The European Commission has taken this decision due to the effects of the current crisis and after consultation with member states.
This article is taken from August's public matters newsletter. Click here to view more articles from this issue.
The European Commission adopted the Temporary Framework for state aid measures on 19 March 2020 to support the economy due to the impact of Covid-19 (Temporary Framework).
The Temporary Framework was first amended on 3 April 2020 to include aid to accelerate research, testing and production of Covid-19 related products, as well as to protect jobs and support the economy during the crisis. A second amendment was introduced on 8 May 2020 to ease access to capital and liquidity for undertakings affected by the crisis.
The latest amendment to the Temporary Framework introduced on 29 June 2020 provide for the following:
The definition of ‘undertakings in financial difficulty’ and the features of micro and small undertakings are both set out in General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).
The European Commission recognises that small and micro enterprises contribute heavily to jobs and growth in the European Union by generating more than 37% of value added and 50% of employment in the non-financial sector. Yet they have been particularly affected by the liquidity shortage caused by the economic impact of the pandemic, as well as difficulties to access finance, which if left unaddressed could lead to a large number of bankruptcies.
Further, the European Commission recognises that given their limited size and limited involvement in cross-border transactions, it considers state aid to micro and small undertakings is less likely to distort competition in the internal market and affect intra-EU trade than state aid to medium-sized and large companies. This latest amendment covering micro and small undertakings is a welcome development due to complaints that start-ups with a high debt ratio were precluded from being supported.
This amendment will also be welcome news to smaller businesses who may have fallen foul of the ‘undertaking in difficulty’ rules for technical reasons or due to sector-specific financing arrangements. Similarly, public bodies (particularly local government) will find it useful to both provide support to more businesses and streamline the process for granting support.
On 2 July 2020, the European Commission prolonged the validity of the GBER, the De Minimis Regulation and certain Guidelines.
The key changes are as follows:
The European Commission has taken this decision due to the effects of the current crisis and after consultation with member states. This indicates that the European Commission does not expect to reform these rules during this period and potentially the timeframe of the Temporary Framework may be extended.
It seemed likely that some of these rules would have been extended regardless of Covid-19 unless the Commission moved very quickly to consult on and implement changes, but clearly the resources dedicated to Covid-19 measures will have diverted resources away from these processes too.
Law firm Browne Jacobson has collaborated with Wiltshire Council and Christ Church Business School on the launch event of The Council Company Best Practice and Innovation Network, a platform which brings together academic experts and senior local authority leaders, allowing them to share best practice in relation to council companies.
In the Autumn Statement delivered on 17 November, rises to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates were announced, to take effect from 1 April 2023.
Announced in September but scrapped on 17 November the investment zone proposals were very short lived. The proposal has now morphed into the proposal for a smaller number of clustered zones earmarked for investment.
Settlement agreements are commonplace in an employment context and are ordinarily used to provide the parties to the agreement with certainty following the conclusion of an employment relationship.
On 2 November 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the much awaiting case of Hillside Parks Ltd v Snowdonia National Park Authority  UKSC 30. The Court’s judgment suggests that the long established practice of using drop-in applications is in fact much more restricted than previously thought. This judgment therefore has significant implications for both the developers and local planning authorities.
In ‘failure to remove’ claims, the claimant alleges abuse in the family home and asserts that the local authority should have known about the abuse and/or that they should have removed the claimant from the family home and into care earlier.
Across the UK, homelessness is an urgent crisis, and one that is set to grow amid the rising cost of living. Local authorities are at the forefront of responding to this crisis, but with a lack of properties that are suitable for social housing across the UK, vulnerable individuals and families are often housed in temporary accommodation.
Updates include UK Shared Prosperity Fund, contracts, Subsidy Control Bill, data controller liability, Government Covid-19 procurement and Highway Code revisions.
The complex and rather nebulous transitional subsidy control regime set out in the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement and the UK’s wider international commitments has made it difficult for public authorities and those working with them to proceed with certainty where subsidies are involved.
Investment zones have been introduced by the Conservative party to get the United Kingdom (UK) ‘working, building and growing’. They are to be designated sites which provide time-limited tax incentives, streamlined planning rules and wider support for local growth to encourage investment and accelerate the development of housing and infrastructure that the UK needs to drive economic growth. Processes and requirements that slow down development will be stripped back with the intention of attracting new investment.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).