Tackling Avoidance of Non-domestic Rates in Wales
The Welsh Government is consulting on:
- ways to improve the accuracy and timeliness of information provided about ratepayers’ circumstances
- whether the arrangements for empty property rates and relief should change to reduce avoidance
- reducing abuse of mandatory charitable relief by bogus charities
- whether a general anti-avoidance rule could be developed for non-domestic rates in Wales
- non-legislative measures to improve compliance such as joint working between agencies and resources to aid investigation.
Closing date for responses is 27th June 2018. The consultation can be found here
National Audit Office: Report-in-progress: Rolling Out Universal Credit
The National Audit Office has invited submissions of evidence in respect of its forthcoming Spring 2018 report on the rolling out of Universal Credit. Details can be found at: https://www.nao.org.uk/work-in-progress/rolling-out-universal-credit/
Fair Funding Review: a review of relative needs and resources [England]
This consultation seeks views on the approach to measuring the relative needs of local authorities. The closing date for comments is 12th March 2018 and the paper can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fair-funding-review-a-review-of-relative-needs-and-resources
Business Rates in Multi-occupied Properties (re. Woolway v. Mazars) [England]
Consultation on reinstating the practice of the Valuation Office Agency prior to the decision of the Supreme Court in Woolway (VO) v Mazars. Consultation closes on 23rd February 2018. The consultation paper can be found at:https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/business-rates-in-multi-occupied-properties
The Institute response can be found here
Default County Court Judgments [England and Wales]
A consultation on ensuring the County Court Judgments process works fairly, for both creditors and debtors. The closing date for comments is 21st February 2018. The consultation paper can be found at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/default-county-court-judgments-2/supporting_documents/defaultcountycourtjudgmentsconsultation.pdf
The Institute response can be found here
Welsh Revenue Authority Draft Charter
Views sought on a draft Charter for the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA), the first ever Welsh Tax Authority. Consultation is open until 13th February 2018. The consultation can be found at https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/welsh-revenue-authority-draft-charter
The 2017-18 Small Business Rates Relief Threshold Changes - Implementation Methodology
This consultation covers proposals for the applicable methodology in calculating compensation for the Small Business Rates Relief threshold changes of 2017/18. The consultation is open until 17 January 2018.
The consultation paper can be found here
The Institute's response is here
Breathing Space: Call for Evidence
The government is issuing this call for evidence to gain further insight from the debt advice sector and creditors about how best to design, implement, administer and monitor a six-week breathing space scheme and statutory debt management plan.
The call for evidence covers the following, broad, topics:
- how to access and then enter a six-week breathing space
- how a breathing space could work for creditors and debtors
- how to best design a statutory debt management plan
The informal consultation closes on 16 January 2018. The consultation documentation can be found here:
The IRRV response can be found here
Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2018 to 2019: Consultation [England]
This consultation seeks views on proposals for the local government finance settlement for 2018 to 2019 and for the approach to future local government finance settlements. The consultation closes on 16th January 2018 and the paper can be found at:
Reforming the Non-Domestic Rates Appeal System in Wales
Consultation is open until 9th January 2018 on Welsh Government proposals to change the Non-Domestic Rates Appeals system. The consultation examines proposals to reform: the registration for the appeals process; the time periods for each stage; the provision of information; backdating appeals; and fines (civil penalties). It also includes proposals concerning the introduction and level of fees for appeals and the role of the Valuation Tribunal for Wales in the appeals process
The consultation paper can be found at: https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/reforming-non-domestic-rates-appeals-system-wales
The Institute's response can be found here
Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry into Universal Credit Roll-out
The Parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee held an Inquiry in the Autumn of 2017 into the DWP's preparedness for the scheduled acceleration of the rollout of full service of Universal Credit from October 2017. Topics to be covered included waits for payments, advance payments, impact on and communication with local authorities and landlords, Alternative Payment Arrangements, the effects of planned Jobcentre closures and the proposed flexible arrangements in Scotland.
The original deadline for written submissions was mid-October, although this extended to 9th January to allow for evidence to be submitted regarding UC in relation to self-employment.
Funding for Supported Housing: two consultations [England]
The document containing the policy statement and the two consultation papers can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/funding-for-supported-housing-two-consultations .
Closing date for response is 23rd January 2018.
Funding for supported housing is complex and comes from a variety of sources, with ‘housing’ costs and ‘support’ costs being met separately. This is important in allowing people to access the right level of support in their own homes, and in supporting people to live independently.
Around £4.12 billion of Housing Benefit is spent on meeting housing related costs (rent and eligible service charges) for supported housing – representing around 17 percent of total Housing Benefit expenditure. Around a further £2.05 billion from a variety of sources, including local authority adult social care and housing and homelessness funding, covers support and care services. Around 79 percent of older people in supported housing claim Housing Benefit to help them meet housing costs, as do 97 percent of working -age people in supported housing.
The government has developed a three-pronged approach to funding supported housing in England. This reflects the needs of diverse client groups through a diverse set of funding models:
A: ‘Sheltered Rent’ – for those in sheltered and extra care housing
- For sheltered and extra care housing, often for older people but also including working-age tenants
- Introducing a ‘Sheltered Rent’, a type of social rent, which keeps funding for sheltered and extra care housing in the welfare system.
- Better cost control, as the social housing regulator will use existing powers to regulate gross eligible rent (rent inclusive of eligible service charges) charged by registered providers. Views are sought on the appropriate level to set gross eligible rent at.
- This model will come in to effect from 2020.
- This will provide the certainty providers need in order to invest in future supply, whilst providing enhanced cost controls and ensuring value for money for the taxpayer, and good outcomes for tenants.
B: Local Grant Fund – for short-term and transitional supported housing
- For short-term and transitional supported housing – including supported housing for homeless people with support needs, people fleeing domestic abuse, people receiving support for drug and alcohol misuse, offenders and young people at risk.
- 100% of this provision will be commissioned at a local level, funded locally through a ring-fenced grant, and underpinned by a new local planning and oversight regime. This means all the funding for housing costs (including rent and eligible service charges) that were previously met from Housing Benefit, will instead be allocated to local authorities to fund services that meet the needs of their local areas.
- This model will come in to effect from 2020.
- As per the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee inquiry, this removes short-term accommodation costs from the welfare system and provides local areas with more oversight and control over the provision in their areas.
- An individual’s entitlement for help with their housing costs (through Housing Benefit or the housing cost element of Universal Credit) will be unchanged.
C: Welfare System (Housing Benefit/Universal Credit) – for long-term supported housing
- For long-term supported housing – including supported housing for those with learning disabilities, mental ill health and physical disabilities, as well as highly specialised supported housing.
- As Local Housing Allowance rates will no longer be applied, 100% of housing costs (rent inclusive of eligible service charges) will continue to be funded as at present through the welfare system (subject to the application of the existing housing benefit/Universal Credit rules). The Government will work with the sector to develop and deliver improvements to cost control, quality and outcomes.
The Institute's response to the consultation paper on Housing Costs for Sheltered and Extra Care Accommodation can be found here
The Institute's response to the consultation paper on Housing Costs for Short-term Supported Accommodation can be found here