The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
The Construction Leadership Council (the CLC) has released its new recovery plan for the UK construction sector entitled “Roadmap to Recovery”.
It aims to support increased activity in the construction industry following the Coronavirus pandemic but estimates that recovery will be gradual, mostly taking place in 2021.
The plan encourages employers on construction projects (including public sector employers) to push forward with projects to help stimulate the construction industry. The plan includes the following recommendations:
- Employers should open as many sites as possible where it is safe to do so under the Government guidelines.
- Public sector employers should use the relief measures provided in PPN 02/20 to support supply chains and extend working hours on-site wherever possible (other PPNs on the same topic have also been published as per our latest ebriefing.
- The Government should accelerate consideration of business cases from public sectors to expedite new procurements, accelerate their Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) and non-ACM cladding remediation programmes, make apprenticeship levies more flexible to ensure that new talent is still entering the industry, and delay new VAT rules (which make payment of tax the responsibility of the employer rather than the contractor) until 2021 to help with cash flow.
The construction sector plays a critical role in the UK economy (the CLC estimate it accounts for 8.6% of GDP) and investment in projects such as significant new infrastructure is one approach governments can take to mitigate economic downturn. Equally though, individually construction projects involve significant risk and uncertainty meaning it is important that employers make informed and risk-balanced decisions to move their projects forward, particularly when considering the relief measures referred to.
By now, most employers will have reopened project-sites but may be under some pressure from contractors to offer them some of the relief measures set out in the various PPNs (such as making advanced payments or making “normal” payments despite service disruption). As these measures shift commercial risk onto the employer, we recommend taking a measured approach to determining whether that level of extra risk is something employers can realistically take. You can also read our more detailed briefings.
For many of our clients, the spirit behind these recommendations will be close to home with clients considering what they can do to support their communities post-lockdown. The CLC’s recommendations act as a reminder of how important apprenticeships are to both supporting local employment levels now as well as creating a sustained workforce for the future. We suspect that now more than ever, our clients will be concerned with ensuring that every contract let achieves maximum social value for pound spent.
The Construction team at Anthony Collins Solicitors has supported a number of clients through the uncertainties posed by Coronavirus and continues to be on hand to support you as the situation develops. For further information or advice, please contact Martin Brown or your usual contact within the team.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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