housing and Planning Rachel Maclean has announced £1 million in government funding for social enterprise Public Practice. The money will be used to enable councils to recruit and develop more skilled planning professionals in order to speed up property development. Ms Maclean said “Planning plays such an important role in shaping our neighbourhoods, making sure we have the right housing and infrastructure to level up the nation. It is essential that our planning authorities have the skills and resources they need and today’s funding will make sure the sector is better equipped to deliver a quality service for local communities.”

For more information please click here.

Government consults on new infrastructure levy

The government has launched a consultation on a new infrastructure levy which will replace section 106 contributions for most developments. The new levy will be paid by developers to ensure they pay a fairer share for affordable housing and local infrastructure such as GP surgeries, transport links and schools and will mean that they cannot negotiate on the amount they contribute to the community. The levy will be calculated on completion of projects and levy rates will be set by councils who will also have a new ‘right to require’ which will enable them to dictate how much of the levy is delivered through affordable housing on-site in new developments and how much is given in cash for other infrastructure. The consultation will run for 12 weeks after which it is expected that a further consultation will be launched on the proposed regulations.

For more information please click here.

Upcoming webinars

Webinar series: Data Protection

Register your interest for our on-going webinar series on ‘Data Protection’ for in-house lawyers, DPOs and senior management in private and public sector organisations. The series will run throughout 2023 providing attendees with up to date information on key Data Protection topics. The short one hour sessions will be delivered by our experts with allocated time for you to ask any questions you may have. The next in our series ‘Data Subject Access Request’ will take place on 16 May 2023.

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.

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.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking