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).
Employers admitted to the LGPS should therefore review their policies on how they exercise discretions under the LGPS to ensure that the policies are up to date, achieve value for money and protect the employer’s reputation.
In the LGPS staff can retire early from the age of 55. Even though the pension will be reduced to reflect the fact that the employee has retired early, employers have a discretion to waive that reduction. In this situation, there will usually be a cost to the employer. The pension fund may ask the employer to make a one off payment to the pension fund to cover the cost to the pension fund of waiving the reduction to pension benefits. These payments can be very substantial, amounting to tens or occasionally hundreds of thousands of pounds.
There can be reputational and other costs for employers as well. The fall-out from allowing early retirement and waiving reductions to pension benefits can include criticism from regulators if they take the view that the employer has failed to manage the risks of early retirement appropriately.
All employers admitted to the LGPS are required to have a policy governing how they will exercise certain discretions in the LGPS. This policy must include a statement on when staff will be allowed to retire flexibly and when actuarial reductions may be waived. Given changes to the regulations governing the LGPS from 1 April, all LGPS employers should be taking this opportunity to review their policies on the exercise of discretions to ensure that they appropriately manage the risks to the employer. Employers are required by the new LGPS regulations to provide a new policy statement by 1 July 2014.
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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.
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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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