The LGA seeks to influence and shape legislation on behalf of councils, making sure that the needs of communities are considered as new proposals come before Parliament.
In 2020/21 we worked to influence the following pieces of legislation.
Domestic Abuse Act 2021
The Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced to tackle domestic abuse by, for example, legislating for the first time for a statutory definition of domestic abuse. We worked to support this Act as it passed through Parliament, highlighting the important role councils will continue to play in tackling abuse. Through our work we helped to secure new funding to help councils with the introduction of the Act and worked with the Government as it committed to developing a National Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Strategy, which is something the LGA has long called for.
- Fire Safety Act 2021
We have worked with Government and Parliament on the Fire Safety Act, highlighting the need for greater protection for leaseholders which the Government has said will be dealt with in the forthcoming Building Safety Bill. Meanwhile to address our concern about the shortage of fire safety assessors, the Government bought forward amendments to ensure that the legislation will protect responsible persons in law, where they are genuinely unable to review their fire risk assessments and will ensure that higher risk premises are assessed before lower risk premises.
- Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Act 2021
The Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) (No.2) Bill aimed to set the date of the next Business Rates revaluation undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) as 1 April 2023. This revaluation will be based on property values as of 1 April 2021 so that, in the Government’s view, it better reflects the impact of COVID-19. As part of our engagement on the Bill, we welcomed the closer working between the VOA and councils and called for measures to significantly reduce the 40,000 backlog of 2010 rating list appeals. We also made the point that the VOA and councils should receive additional funding to implement the changes.
- Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Act
The Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill seeks to provide 100 per cent business rates relief for standalone public lavatories in England and Wales. We supported the measures in the Bill and called for councils to be compensated for this and other mandatory reliefs.
In the new Parliamentary session, we will be working on a range of legislation that is being carried-over as there was not adequate time for it to be agreed by Parliament due to the emergency response to COVID-19.
These Bills include:
- Environment Bill
The Environment Bill aims to put the environment at the centre of policy-making by creating a new Office for Environmental Protection and governance framework for resources and waste management, air quality and enhancing green spaces, amongst other things. We have already briefed throughout the Commons stages of the Bill and will continue to engage with Parliamentarians once the Bill returns in the new Parliamentary session.
- Armed Forces Bill
The Armed Forces Bill will enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant into law, placing a duty on public bodies responsible for the delivery of housing, education and healthcare to have due regard to the covenant principles. We support the aim of the Bill to help ensure armed forces personnel, veterans and their families are not disadvantaged by their service when accessing key public services.
- Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill covers a wide range of community safety issues and seeks to introduce measures which aim to have an impact on victims of crime, those who perpetrate crimes, and wider community safety. Councils take their roles in ensuring the safety of their communities seriously and we look forward to working on the proposals with Government and Parliamentarians in the next session.
- Building Safety Bill
The Building Safety Bill seeks to strengthen the building safety system in the UK, especially in relation to new buildings. We have informed the pre-legislative scrutiny of the proposals, highlighting how the determining fire risk on a building’s height alone is too simplistic; that residents, leaseholders and freeholders who have purchased buildings in good faith, should not be left with the costs of fixing the broken building safety system; and that there is a shortage of skilled professionals to assess fire risk. We will be continuing to work on this Bill as a it is a priority for local government in the next parliamentary session.