GN09-19 Energy Peformance Certificates (EPCS) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in Domestic Lettings (For England and Wales)

This guidance note is to update members on recent developments on energy efficiency in the private rented domestic sector for England and Wales.  The Government is planning for the next stage of improvements (to band C by 2030) and the tightening up of the enforcement process.

700 MHz Spectrum Licence Auction

The CLA has formally responded to Ofcom's consultation on the award of the 700MHz spectrum.  This award to mobile operators should lead to an increase in mobile coverage across rural areas.  The CLA is generally supportive of the revised proposals for the future 700MHz spectrum auction as being in the interests of those who live and work in rural areas.  The proposals to extend mobile coverage to 90% of the UK landmass through, for example, the building of at least 500 new masts is integral for rural communities to be able to benefit from modern day digital communications.  However, we have made it clear to ofcom that it has to ensure that the coverage obligations of those operators awarded new spectrum are monitored on an annual basis through Ofcom's Connected Nations report.  In addition, the CLA has stressed that Ofcom should formally propose the introduction of a national rural roaming network.

Taxation of Trusts

The CLA has responded to HMRC’s Taxation of Trusts Consultation. HMRC are undertaking a review of all aspects of Trust taxation to see if transparency, fairness and tax neutrality can be achieved. Although Inheritance Tax is often seen as a tax on death, it also has lifetime consequences too, and we have stressed that Trusts are not usually used by members for tax mitigation but as an important tool to protect
personal and business assets both on a day-to-day basis and for the next generation. We have also highlighted areas where we believe there could be a more straightforward regime – particularly for Trusts for young people. We have also argued against some potential changes that were suggested, for example, to remove the Principal Residence Relief for some Trust beneficiaries.

Ensuring tenants' access to gigabit-capable connections

The CLA's response to the Government's consultation on a tenant's right to a telecommunication service (broadband) focuses on the need to achieve a balance between the needs of operators and the rights of landlords.  In the event of an absentee landlord, operators should have the right of access but which is legally controlled.  As important, is the need to put in place an effective process of engagement between the operator and the landlord to ensure access to communication services as well as achieving an ongoing and transparent dialogue.

Geographic Indications

The CLA has responded to a Defra consultation on future changes to the system of geographic indication for certain products.  The EU protected status regime provides a market legitimacy and advantage to certain products that have either Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographic Indication status.  The CLA has sought clarification from Defra that a UK protected status regime when it leaves the EU will afford the same protection that currently exists within the EU market and with a number of third countries.

Brexit Trade deals with non-EU countries

The CLA has responded to a consultation from the Department for International Trade (DIT) that seeks views on the advantages and disadvantages on potential bilateral trade deals post Brexit with countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand.  The CLA has made clear that the main potential advantage would be the creation of a tariff free structure whereas a significant disadvantage to UK interests would be the ability of a third country to export products to the UK that failed to match the UK's high animal welfare and food safety standard.

Request for views on AHDB

Farmers, growers, processors and industry representatives have being asked for their views on the role of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).  The AHDB is a UK statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain.  As the UK leaves the EU, there is an opportunity to ensure that the sectors that the AHDB cover are as competitive as possible.  Please see CLA's response to the request for views covering governance, activities, structure and funding.

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