Abolish/amend joint enterprise law

The Joint Enterprise law is such an unfair law which creates many miscarriages of justice. This unjust law convicts innocent bystanders of grave crimes such as murder when the bystander had no idea the crime was going to take place and further more played no part in it. These people are being given life sentences for simply being in the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong people. I do not agree with law of joint enterprise as I do not believe you should be held responcible for another person's crime and I would love to see this law abolished, as would many others. However having been told this is an unrealistic option an amendment of the Joint Enterprise law is what is needed. This problem is widespread and is affecting more and more people each day, there are young people all over the country serving life sentences for crimes they took no part in. An amendment of this law is a must so innocent bystanders are protected. Joint Enterprise law sets the standard of proof way to low and casts the net far too wide, it is supposed to be used where there has been gang violence but it is being used to basically convict anyone.

Why is this idea important?

The Joint Enterprise law is such an unfair law which creates many miscarriages of justice. This unjust law convicts innocent bystanders of grave crimes such as murder when the bystander had no idea the crime was going to take place and further more played no part in it. These people are being given life sentences for simply being in the wrong place and the wrong time with the wrong people. I do not agree with law of joint enterprise as I do not believe you should be held responcible for another person's crime and I would love to see this law abolished, as would many others. However having been told this is an unrealistic option an amendment of the Joint Enterprise law is what is needed. This problem is widespread and is affecting more and more people each day, there are young people all over the country serving life sentences for crimes they took no part in. An amendment of this law is a must so innocent bystanders are protected. Joint Enterprise law sets the standard of proof way to low and casts the net far too wide, it is supposed to be used where there has been gang violence but it is being used to basically convict anyone.

Reduce business rates in town centres and increase them in out of town parks

Town centres all over the UK are dying and rates in many towns are prohibitive. I propose that town centre businesses have a reduced rating, as much as two thirds reduction. The lost revenue should be levied on to the out of town business and retail parks. They should also be taxed on the amount of cars they allow free parking for per annum.

The big multiples are simply being allowed to plunder opur towns just as the big banks are allowed to plunder our finances

Why is this idea important?

Town centres all over the UK are dying and rates in many towns are prohibitive. I propose that town centre businesses have a reduced rating, as much as two thirds reduction. The lost revenue should be levied on to the out of town business and retail parks. They should also be taxed on the amount of cars they allow free parking for per annum.

The big multiples are simply being allowed to plunder opur towns just as the big banks are allowed to plunder our finances

Make metric labelling compulsory as the primary unit of measurement on all items sold in all UK retailers

45 years ago, an elected UK Government acting on the advice of UK industry, announced the adoption of the metric system in 1975. This change brought tremendous benefits to UK businesses especially those whose trade involves international collaboration. The massive investment from overseas car manufacturers (eg Nissan, Honda & Toyota) demonstrates the need to use a near- universally adopted system of measurements. The education of the Imperial system of measurements was phased out in 1974 but the overall progress to complete metrication has been slower than planned due to wavering Goverment commitment in the face of a small but orchestrated campaign against the metric system. However, the public at large seem to accept metric and most everyday products are now sold exclusively in metric. I believe the time is now right to start converting the remaining key products areas into metric, namely clothing, shoes and TV/monitor screen sizes. Imperial sizes could still be mentioned as a secondary measure to help with the transition until a date 5 years hence when all Imperial measures should disappear forever

Why is this idea important?

45 years ago, an elected UK Government acting on the advice of UK industry, announced the adoption of the metric system in 1975. This change brought tremendous benefits to UK businesses especially those whose trade involves international collaboration. The massive investment from overseas car manufacturers (eg Nissan, Honda & Toyota) demonstrates the need to use a near- universally adopted system of measurements. The education of the Imperial system of measurements was phased out in 1974 but the overall progress to complete metrication has been slower than planned due to wavering Goverment commitment in the face of a small but orchestrated campaign against the metric system. However, the public at large seem to accept metric and most everyday products are now sold exclusively in metric. I believe the time is now right to start converting the remaining key products areas into metric, namely clothing, shoes and TV/monitor screen sizes. Imperial sizes could still be mentioned as a secondary measure to help with the transition until a date 5 years hence when all Imperial measures should disappear forever

2012 Olympic Laws

Don't let the International Olympic Committee's pressure to create laws that outlaw the community in East London from benefitting financially from the Olympic Games. We saw at the recent World Cup that local people were not allowed to use any word in their marketing that associated their product with the tournament. This was grossly unfair and it would be a great shame if London followed suit during the Olympics. There are already reports surfacing that suggest that laws will be brought in to stop so called ambush marketing. We must make sure that these laws do not penalise local business around the Olympic park or across London.

Why is this idea important?

Don't let the International Olympic Committee's pressure to create laws that outlaw the community in East London from benefitting financially from the Olympic Games. We saw at the recent World Cup that local people were not allowed to use any word in their marketing that associated their product with the tournament. This was grossly unfair and it would be a great shame if London followed suit during the Olympics. There are already reports surfacing that suggest that laws will be brought in to stop so called ambush marketing. We must make sure that these laws do not penalise local business around the Olympic park or across London.

Consumer Protection

Provide the county court system with adequate resources to deal with small claims regarding consumer protection. Private debt collecting agencies are filling the void, to the detriment of the consumer. Individuals need to be able to claim or defend actions and all too often companies are using the debt collection agency as their first port of call.

The law of contract seems to ecape most of them and thank goodness that consumer advice centres within Trading Standards Departments are there to help.

Why is this idea important?

Provide the county court system with adequate resources to deal with small claims regarding consumer protection. Private debt collecting agencies are filling the void, to the detriment of the consumer. Individuals need to be able to claim or defend actions and all too often companies are using the debt collection agency as their first port of call.

The law of contract seems to ecape most of them and thank goodness that consumer advice centres within Trading Standards Departments are there to help.

Motor Caravan Aires and Wild Camping in suitable locations

Permitting Motor Caravans to park in locations other than licenced or exempted caravan sites will require the Public Health Act 1937 section 286 and The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 being ammended.

THe 1937 Act defines what constitues a caravan and the 1960 Act requires that Caravan Sites are licenced or carry an exemption issued by certain clubs and bodies. A Caravan is defined as being a vehicle or vessel that has been built or adapted for human habitation and does not recognise a difference between a Static, Touring(trailer) or Motor Caravan.

Modern Motor Caravans are totaly different and contain superior sanitary and habitation equipment to those envisaged in the 1930s and 1950s. Motor Caravans are in fact luxury hotels on wheels these days with Bedrooms, Kitchens and bathrooms with hot water and showers and sealed toilets.

A recognition that a motor caravan parking overnight does not need the same facilities as a touring caravan is required.

A recognition of the diference between camping and parking (including using the vehicle for cooking and sleeping) is required.

Motor Caravans are much heavier than touring caravans and existing grass caravan sites can prove unsuitable for them in wet weather. A Motor Caravan simply needs a firm level surface to park on and from time to time access to basic facilities for drinking water and to dispose of wet and dry waste.

Camping as defined in regulations for Camping Cars abroard is putting anything including Tables, Chairs, steps, waste and water containers, Awnings, ramps etc outside of the vehicle. There are no restrictions on what you can do within a parked vehicle.

Modern Motor Caravans are totaly self contained and only need facilities to get fresh water and dump black and grey water every few days. They are designed to carry these loads unlike touring caravans.

Local Authorities have the power at present to allow Aire type stopovers on land owned or leased by them under section 11 of the 1960 Act. Few have used this power.

Britain is unfriendly to visiting motor caravan users as we require them to join one of our clubs to use a reasonably priced Certificated site or some of the club sites. Otherwise thay need to use highly priced commercial or club sites.

We can enjoy using our Motor Caravans abroad without such restrictions using the many municipal and private Aires available at very low or even no cost other than a couple of Euros to obtain drinking water.

It has been recognised since the 1960s abroard that Motor Caravan users bring trade into areas they visit, as they need to buy supplies and will use and visit local amenities and eating places. It is time the UK recognised this and became more welcoming to travelling visitors. Many of our authorities are still in the B&B mindset with regards to taking holidays, or are "Traveller" phobic.

Action needed:

Examine and revoke or re-write the 1937 and 1960 acts to bring them into line with todays developments.

Instruct local authorities to remove restrictions preventing the use for cooking and sleeping in parked Motor Caravans.

A recognition that a motor caravan parking overnight does not need the same facilities as a touring caravan is required.

A recognition of the difference between camping and parking (including using the vehicle for cooking and sleeping) is required.

Require local Authorities to make use of existing underused parking spaces at night such as Coach Bays or car parks to permit the overnight parking of Motor Caravans.

Remove height barriers from some parts of otherwise restricted car parks so that larger vehicles can gain access. (Restrictions could still apply to the type of use to which these spaces are permitted to be used for ie no commercial vehicles or trading, and the lenght of stay permitted).

Why is this idea important?

Permitting Motor Caravans to park in locations other than licenced or exempted caravan sites will require the Public Health Act 1937 section 286 and The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 being ammended.

THe 1937 Act defines what constitues a caravan and the 1960 Act requires that Caravan Sites are licenced or carry an exemption issued by certain clubs and bodies. A Caravan is defined as being a vehicle or vessel that has been built or adapted for human habitation and does not recognise a difference between a Static, Touring(trailer) or Motor Caravan.

Modern Motor Caravans are totaly different and contain superior sanitary and habitation equipment to those envisaged in the 1930s and 1950s. Motor Caravans are in fact luxury hotels on wheels these days with Bedrooms, Kitchens and bathrooms with hot water and showers and sealed toilets.

A recognition that a motor caravan parking overnight does not need the same facilities as a touring caravan is required.

A recognition of the diference between camping and parking (including using the vehicle for cooking and sleeping) is required.

Motor Caravans are much heavier than touring caravans and existing grass caravan sites can prove unsuitable for them in wet weather. A Motor Caravan simply needs a firm level surface to park on and from time to time access to basic facilities for drinking water and to dispose of wet and dry waste.

Camping as defined in regulations for Camping Cars abroard is putting anything including Tables, Chairs, steps, waste and water containers, Awnings, ramps etc outside of the vehicle. There are no restrictions on what you can do within a parked vehicle.

Modern Motor Caravans are totaly self contained and only need facilities to get fresh water and dump black and grey water every few days. They are designed to carry these loads unlike touring caravans.

Local Authorities have the power at present to allow Aire type stopovers on land owned or leased by them under section 11 of the 1960 Act. Few have used this power.

Britain is unfriendly to visiting motor caravan users as we require them to join one of our clubs to use a reasonably priced Certificated site or some of the club sites. Otherwise thay need to use highly priced commercial or club sites.

We can enjoy using our Motor Caravans abroad without such restrictions using the many municipal and private Aires available at very low or even no cost other than a couple of Euros to obtain drinking water.

It has been recognised since the 1960s abroard that Motor Caravan users bring trade into areas they visit, as they need to buy supplies and will use and visit local amenities and eating places. It is time the UK recognised this and became more welcoming to travelling visitors. Many of our authorities are still in the B&B mindset with regards to taking holidays, or are "Traveller" phobic.

Action needed:

Examine and revoke or re-write the 1937 and 1960 acts to bring them into line with todays developments.

Instruct local authorities to remove restrictions preventing the use for cooking and sleeping in parked Motor Caravans.

A recognition that a motor caravan parking overnight does not need the same facilities as a touring caravan is required.

A recognition of the difference between camping and parking (including using the vehicle for cooking and sleeping) is required.

Require local Authorities to make use of existing underused parking spaces at night such as Coach Bays or car parks to permit the overnight parking of Motor Caravans.

Remove height barriers from some parts of otherwise restricted car parks so that larger vehicles can gain access. (Restrictions could still apply to the type of use to which these spaces are permitted to be used for ie no commercial vehicles or trading, and the lenght of stay permitted).

END RESTRICTIONS ON SUNDAY TRADING

Allow all retailers to open their premises on all Sundays without restriction. Whether or not to open on Sundays and for how long should be a business decision made in consultation with and preferably by agreement with the staff concerned. Existing protections in employment law for staff who wish to observe Sunday as a holy day should be retained.

Why is this idea important?

Allow all retailers to open their premises on all Sundays without restriction. Whether or not to open on Sundays and for how long should be a business decision made in consultation with and preferably by agreement with the staff concerned. Existing protections in employment law for staff who wish to observe Sunday as a holy day should be retained.

Reform the National Minimum Wage to allow profit-share enterprises

Simply that the burden of paying the National Minimum Wage should be lifted from enterprises where the Employee or Worker has a share in any profits or gross earnings of that enterprise.

Why is this idea important?

Simply that the burden of paying the National Minimum Wage should be lifted from enterprises where the Employee or Worker has a share in any profits or gross earnings of that enterprise.

Smoking Ban – Let’s have a referendum!

Moderators – this thread is NOT the same is the other smoking threads, so please don't delete it!

It doesn't matter if you are for or against the smoking ban, what matters is that the public are asked what THEY think and want, through a fair referendum.

Let the public decide what should be done about the smoking ban and allow the government to follow the wishes of its electorate. No other decision is lawful or in any way appropriate if this country is, as it proclaims, a democracy.

The referendum could give 4 options to vote on:-

1. Keep and extend the current smoking ban, to include all public places.

2. Keep the existing smoking ban as it is, with no further changes.

3. Relax the smoking ban to allow private business' (pubs, clubs, cafe's and restaurants etc) to decide on their own smoking policy, or have inside separate ventilated smoking areas etc.

4. Reverse the smoking ban completely, i.e. to how it was in the 1970's.

 

 

 

Why is this idea important?

Moderators – this thread is NOT the same is the other smoking threads, so please don't delete it!

It doesn't matter if you are for or against the smoking ban, what matters is that the public are asked what THEY think and want, through a fair referendum.

Let the public decide what should be done about the smoking ban and allow the government to follow the wishes of its electorate. No other decision is lawful or in any way appropriate if this country is, as it proclaims, a democracy.

The referendum could give 4 options to vote on:-

1. Keep and extend the current smoking ban, to include all public places.

2. Keep the existing smoking ban as it is, with no further changes.

3. Relax the smoking ban to allow private business' (pubs, clubs, cafe's and restaurants etc) to decide on their own smoking policy, or have inside separate ventilated smoking areas etc.

4. Reverse the smoking ban completely, i.e. to how it was in the 1970's.

 

 

 

Regional disparities

Why should private equity and hedge funds, to use a high profile example, be considering re-locating to jurisdictions like Geneva for the tax breaks?

Instead, they should be encouraged to relocate to places like the West Midlands or Tyneside.

There should be five year term income tax and national insurance breaks for individuals living in areas of low employment.

Alternatively, there should be higher rates of tax for those working in designated areas such as central London.

Why is this idea important?

Why should private equity and hedge funds, to use a high profile example, be considering re-locating to jurisdictions like Geneva for the tax breaks?

Instead, they should be encouraged to relocate to places like the West Midlands or Tyneside.

There should be five year term income tax and national insurance breaks for individuals living in areas of low employment.

Alternatively, there should be higher rates of tax for those working in designated areas such as central London.

Access To UK Citizenship

In the early 60's and late 70's people that come over to the UK to work and study do so with the intention of returning back to their homeland to add value. Gradually, the immigration rules was such that people now intentionally come to the UK to study or work and prolong that visa entry to become British Citizen. I believe this is wrong.

The current immigration rule in the UK is unfair to other countries around the world wanting to retain its talent and also unfair to genuine citizenship working hard to make ends meet.

I propose a change in law that states likely that people coming to the UK:

– To work or

– To Study

Do not have access to claim citizenship. In otherwords, the pathway to citizenship I strongly believe should be only by marriage to a British Citizenship or child of a British Citizen. I will also consider PSB Inventors/investors on the discretion of the Secretary of State after 10 years of continuous investment in the UK

Why is this idea important?

In the early 60's and late 70's people that come over to the UK to work and study do so with the intention of returning back to their homeland to add value. Gradually, the immigration rules was such that people now intentionally come to the UK to study or work and prolong that visa entry to become British Citizen. I believe this is wrong.

The current immigration rule in the UK is unfair to other countries around the world wanting to retain its talent and also unfair to genuine citizenship working hard to make ends meet.

I propose a change in law that states likely that people coming to the UK:

– To work or

– To Study

Do not have access to claim citizenship. In otherwords, the pathway to citizenship I strongly believe should be only by marriage to a British Citizenship or child of a British Citizen. I will also consider PSB Inventors/investors on the discretion of the Secretary of State after 10 years of continuous investment in the UK

Repeal European Union Membership

repealing European Union Membership would SAVE the British Economy overall 118billion. That is membership costs 118 BILLION pounds sterling a year. Most of that cost comes through European red tape and directives, directly costing each and every business thousand of pounds, or in government jargon, costing jobs and slowing growth and this could cause a double dip recession. The free trade agreements are good but doesn't Switzerland and Norway get all the benefits and minimum costs? So to send the recovery into overdrive axe the EU. It will reduce business costs, could increase employment and save the government billions.

 

Some facts on the EU

Every book loan under EU libarys cost 570 pounds

According to the German magazine Der Speigel, fraud committed in Brussels amounts to 1 million euros per day.

Every year 3.3Billion British Pounds of fish are caught in British territorial waters by non-British fisherman, ie. Spain fishes in our waters we don't fish in theirs.

 

Also the claim that "3million jobs" depends on EU membership" but the scientist who led the research publicly disowned this claim. His report said that few, if any, jobs would be lost if we left, because trade with Europe would continue. So vote down the Euopean Union, Nick Clegg has to listen to normal sane people eventually.

Why is this idea important?

repealing European Union Membership would SAVE the British Economy overall 118billion. That is membership costs 118 BILLION pounds sterling a year. Most of that cost comes through European red tape and directives, directly costing each and every business thousand of pounds, or in government jargon, costing jobs and slowing growth and this could cause a double dip recession. The free trade agreements are good but doesn't Switzerland and Norway get all the benefits and minimum costs? So to send the recovery into overdrive axe the EU. It will reduce business costs, could increase employment and save the government billions.

 

Some facts on the EU

Every book loan under EU libarys cost 570 pounds

According to the German magazine Der Speigel, fraud committed in Brussels amounts to 1 million euros per day.

Every year 3.3Billion British Pounds of fish are caught in British territorial waters by non-British fisherman, ie. Spain fishes in our waters we don't fish in theirs.

 

Also the claim that "3million jobs" depends on EU membership" but the scientist who led the research publicly disowned this claim. His report said that few, if any, jobs would be lost if we left, because trade with Europe would continue. So vote down the Euopean Union, Nick Clegg has to listen to normal sane people eventually.

Circumvent the Glass Ceiling

The board of directors of every public limited company should consist of fifty percent plus one women. In practice this could mean that, regardless of how many directors there were, a quorum would consist of a stated number of directors (minumum three) of which fifty percent plus one would be women. For such purposes a woman would be defined as someone considered to be such by twelve other women selected at random.

Why is this idea important?

The board of directors of every public limited company should consist of fifty percent plus one women. In practice this could mean that, regardless of how many directors there were, a quorum would consist of a stated number of directors (minumum three) of which fifty percent plus one would be women. For such purposes a woman would be defined as someone considered to be such by twelve other women selected at random.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

The title says it all, doesn't it? But, just in case it isn't clear, let me re-phrase it. Equal pay for equal work means that if there are two people working in the same establishment, doing work which either (1) is covered by the same job description or (2) involves the same input of effort, time and ability or (3) produces the same output, whether measured in monetary terms or by less tangible criteria such as quality and beauty; those two people should receive the same compensation package, in terms of money, fringe benefits and job security. Such evaluation of input or output should be without regard to age, seniority, rank, sex, qualifications, past performance, future prospects or membership or otherwise of any professional body, pressure group, political party or religious grouping.  Such a policy, if enacted, would fully conform to the Equal Pay Guidelines of the EU.

Why is this idea important?

The title says it all, doesn't it? But, just in case it isn't clear, let me re-phrase it. Equal pay for equal work means that if there are two people working in the same establishment, doing work which either (1) is covered by the same job description or (2) involves the same input of effort, time and ability or (3) produces the same output, whether measured in monetary terms or by less tangible criteria such as quality and beauty; those two people should receive the same compensation package, in terms of money, fringe benefits and job security. Such evaluation of input or output should be without regard to age, seniority, rank, sex, qualifications, past performance, future prospects or membership or otherwise of any professional body, pressure group, political party or religious grouping.  Such a policy, if enacted, would fully conform to the Equal Pay Guidelines of the EU.

towing allowances on post 1997 driving licences

remove the 750kg maximum towing allowance on post 1997 driving licences, this seems a pointless restriction on drivers as the test did not change between these dates

Why is this idea important?

remove the 750kg maximum towing allowance on post 1997 driving licences, this seems a pointless restriction on drivers as the test did not change between these dates

Stop companies using premium rate numbers

Many companies are using O845 numbers for their customer service departments and they keep you hanging on the phone for 15 minuits. This greed and exploitation must stop.

Why is this idea important?

Many companies are using O845 numbers for their customer service departments and they keep you hanging on the phone for 15 minuits. This greed and exploitation must stop.

Repeal Laws which Prevent Working From Home

Most residential tenancies and many mortgage agreements specificlally state that the person is not allowed to operate a business from their home.

Running a business from home might be as simple as buying and selling things on ebay, designing websites or doing some kind of handicraft to sell. These types of things cause no problem for anyone else and so all restrictions in local authority or landlord and tenant law should be lifted.

Why is this idea important?

Most residential tenancies and many mortgage agreements specificlally state that the person is not allowed to operate a business from their home.

Running a business from home might be as simple as buying and selling things on ebay, designing websites or doing some kind of handicraft to sell. These types of things cause no problem for anyone else and so all restrictions in local authority or landlord and tenant law should be lifted.

HOW TO IMPROVE HOUSING MARKET FAST WITH A BETTER CONVEYANCING SYSTEM (i.e., take a leaf from North of the Border!)

 

When I moved from London to Edinburgh, I realised the big difference between the way houses are bought and sold in Scotland , and how it is done in England.

I know some folks living in England might not like to hear this, but the housing system of conveyancing in Scotland , I find, is a LOT MORE EFFECIENT, FAR SUPERIOR AND A LOT FASTER than in England (and Wales).

It took me several months to get the sales of my house  through in England, but in Scotland, I managed to offer, buy and own it in a matter of a couple of days !

For those who are not aware of how house sales works in England (and Wales) , and in Scotland, it goes something like this:

IN ENGLAND

In England, the vendor puts on his house for sale. The buyer sees the property, likes it and makes a bid. The vendor can accept the offer. However, the acceptance of the offer is not legally binding. If the vendor has another buyer who offers a higher price, he can turn change his mind with the first offer from the first buyer (i.e. "gazumping"). Likewise, if the buyer sees another property, he can say to the vendor he has changed his mind and move away. This could be he has found another property. The buyer can also wait until everyone is ready to exchange contracts before deciding to lower the offer on the property, threatening the collapse of a whole chain of house sales waiting for the deal to go through (the word "gazundering" is often used).

To make the tedious sale of the house take even longer go through in England and Wales, the buyer then usually have to go to a bank or building society after the bid of the property has been accepted,  to apply for a mortgage. Before the mortgage is approved, the lending bank or building society then send a surveyor who comes to see the property and then makes a report. The Lending bank then wait for the surveyor to write and send the report. They have to receive it, read it and only then decide whether to approve the mortgage.  This can take weeks – if not months.

IN SCOTLAND

This is not the same in Scotland. Under Scots Law, in their system of conveyancing, the survey is often made prior to a bid – or a bid is made "subject to survey". However, the buyer would have secured the mortgage BEFORE he makes the bid. The sale can go through in a matter of days !

When you make a bid in Scotland (unlike in England and Wales)and it is accepted, that is legally  binding. The buyer can face a hefty penalty, or even be sued, if he changes his mind. Likewise, the seller has to keep his side of the bargain. As a result, both "gazumping" and "gazundering" are extremely rare in Scotland.

In Scotland, there is also less chance of the collapse of the housing sales chain because of the failure of one deal along the chain.

I have spoken to estate agents in England and they all seem to agree the Scottish system of conveyancing is better. So why has it not been adopted in England? Is it because of "Pride" to refuse any idea from "North of the Border"?

If England (and Wales) were to adopt the Scottish system of conveyancing, house sales would go through more smoothly and faster. There is less gazumping and gazundering , and there is less chance of collapse of the housing sales chain. This could improve the housing market – and of course, it will help the TREASURY as well with more money from stamp duties.

Why is this idea important?

 

When I moved from London to Edinburgh, I realised the big difference between the way houses are bought and sold in Scotland , and how it is done in England.

I know some folks living in England might not like to hear this, but the housing system of conveyancing in Scotland , I find, is a LOT MORE EFFECIENT, FAR SUPERIOR AND A LOT FASTER than in England (and Wales).

It took me several months to get the sales of my house  through in England, but in Scotland, I managed to offer, buy and own it in a matter of a couple of days !

For those who are not aware of how house sales works in England (and Wales) , and in Scotland, it goes something like this:

IN ENGLAND

In England, the vendor puts on his house for sale. The buyer sees the property, likes it and makes a bid. The vendor can accept the offer. However, the acceptance of the offer is not legally binding. If the vendor has another buyer who offers a higher price, he can turn change his mind with the first offer from the first buyer (i.e. "gazumping"). Likewise, if the buyer sees another property, he can say to the vendor he has changed his mind and move away. This could be he has found another property. The buyer can also wait until everyone is ready to exchange contracts before deciding to lower the offer on the property, threatening the collapse of a whole chain of house sales waiting for the deal to go through (the word "gazundering" is often used).

To make the tedious sale of the house take even longer go through in England and Wales, the buyer then usually have to go to a bank or building society after the bid of the property has been accepted,  to apply for a mortgage. Before the mortgage is approved, the lending bank or building society then send a surveyor who comes to see the property and then makes a report. The Lending bank then wait for the surveyor to write and send the report. They have to receive it, read it and only then decide whether to approve the mortgage.  This can take weeks – if not months.

IN SCOTLAND

This is not the same in Scotland. Under Scots Law, in their system of conveyancing, the survey is often made prior to a bid – or a bid is made "subject to survey". However, the buyer would have secured the mortgage BEFORE he makes the bid. The sale can go through in a matter of days !

When you make a bid in Scotland (unlike in England and Wales)and it is accepted, that is legally  binding. The buyer can face a hefty penalty, or even be sued, if he changes his mind. Likewise, the seller has to keep his side of the bargain. As a result, both "gazumping" and "gazundering" are extremely rare in Scotland.

In Scotland, there is also less chance of the collapse of the housing sales chain because of the failure of one deal along the chain.

I have spoken to estate agents in England and they all seem to agree the Scottish system of conveyancing is better. So why has it not been adopted in England? Is it because of "Pride" to refuse any idea from "North of the Border"?

If England (and Wales) were to adopt the Scottish system of conveyancing, house sales would go through more smoothly and faster. There is less gazumping and gazundering , and there is less chance of collapse of the housing sales chain. This could improve the housing market – and of course, it will help the TREASURY as well with more money from stamp duties.

Encourage young entrepreneurs, don’t hold them back

Section 157 of the 2006 Companies Act bans under 16s from being the director of either a company or a charity.  

Whilst I appreciate that this is a law that only directly affects a very small minority of people, they are a very important minority, and it is thus in all out interests that we repeal it.

These people are the cream of the next generation, potential business or community leaders of the future.  Their talent and drive should be nurtured, encouraged and allowed to flourish.  Holding them back to the level of less able youngsters has quite the opposite effect.  

If we want this country to have a future, we should be encouraging our most able and driven youngsters to use their talent to its full potential.  The removal of unnecessary barriers, such as this draconian piece of legislation, is essential to doing this.

Just because this law only restricts a very small minority is not an excuse for its existence, particularly as the very people it is restricting are the same people that we will need to help get this country out of the mess it is in.

A government which cares about the future of this country would repeal this law without hesitation.

Why is this idea important?

Section 157 of the 2006 Companies Act bans under 16s from being the director of either a company or a charity.  

Whilst I appreciate that this is a law that only directly affects a very small minority of people, they are a very important minority, and it is thus in all out interests that we repeal it.

These people are the cream of the next generation, potential business or community leaders of the future.  Their talent and drive should be nurtured, encouraged and allowed to flourish.  Holding them back to the level of less able youngsters has quite the opposite effect.  

If we want this country to have a future, we should be encouraging our most able and driven youngsters to use their talent to its full potential.  The removal of unnecessary barriers, such as this draconian piece of legislation, is essential to doing this.

Just because this law only restricts a very small minority is not an excuse for its existence, particularly as the very people it is restricting are the same people that we will need to help get this country out of the mess it is in.

A government which cares about the future of this country would repeal this law without hesitation.

Tax Foreign Lorries

Introduce a specific tax for foreign lorries who constantly work here in the UK, whilst they refuel abroad, don't pay road tax and push the smaller national transport companies out of business.

Why is this idea important?

Introduce a specific tax for foreign lorries who constantly work here in the UK, whilst they refuel abroad, don't pay road tax and push the smaller national transport companies out of business.

Fairer insurance law for consumers…

Why do insurers have such a poor reputation?

Part of the reason is that some insurers are still relying on law which was established in 18th century commercial insurance cases, even when dealing with consumers.

For example, every time you buy an insurance policy – motor, household, life, whatever – you must tell the insurer everything which a prudent insurer might consider relevant to the risk.  This rule was set down in a commercial insurance case heard in 1766!  The insurer is not as a matter of contract law required to ask any questions to guide you, even in respect of those matters which it regards as typically relevant. 

Unless you work for an insurer, how likely is it that you will accurately anticipate everything which should be disclosed?

Yet the penalties are harsh.  If you fail to disclose a relevant fact and this failure induces the insurer to enter into the contract, it may on becoming aware of the true position set your policy aside from outset and reject any claim you have made.  This is so regardless of whether  you acted fraudulently, negligently or entirely innocently.  Nor does there need to be any connection between the alleged non-disclosure and the claim.  And once you have had a policy set aside you will have to declare this in all future applications making it harder to obtain cover at a reasonable cost.

This law may well have been appropriate for commercial insurance arranged in individual face-to-face transactions between equals in the 18th century. However it makes little sense for such law to be applied to modern-day mass-market consumer insurance policies, often purchased over the 'phone or the internet.

If a policy is set aside, consumers do have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  This is an invaluable option as the Ombudsmen make decisions on the basis of what is "fair and reasonable".  In insurance this frequently means ignoring the law.  However it may take months before a decision is made and the service is subject to restrictions.  For example, awards are only binding to £100,000 – a figure which has remained unchanged for 29 years!  For an example of  how woefully inadequate this limit now is, consider the case of Ms Michelle Barber which was widely reported last year.  Ms Barber's house was rebuilt by an insurer after a fire. Subsequently the insurer demanded that Ms Barber reimburse the costs of £241,000 after it discovered that when taking out the policy she had failed to declare a fine of just £150. 

Reform would also discourage several unacceptable practices.  At present some insurers:

  • defer until the claims stage enquiries which would more properly have been made when the initial application was received (for example, in Cuthbertson v Friends Provident, Lord Eassie suggested that "the only purpose of recovering the GP records was to see whether within those notes there was any entry which might give the defenders grounds for avoiding or invalidating the policy under which the claim was being made"),
  • allege non-disclosure as a technical means of rejecting a claim where the reality is that they suspect fraud but are either unable to prove it or unwilling to spend the time and money that a proper investigation would require,
  • adopt an unduly harsh approach to claims when financial pressures bite – indeed claims handlers may be assessed on their ability to "control" costs and it may even affect their remuneration.

The better insurers do not rely on the harsher aspects of the law and would gain from it being reformed.  First it would prevent their less ethical competitors from gaining a financial advantage by refusing claims on spurious grounds.   Secondly, reform would improve the reputation of the insurance industry as a whole.

Fortunately, all the necessary work for consumer insurance law reform has been completed by the Law Commissions, and reforming legislation has been drafted – the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill.  Amongst other provisions this Bill would abolish the duty of disclosure for consumers – if an insurer required information it would be obliged to ask a clear question.

Now all that is needed is swift implementation…

Why is this idea important?

Why do insurers have such a poor reputation?

Part of the reason is that some insurers are still relying on law which was established in 18th century commercial insurance cases, even when dealing with consumers.

For example, every time you buy an insurance policy – motor, household, life, whatever – you must tell the insurer everything which a prudent insurer might consider relevant to the risk.  This rule was set down in a commercial insurance case heard in 1766!  The insurer is not as a matter of contract law required to ask any questions to guide you, even in respect of those matters which it regards as typically relevant. 

Unless you work for an insurer, how likely is it that you will accurately anticipate everything which should be disclosed?

Yet the penalties are harsh.  If you fail to disclose a relevant fact and this failure induces the insurer to enter into the contract, it may on becoming aware of the true position set your policy aside from outset and reject any claim you have made.  This is so regardless of whether  you acted fraudulently, negligently or entirely innocently.  Nor does there need to be any connection between the alleged non-disclosure and the claim.  And once you have had a policy set aside you will have to declare this in all future applications making it harder to obtain cover at a reasonable cost.

This law may well have been appropriate for commercial insurance arranged in individual face-to-face transactions between equals in the 18th century. However it makes little sense for such law to be applied to modern-day mass-market consumer insurance policies, often purchased over the 'phone or the internet.

If a policy is set aside, consumers do have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  This is an invaluable option as the Ombudsmen make decisions on the basis of what is "fair and reasonable".  In insurance this frequently means ignoring the law.  However it may take months before a decision is made and the service is subject to restrictions.  For example, awards are only binding to £100,000 – a figure which has remained unchanged for 29 years!  For an example of  how woefully inadequate this limit now is, consider the case of Ms Michelle Barber which was widely reported last year.  Ms Barber's house was rebuilt by an insurer after a fire. Subsequently the insurer demanded that Ms Barber reimburse the costs of £241,000 after it discovered that when taking out the policy she had failed to declare a fine of just £150. 

Reform would also discourage several unacceptable practices.  At present some insurers:

  • defer until the claims stage enquiries which would more properly have been made when the initial application was received (for example, in Cuthbertson v Friends Provident, Lord Eassie suggested that "the only purpose of recovering the GP records was to see whether within those notes there was any entry which might give the defenders grounds for avoiding or invalidating the policy under which the claim was being made"),
  • allege non-disclosure as a technical means of rejecting a claim where the reality is that they suspect fraud but are either unable to prove it or unwilling to spend the time and money that a proper investigation would require,
  • adopt an unduly harsh approach to claims when financial pressures bite – indeed claims handlers may be assessed on their ability to "control" costs and it may even affect their remuneration.

The better insurers do not rely on the harsher aspects of the law and would gain from it being reformed.  First it would prevent their less ethical competitors from gaining a financial advantage by refusing claims on spurious grounds.   Secondly, reform would improve the reputation of the insurance industry as a whole.

Fortunately, all the necessary work for consumer insurance law reform has been completed by the Law Commissions, and reforming legislation has been drafted – the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill.  Amongst other provisions this Bill would abolish the duty of disclosure for consumers – if an insurer required information it would be obliged to ask a clear question.

Now all that is needed is swift implementation…

Streamline the Tax and Benefits system.

National Insurance should be merged with income tax. (And ideally local taxation should also be included in this merger)

The personal tax allowance abolished and should be replaced by an equivalent cash payment to all UK resident citizens. (This could be referred to as a basic income). All benefits would then be reduced by this amount.

Benefits would be phased out for those able to work, they would be replaced by guaranteed casual work being available. This work would initially be community work, whether it be helping charities or environmental schemes. It could be helping with local festivals for example.

This would be 5 days a month, there would be as much flexibility as possible in the timing. The entitlement would be transferrable between family members. It would approximately minimum wage. (Those with reduced basic income would be able to claim up to 10 days a month.)

Basic income would be based on the number of years spent contributing to the tax system. (Children on becoming 18 would be regarded as having up to 5 years of contributions, 1/2 a year for each year they have attended school in the UK.)

The minimum payment would begin after 5 years of contributions. This would be aimed to be approximately the difference between 1 day a week at minimum wage and current jobseekers allowance for a young person.

After 10 years of contributions this would raise to be equivalent to the difference between one day a week on minimum wage and the current adults’ JSA.

The state pension could also be merged with this system and could child benefit.

Once this scheme is running, a similar scheme would be introduced to replace rent and mortgage benefits.

Why is this idea important?

National Insurance should be merged with income tax. (And ideally local taxation should also be included in this merger)

The personal tax allowance abolished and should be replaced by an equivalent cash payment to all UK resident citizens. (This could be referred to as a basic income). All benefits would then be reduced by this amount.

Benefits would be phased out for those able to work, they would be replaced by guaranteed casual work being available. This work would initially be community work, whether it be helping charities or environmental schemes. It could be helping with local festivals for example.

This would be 5 days a month, there would be as much flexibility as possible in the timing. The entitlement would be transferrable between family members. It would approximately minimum wage. (Those with reduced basic income would be able to claim up to 10 days a month.)

Basic income would be based on the number of years spent contributing to the tax system. (Children on becoming 18 would be regarded as having up to 5 years of contributions, 1/2 a year for each year they have attended school in the UK.)

The minimum payment would begin after 5 years of contributions. This would be aimed to be approximately the difference between 1 day a week at minimum wage and current jobseekers allowance for a young person.

After 10 years of contributions this would raise to be equivalent to the difference between one day a week on minimum wage and the current adults’ JSA.

The state pension could also be merged with this system and could child benefit.

Once this scheme is running, a similar scheme would be introduced to replace rent and mortgage benefits.

Repeal the cartel offence (s.180 Enterprise Act 2002)

UK competition law provides for heavy fines for companies found to have formed cartels to fix prices, boycott competitors or share out markets (Competition Act 1998).  Individuals involved can be disqualified as directors – ruining any business career. 

In addition, however, the Labout Government decided to make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for individuals to be engaged in cartel behaviour.  The offence is prosecuted by the Office of Fair Trading or Serious Fraud Office.

There is a strong case for that offence to be repealed.

 

 

Why is this idea important?

UK competition law provides for heavy fines for companies found to have formed cartels to fix prices, boycott competitors or share out markets (Competition Act 1998).  Individuals involved can be disqualified as directors – ruining any business career. 

In addition, however, the Labout Government decided to make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for individuals to be engaged in cartel behaviour.  The offence is prosecuted by the Office of Fair Trading or Serious Fraud Office.

There is a strong case for that offence to be repealed.

 

 

What’s the point in Law if you can’t get it upheld.

This is a call for a review basically.

 

One of the biggest problems I have found with Legal Aid is how it leaves you having to do everything yourself.  15 minutes with a lawyer and that's about it.  The Citizens Advice Bureas are also not up to scratch either.  Due to a massive lack of resources.

Legal Aid is vital to every citizen, yet the poor reliably get dumped to the bottom.  Even though the poor are often caught in the most violent and lawless places.

The idea is to make sure everyone gets Legal Aid.  By re-enforcing the existing system.  So that's review, revoke where required, and add some new bits.

Why is this idea important?

This is a call for a review basically.

 

One of the biggest problems I have found with Legal Aid is how it leaves you having to do everything yourself.  15 minutes with a lawyer and that's about it.  The Citizens Advice Bureas are also not up to scratch either.  Due to a massive lack of resources.

Legal Aid is vital to every citizen, yet the poor reliably get dumped to the bottom.  Even though the poor are often caught in the most violent and lawless places.

The idea is to make sure everyone gets Legal Aid.  By re-enforcing the existing system.  So that's review, revoke where required, and add some new bits.