Fifty Third Report Contents

Instruments relating to COVID-19

Changes to business regulation and practice

Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2021 (SI 2021/467)

15.This instrument introduces a new temporary permitted development right to allow the use of moveable structures on land within the existing curtilage of cafes, restaurants and pubs, including where these are listed buildings, and historic visitor attractions where they are listed buildings. The temporary permitted development right will be in force until 1 January 2022. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says that the aim is to support the economic recovery of hospitality businesses and heritage attractions. The measures allow businesses to use temporary structures to increase outdoor seating capacity through new spaces, such as temporary marquees, and enable heritage visitor attractions to operate while minimising the need for visitors to gather in enclosed spaces, for example through the use of temporary moveable structures for ticket sales.

Employment Rights Act 1996 (Coronavirus, Calculation of a Week’s Pay) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/487)

16.This instrument extends until 30 September 2021 the protections introduced by earlier instruments, so that various statutory entitlements based on a week’s pay and connected with termination of employment are not reduced as a result of an employee being furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Without this instrument, the protections would end on 30 April 2021. This is the third extension6 and reflects the extension of the CJRS by HM Treasury until 30 September 2021. The protected entitlements include redundancy pay and compensation for unfair dismissal. The instrument also extends the effect of the earlier instruments regarding how a week’s pay is to be calculated for the purpose of deciding whether an employee is taken to be on short-time for statutory purposes. The instrument makes a further change to reflect a new alternative scheme cap of £576.92 per employee per week, in addition to the existing monthly cap of £2,500 per employee.

Public services

Education (Pupil Information) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/482)

17.This instrument makes changes to relieve head teachers of maintained schools in England of their obligations to include in their annual report to parents and adult pupils for the current school year 2020/21 information on a pupil’s attendance and certain information in relation to assessment and attainment at Key Stage 1 and 2. According to the Department for Education (DfE), these temporary changes address the impact of the pandemic on pupils’ attendance and the lack of assessment information following the cancellation of statutory assessments at Key Stage 1 and 2 in the current school year. The changes mirror the temporary measures introduced in the 2019/20 academic year.7 DfE says that information on attendance would not reflect the remote education many pupils have received, and that the changes will not prevent schools from raising any concerns they may have about a pupil’s attendance with parents. Non-statutory guidance will advise schools to provide a general assessment of attendance, participation in remote education and progress and achievements in their reports to parents and adult pupils. Attendance information will continue to be provided in common transfer files (CTF) which are passed on when a pupil changes school.

Changes to benefits

Social Security (Coronavirus) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/476)

18.These Regulations extend the expiry date for special pandemic relaxations for several benefits:

Social Security and Tax Credits (Miscellaneous and Coronavirus Amendments) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/495)

19.This instrument ensures that a one-off payment of £500 that will be paid under the COVID-19 support scheme to working households receiving tax credits is disregarded as income for the purposes of tax credits. This will ensure that recipients will receive the full benefit of the support payment. The payment was announced at Budget 2021 and is being introduced to continue support for low-income households during the pandemic after the temporary increase in Working Tax Credit ended on 5 April.

20.The instrument also corrects an omission in a previous instrument11 to provide that non-European Economic Area nationals who are subject to immigration control need to be legally working in order to be entitled to Child Benefit under a Trade and Continuity Agreement (TCA) which replaces one of the European Union Association Agreements which provided for the right to receive family allowances (so-called non-equal treatment EUAAs). According to HM Revenue and Customs, this will provide continuity and ensure that access to family benefits under TCAs is the same as the access that was provided under the non-equal treatment EUAAs until the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

6 SI 2020/814, protected furloughed employees until 31 October 2020. Following two extensions of the CJRS, this period was extended until 31 March 2021 by SI 2020/1296 and until 30 April 2021 by SI  2021/177.

7 Education (Pupil Information) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/599).

11 Social Security, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1505).

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