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Local Authority round-up – 25/03/22

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

£10 million fund for new traveller sites

Communities Minister, Kemi Badenoch has announced a £10 million fund to create new traveller sites across England. The funding will be available to councils in 2022/23 to enable them to provide transit sites and stopping places, so travellers have authorised places to stay, and access to facilities and services. Councils will be able to bid for funding to develop existing sites but also to create new ones. Mr Badenoch, said “It’s vital that everyone has access to the kind of services that offer the best support. So, these new and improved sites will give travellers easier routes to healthcare, education, and employment. This funding is just one of the ways the government is improving opportunities for communities across the country.”

For more information please click here.

Round four of the Safer Streets Fund launched

The Home Office has announced that the government is providing a further £150 million under round four of the Safer Streets Fund in order to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. The funding will be available over the next three years for police and crime commissioners, councils across England and Wales and certain civil society organisations who can bid for up to £500,000 per year for each project. Crime, Policing and Probation Minister Malthouse said “As well as being tough on criminals, we need to outsmart them where we can, preventing their crimes. The Safer Streets Fund does exactly that, giving neighbourhoods the money they need to “target harden” their homes and streets, outfoxing villains and making them think twice before offending. We want everyone to feel safe in the public space, and as we build safer streets, town by town, I hope that we can restore pride, alongside safety, as something people say about where they live.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Scotland confirms further dates to relax COVID-19 restrictions

The Scottish statutory requirements for employers to have regard to government guidance and take steps to reduce incidence and spread of COVID-19 were revoked on 21 March 2022. The Scottish Government has now confirmed dates for the next steps in the relaxation of restrictions in Scotland. On 29 March 2022, the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor settings, currently contained in regulations 5 and 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (SSI 2021/277), will be reviewed and any changes will be implemented from 4 April 2022. From 1 April 2022, the requirement for employers to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their risk assessment will be removed, from the end of April 2022, self-isolation guidance will be replaced by advice that anyone experiencing COVID symptoms or any symptoms of flu should stay at home and from 18 April 2022, staff will no longer be advised to test twice weekly and employers will no longer be able to order lateral flow test kits via the workplace testing programme.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

UK pork producers to be able to export to Chile

The Chilean market is now open to UK pork exports approved by the Chilean Authorities. Chilean authorities have now opened up their market to 27 firms across the UK including those in Angus, Armagh, Wrexham and Suffolk in a move which is estimated to be worth £20 million in the first five years of trade. Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said “The pig sector is facing a range of challenges and we must make use of all levers available to us. That includes new export markets, and it is great to see the Chilean market open its doors to our pig producers. This will be worth £20m over the next five years and will build on other measures we have introduced to bolster the industry.”

For more information please click here.

UK and US reach agreement on steel and aluminium tariffs

On 22 March 2022, the UK and US announced an agreement under which there will be a change in tariffs. The US will remove additional tariffs of 25% on certain UK steel products and 10% on certain UK aluminium products that had originally been imposed in 2018. The tariffs will be replaced with tariff rate quotas under which a set amount of UK steel and aluminium may be exported to the US tariff-free each year, the level of which has been based on historical trade flows. If a quantity above that amount is exported, it will be subject to the additional tariffs. Additional tariffs have been removed entirely for derivative products of steel and aluminium. The UK will remove additional “rebalancing” tariffs on various US goods, including bourbon whiskey and motorcycles, that were imposed in response to the US steel and aluminium tariffs. The agreement will take effect on 1 June 2022 and also includes a commitment by the UK to arrange for an independent third party to carry out annual audits of Chinese-owned UK steel companies (which would include British Steel) to check for market-distorting practices that would materially contribute to non-market excess capacity of steel, and to report the results to the US.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

CMA secures undertakings to remove costly ground rent terms

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has secured undertakings from 15 businesses to remove costly ground rent terms. The existing terms, which were set by housing developer Countryside, were continuing to be imposed by businesses who bought the freeholds from Countryside and meant that ground rents were doubling in price every ten to fifteen years. The CMA believed that the original doubling clauses were unfair terms and should therefore have been fully removed however when the businesses bought the freehold those terms were not removed. After the CMA wrote to those businesses setting out its concerns they have now agreed to remove those terms. Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said “Thousands more leaseholders can now rest easy knowing they will not be forced to pay costly doubling ground rents. We believe these terms are unjust and unwarranted, and can result in people trapped in homes they are unable to sell or mortgage – a major cause of anxiety and stress for so many. We welcome the commitment from these businesses to do what is right by their leaseholders by removing these terms, and we will hold them to it.”

For more information please click here.

Innovative new technology to help residents have their say on local developments

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced that over £3.25 million will be spent on 28 projects across England to enable members of the public to use new technology, including 3D interactive maps and virtual reality, to have a greater say in shaping and regenerating their communities. The pilots will run until September 2022 and will inform the government’s work to modernise the planning system. DLUHC is working closely with local planning authorities to establish best practice and identify where further digital guidance and innovations are needed. Minister for Housing Stuart Andrew said “We need a modernised planning system which fully embraces digital technology to create places in which people take real pride. By bringing the planning system up to date with the latest methods, we are ensuring that communities can have more of a say on the development of their town, city or neighbourhood.”

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.

Reintegrating into the physical workplace – Have we forgotten how to behave?

Join our panel of experts, Paul Deemer (Head of Diversity and Inclusion at NHS Employers), Jiten Patel (Director of Diversync Limited) and Caroline Shafar (Partner and Joint Head of Healthcare Employment) to explore the impact of these issues and what employers should be doing to reintegrate staff back into a workplace that is respectful of one another.

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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