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Local Authority round-up 25/06/2021

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

£160 million funding to support struggling families

The Government has announced the COVID Local Support Grant has been extended until the end of September to enable councils to help families in need. This means that councils will receive an extra £160 million to help struggling families with food and utility bills through food vouchers and help with heating costs over the winter months. Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said “This grant is ensuring that thousands of families get help with food and essential utility bills as we move back towards normality. The new funding extends this lifeline to those most in need in the coming months as we continue to help families back on their feet, including supporting people back into work through our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Government plans to legislate on private COVID-19 tests

The government has prepared draft legislation to regulate private COVID-19 tests from 1 September 2021 by requiring them to be validated prior to sale. This will mean that all private molecular and antigen tests will be required to pass through a new rigorous and efficient validation process to guarantee they will give reliable results and bring them into line with NHS Test & Trace standards. Producers of tests currently on the market will need to apply for validation by 1st September 2021 and have passed successfully by 31 October 2021 in order to continue selling tests past 31 October 2021.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

Negotiations to join CPTPP begin

Britain launched negotiations with 11 countries belonging to The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on 22 June 2021. If successful, it will mean that Britain will become a part of the £9 trillion free trade area, lower tariffs on goods like cars and whisky, and create new opportunities for UK farmers. It is expected that our exports to CPTPP countries are set to increase by 65% up to 2030, a total increase of £37 billion. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said “This part of the world is where Britain’s greatest opportunities lie. We left the EU with the promise of deepening links with old allies and fast-growing consumer markets beyond Europe, and joining the high-standards Trans-Pacific Partnership is an important part of that vision. Membership would help our farmers, makers and innovators sell to some of the biggest economies of the present and future, but without ceding control over our laws, borders or money. It is a glittering post-Brexit prize that I want us to seize.”

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UK food and drink exports sales drop 47%

Figures from The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have revealed that UK food and drink exports to the EU have fallen by almost half in the first quarter of 2021, compared with the same period last year. This has been deemed largely due to changes in the UK’s trading relationships since leaving the EU but it was also noted that COVID-19 will have also impacted those exports. Sales to Ireland fell by more than 70% and sales to Germany, Spain and Italy fell by more than half. Dominic Goudie, the FDF’s head of international trade, said “It is a very clear indication of the scale of losses that UK manufacturers face in the longer-term due to new trade barriers with the EU.”

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EU expected to extend grace period for chilled meat exports

Exports of chilled meats from GB to NI are due to be banned at the end of June under the terms of the NI Protocol however the UK has asked the EU to extend a grace period for chilled meats until the end of September. It is reported that the European Commission has recommended a delay should be allowed however the EU has said it wanted further discussions with the UK before confirming the delay. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is expected to discuss the matter with the Irish government at a high-level joint summit in Dublin on Thursday but said that the current situation was “unsustainable.”

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Planning and housing

Cornwall tackles housing shortage

Cornwall Council has said that it currently has 1000 people in need of emergency housing accommodation, which has doubled since the same period in 2020. Many people are now being housed in hotels but this does not provide security as they are often moved to make way for paying customers. To tackle this, it is looking into purchasing 100 park homes to be built on pop-up sites and has ordered 30 self-contained portable cabins with cooking and showering facilities which are due to arrive in July. Councillor Olly Monk said “The Council needs to own this provision so we can offer security of tenure to the families and individuals in need. We’re acting with urgency to deal with the immediate issue of those in need of emergency accommodation that offers security.”

For more information 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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