Probate

My partner has been going through a harrowing process, full of red tape to help her father get all documents signed over to him after the death of his wife. Are there any laws that could be repealed to speed up this process? 

Why is this idea important?

My partner has been going through a harrowing process, full of red tape to help her father get all documents signed over to him after the death of his wife. Are there any laws that could be repealed to speed up this process? 

Anomaly in Student loans used to pay housing benefit (scotland)

The welfare reforms expected the core jobless to go back to work or take up education and training.  There is an anomaly with student loans in Scotland whereby housing benefit must be paid out of the student loan.

Unfortunately, the SAAS and student services do not inform about the anomaly even on the SAAS website and a person may only apply for student fee exemption without realising that they must also take out a student loan to pay their rent as housing benefit no longer applies.

Housing Benefit Regulation s.64 (3)  (b).

'A student shall be treated as possessing a student loan in respect of an academic year where (a) a student loan has been made to him in respect of that year or (b) he could acquire such a loan in respect of that year by taking reasonable steps to do so."

This anomaly causes an overpayment of housing benefit with subsequent claw back which places the student in arrears of rent.  If in arrears a landlord can use this as a reason to evict, the student then becomes homeless.

However, it is possible to get a discretionary payment from the Council to pay the arrears but this does not garantee that a valid notice to quit if served timeously will not still mean a student is homeless.

Why is this idea important?

The welfare reforms expected the core jobless to go back to work or take up education and training.  There is an anomaly with student loans in Scotland whereby housing benefit must be paid out of the student loan.

Unfortunately, the SAAS and student services do not inform about the anomaly even on the SAAS website and a person may only apply for student fee exemption without realising that they must also take out a student loan to pay their rent as housing benefit no longer applies.

Housing Benefit Regulation s.64 (3)  (b).

'A student shall be treated as possessing a student loan in respect of an academic year where (a) a student loan has been made to him in respect of that year or (b) he could acquire such a loan in respect of that year by taking reasonable steps to do so."

This anomaly causes an overpayment of housing benefit with subsequent claw back which places the student in arrears of rent.  If in arrears a landlord can use this as a reason to evict, the student then becomes homeless.

However, it is possible to get a discretionary payment from the Council to pay the arrears but this does not garantee that a valid notice to quit if served timeously will not still mean a student is homeless.

Abolish Reducing Benefits For People Living Together

Currently people on benefits; In particular Jobseekers allowance; can have their benefits cut as a result of being in a relationship with someone they live with.

Abolish this ruling and make it simply that a person is assessed as an individual for their benefits claim.  

Maintain the same rules regarding seeking work as for any other job seeker. The same expiration of benefits; the same requirements for training and proof of looking for work would be required.

Why is this idea important?

Currently people on benefits; In particular Jobseekers allowance; can have their benefits cut as a result of being in a relationship with someone they live with.

Abolish this ruling and make it simply that a person is assessed as an individual for their benefits claim.  

Maintain the same rules regarding seeking work as for any other job seeker. The same expiration of benefits; the same requirements for training and proof of looking for work would be required.

Codification of Banking laws

There are three ways to clear a cheque with laws going back to the 18th Century.  There is a need for a complete codification exercise of case precedent and statute law in "banking", "finance", "investment", "corporate" and "taxation" for the law to be brought up to the 21st century.  

Why is this idea important?

There are three ways to clear a cheque with laws going back to the 18th Century.  There is a need for a complete codification exercise of case precedent and statute law in "banking", "finance", "investment", "corporate" and "taxation" for the law to be brought up to the 21st century.  

avoid massive HMRC waste by moving the Budget date

When the Budget was in the autumn HMRC would only have to send out tax codes once because all the budget changes were incorporated between autumn and April.

 

Currently HMRC send out MILLIONS of  tax codes which are rendered wrong by Budget changes within weeks.

Why is this idea important?

When the Budget was in the autumn HMRC would only have to send out tax codes once because all the budget changes were incorporated between autumn and April.

 

Currently HMRC send out MILLIONS of  tax codes which are rendered wrong by Budget changes within weeks.

Ease restrictions on earth sheltered & basement housing

There are only 60 earth sheltered houses in the UK mostly in Wales. The planning law for permission is as strict for earth sheltered as it is for above ground – this is wrong!!!!!

A council has to consider aesthetics as well as several other aspects, and any application in the green belt is automatically turned down as green belt building is considered best avoided.

An earth sheltered house is almost always eco friendly – I do not know why – but it is!!

An earth sheltered house cannot be seen or can barely be seen from above ground, other than an aerial view.  This sort of building should be encouraged as this small island has only limited space, we do not wish to see the loss of more green fields or parks, playing fields, agricultural land etc etc.  But earth sheltered would barely impact on infrastructure, does not spoil views or appearance to greenbelt land, and surely should be encouraged in an attempt to help find space for much needed homes. In my opinion all applications for earth sheltered housing should automatically be viewed as if they were brown field sites, and then each taken on its merits. 

Why is this idea important?

There are only 60 earth sheltered houses in the UK mostly in Wales. The planning law for permission is as strict for earth sheltered as it is for above ground – this is wrong!!!!!

A council has to consider aesthetics as well as several other aspects, and any application in the green belt is automatically turned down as green belt building is considered best avoided.

An earth sheltered house is almost always eco friendly – I do not know why – but it is!!

An earth sheltered house cannot be seen or can barely be seen from above ground, other than an aerial view.  This sort of building should be encouraged as this small island has only limited space, we do not wish to see the loss of more green fields or parks, playing fields, agricultural land etc etc.  But earth sheltered would barely impact on infrastructure, does not spoil views or appearance to greenbelt land, and surely should be encouraged in an attempt to help find space for much needed homes. In my opinion all applications for earth sheltered housing should automatically be viewed as if they were brown field sites, and then each taken on its merits. 

Get the EU to continue to cut red tape – take the battle to Brussels

The EU are producing some good legislation like the Invoicing directive which is allowing companies that operate across the EU to cut back on the administrative burden of trying to comply with the different laws in each EU country and instead having a standard system and process that can be used across the EU.

But there are still too many regional differences in accounting ledger requirements, invoice numbering requirements, VAT requirements, etc… Every time one EU country creates their own different law, software systems have to be tailored, people have to be trained and it adds massively to the cost of doing business across Europe which in turn increases the price of goods that every consumer pays.

Lets make Britain the most business friendly country in Europe, and lead the way in getting the rest of the EU to follow. Examine every law and think about how it adds costs to business.

An independent company did a study and they asked businesses what they wanted in terms of invoicing law. Some of it is included in the directive, some of it was ignored. Let the UK lead in implementing those things that business wanted but the EU ignored.

The study can be found here – see the final report

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/traders/invoicing_rules/index_en.htm

Why is this idea important?

The EU are producing some good legislation like the Invoicing directive which is allowing companies that operate across the EU to cut back on the administrative burden of trying to comply with the different laws in each EU country and instead having a standard system and process that can be used across the EU.

But there are still too many regional differences in accounting ledger requirements, invoice numbering requirements, VAT requirements, etc… Every time one EU country creates their own different law, software systems have to be tailored, people have to be trained and it adds massively to the cost of doing business across Europe which in turn increases the price of goods that every consumer pays.

Lets make Britain the most business friendly country in Europe, and lead the way in getting the rest of the EU to follow. Examine every law and think about how it adds costs to business.

An independent company did a study and they asked businesses what they wanted in terms of invoicing law. Some of it is included in the directive, some of it was ignored. Let the UK lead in implementing those things that business wanted but the EU ignored.

The study can be found here – see the final report

http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/traders/invoicing_rules/index_en.htm

End planning protection for recent alterations to old buildings

Please amend the Planning Act 1990 to exclude protection from any post-1945 alterations to an older building. My mum lives in a conservation area, in part of a big Victorian house that was partitioned into a terrace in 1959. During the conversion, one of the sash windows was painted shut. As the law stands, this damage to an original period feature is protected by the Act. Repairing it would require an expensive conservation permit, which really is a bit silly.

Why is this idea important?

Please amend the Planning Act 1990 to exclude protection from any post-1945 alterations to an older building. My mum lives in a conservation area, in part of a big Victorian house that was partitioned into a terrace in 1959. During the conversion, one of the sash windows was painted shut. As the law stands, this damage to an original period feature is protected by the Act. Repairing it would require an expensive conservation permit, which really is a bit silly.

Implement new thresholds for making / repealing new laws

Set the threshold for making a new law at 75% of those eligible to vote, rather than a simple majority, as any new law should have at least the support of a sizeable majority of the law makers.

All new laws to have a sunset clause whereby they are either reaffirmed as necessary or they are automatically repealed.

Set the threshold for repealing existing laws at 25% of those eligible to vote, as if a quarter of the law makers think it is unworkable / impracticable etc, then it deserves to go.

The current proposal for one in one out also makes sense.

Why is this idea important?

Set the threshold for making a new law at 75% of those eligible to vote, rather than a simple majority, as any new law should have at least the support of a sizeable majority of the law makers.

All new laws to have a sunset clause whereby they are either reaffirmed as necessary or they are automatically repealed.

Set the threshold for repealing existing laws at 25% of those eligible to vote, as if a quarter of the law makers think it is unworkable / impracticable etc, then it deserves to go.

The current proposal for one in one out also makes sense.

Repeal HMO Licensing

Please repeal HMO licensing requirements.

Councils are using these not only as a 'catch penny' to pay EHO wages, but also it seems to make unnecessary work for electricians and builders.

Why is this idea important?

Please repeal HMO licensing requirements.

Councils are using these not only as a 'catch penny' to pay EHO wages, but also it seems to make unnecessary work for electricians and builders.

Repeal most of the Video Recordings Act

In the UK, it is illegal to sell a video cassette (or nowadays, a DVD) which has not been classified and given an age rating by the British Board of Film Classification. This law is the result of the "video nasties" moral panic in the 1980s and is increasingly irrelevant when video material can easily be accessed online.

BBFC age ratings should no longer be mandatory, and companies should instead be allowed to use a "NOT RATED" opt-out label on the packaging, as is the case in several other countries.

Why is this idea important?

In the UK, it is illegal to sell a video cassette (or nowadays, a DVD) which has not been classified and given an age rating by the British Board of Film Classification. This law is the result of the "video nasties" moral panic in the 1980s and is increasingly irrelevant when video material can easily be accessed online.

BBFC age ratings should no longer be mandatory, and companies should instead be allowed to use a "NOT RATED" opt-out label on the packaging, as is the case in several other countries.

Ease restrictions on earth sheltered & basement housing

There are only 60 earth sheltered houses in the UK mostly in Wales. The planning law for permission is as strict for earth sheltered as it is for above ground – this is wrong!!!!!

A council has to consider aesthetics as well as several other aspects, and any application in the green belt is automatically turned down as green belt building is considered best avoided.

An earth sheltered house is almost always eco friendly – I do not know why – but it is!!

An earth sheltered house cannot be seen or can barely be seen from above ground, other than an aerial view.  This sort of building should be encouraged as this small island has only limited space, we do not wish to see the loss of more green fields or parks, playing fields, agricultural land etc etc.  But earth sheltered would barely impact on infrastructure, does not spoil views or appearance to greenbelt land, and surely should be encouraged in an attempt to help find space for much needed homes. In my opinion all applications for earth sheltered housing should automatically be viewed as if they were brown field sites, and then each taken on its merits. 

Why is this idea important?

There are only 60 earth sheltered houses in the UK mostly in Wales. The planning law for permission is as strict for earth sheltered as it is for above ground – this is wrong!!!!!

A council has to consider aesthetics as well as several other aspects, and any application in the green belt is automatically turned down as green belt building is considered best avoided.

An earth sheltered house is almost always eco friendly – I do not know why – but it is!!

An earth sheltered house cannot be seen or can barely be seen from above ground, other than an aerial view.  This sort of building should be encouraged as this small island has only limited space, we do not wish to see the loss of more green fields or parks, playing fields, agricultural land etc etc.  But earth sheltered would barely impact on infrastructure, does not spoil views or appearance to greenbelt land, and surely should be encouraged in an attempt to help find space for much needed homes. In my opinion all applications for earth sheltered housing should automatically be viewed as if they were brown field sites, and then each taken on its merits. 

Get rid of the SIA or at least change it

 the SIA was a good idea to licence  doormen & keep the public safe  however it is  run by idiots   who lose   more  details  than they collect. &  the  fees are way too high 249 GBP   i  have to pay in a few months time (again!!!) just for the  right to work that is just unfair as a self employed  person. I am  all for the licence  system but under old  local  council systems  this  was  free &  was  stress free the SIA  have  messed up  more than the old system ever did (did not  a load of illegal 's  end up  working @ the  heart of  goverment ?). &  dont get me started on the  exam where  English as a second language is  a' get  a head start" & the SIA web site  state the costs & training  is to increase as of this month

i as a  born &  bred UK citizen have the right to work but i  should not have to pay for this right every  3 years  to keep some  pencil pusher in work  when i put my life at risk on a daily basis ensuring  the public  are safe.

 

Why is this idea important?

 the SIA was a good idea to licence  doormen & keep the public safe  however it is  run by idiots   who lose   more  details  than they collect. &  the  fees are way too high 249 GBP   i  have to pay in a few months time (again!!!) just for the  right to work that is just unfair as a self employed  person. I am  all for the licence  system but under old  local  council systems  this  was  free &  was  stress free the SIA  have  messed up  more than the old system ever did (did not  a load of illegal 's  end up  working @ the  heart of  goverment ?). &  dont get me started on the  exam where  English as a second language is  a' get  a head start" & the SIA web site  state the costs & training  is to increase as of this month

i as a  born &  bred UK citizen have the right to work but i  should not have to pay for this right every  3 years  to keep some  pencil pusher in work  when i put my life at risk on a daily basis ensuring  the public  are safe.

 

Making police work easier

Anyone who's ever had to give the police a formal statement (I did yesterday), knows how painful it is watching an under-trained officer trying to type in your statement.  My statement took almost 3 hours – I could have typed it myself and e-mailed it to the station in under 20 minutes! Apparently, I'm not allowed to do this.  Surely it would make more sense to allow me to email my statement, which can then be pasted into official Police software and I can attend the station to sign the statement and make any necessary legal declarations.

Assuming that every officer has, at some point, had to deal with taking statements, think how many man-hours this one little step could save for EVERY force EVERY DAY!

Why is this idea important?

Anyone who's ever had to give the police a formal statement (I did yesterday), knows how painful it is watching an under-trained officer trying to type in your statement.  My statement took almost 3 hours – I could have typed it myself and e-mailed it to the station in under 20 minutes! Apparently, I'm not allowed to do this.  Surely it would make more sense to allow me to email my statement, which can then be pasted into official Police software and I can attend the station to sign the statement and make any necessary legal declarations.

Assuming that every officer has, at some point, had to deal with taking statements, think how many man-hours this one little step could save for EVERY force EVERY DAY!

Change to definition of Brownfield Land in gardens to Greenfield

The Government very recently altered the definition of gardens under PPS3 from brownfield land to greenfield. This appears to have been done to placate the NIMBYs of middle England. Many of those who object to such schemes thenselves live on land that was once gardens or recreational areas. It seems that the consequences of such a change were not thought through by those who created the change. My company has spent £50000 on a three year application for a small scheme of 5 houses in a garden. We satisfied all the planner's requests throughout to make the scheme acceptable. The LPA recommended approval. The local counsellors were unduly influenced by the neighbours and refused it. They would not give a reason and asked the planners to insert one in the decision notice. We were in the middle of the appeal process with a high chance of success (because our application at the date of submission "ticked all the planning boxes") when the ministerial decision was announced out of the blue. Now there is no chance of the appeal succeeding as this legislation by Ministerial statement appears to be retrospective. Why could it not have excluded those applications already in the pipeline?  Because of this my small company will have to be liquidated, I and my family will have no income from the business, the young couple who owned the garden will not be able to improve their lot and move, and the men who were going to build the houses will not now have a job. Were such consequences for those on the receiving end ever considered? It was announced by Ministerial statement. Please immediately repeal it by the same method. It does more harm than good. It appears to be unnecessarily unfair.

Why is this idea important?

The Government very recently altered the definition of gardens under PPS3 from brownfield land to greenfield. This appears to have been done to placate the NIMBYs of middle England. Many of those who object to such schemes thenselves live on land that was once gardens or recreational areas. It seems that the consequences of such a change were not thought through by those who created the change. My company has spent £50000 on a three year application for a small scheme of 5 houses in a garden. We satisfied all the planner's requests throughout to make the scheme acceptable. The LPA recommended approval. The local counsellors were unduly influenced by the neighbours and refused it. They would not give a reason and asked the planners to insert one in the decision notice. We were in the middle of the appeal process with a high chance of success (because our application at the date of submission "ticked all the planning boxes") when the ministerial decision was announced out of the blue. Now there is no chance of the appeal succeeding as this legislation by Ministerial statement appears to be retrospective. Why could it not have excluded those applications already in the pipeline?  Because of this my small company will have to be liquidated, I and my family will have no income from the business, the young couple who owned the garden will not be able to improve their lot and move, and the men who were going to build the houses will not now have a job. Were such consequences for those on the receiving end ever considered? It was announced by Ministerial statement. Please immediately repeal it by the same method. It does more harm than good. It appears to be unnecessarily unfair.

Simplify the planning system

I work as an architect nationwide in a large practice.  The planning system has a significant impact on our work and it’s smooth operation is vital to our operations and indeed our profitability and survival as a business.  It is also vital to the country, especially at a time of economic problems, that decisions are made swiftly and at minimal cost to everyone involved, including the public purse.

The planning process, from our perspective, has become increasingly difficult over the last decade.  The introduction of fees and later of targets, has not eased the process from our point of view and we often find ourselves trapped in between the demands of our clients on the one hand and the planners on the other.  

The cost of making a planning application is now so high, because of the time scale required to put an appllication together and the vast number of reports and information required to enable a decision – that it has become beyond the reach of many private clients who cannot afford to venture into the system at huge personal cost, when the outcome is so uncertain.

Simplify the whole system.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Expand the scope of permitted development.
  • Introduce a "rules" based system where any proposal complying with the rules can be automatically permitted.
  • As in much of Europe any design submitted by a qualified architect should be deemed approved from a "design" perspective.
  • Introduce Local Development Orders to cover all main development sites with a set of criteria to be followed.  Any proposal complying with the criteria would be deemed approved.
  • Similarly – define rules within Local Plans whereby compliance deems approval.
  • Having introduced a predominantly rules based system – private sector planners could be engaged to run the system and manage the process.  The democratic element of planning would be in approving and determining the rules in the first place.
  • Many apoplications are stalled awaiting consultees responses.  Where consultees fail to respond – and indeed where the Planning Authority fails to make a decision in the proscribed time – an application should be deemed approved.

Why is this idea important?

I work as an architect nationwide in a large practice.  The planning system has a significant impact on our work and it’s smooth operation is vital to our operations and indeed our profitability and survival as a business.  It is also vital to the country, especially at a time of economic problems, that decisions are made swiftly and at minimal cost to everyone involved, including the public purse.

The planning process, from our perspective, has become increasingly difficult over the last decade.  The introduction of fees and later of targets, has not eased the process from our point of view and we often find ourselves trapped in between the demands of our clients on the one hand and the planners on the other.  

The cost of making a planning application is now so high, because of the time scale required to put an appllication together and the vast number of reports and information required to enable a decision – that it has become beyond the reach of many private clients who cannot afford to venture into the system at huge personal cost, when the outcome is so uncertain.

Simplify the whole system.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Expand the scope of permitted development.
  • Introduce a "rules" based system where any proposal complying with the rules can be automatically permitted.
  • As in much of Europe any design submitted by a qualified architect should be deemed approved from a "design" perspective.
  • Introduce Local Development Orders to cover all main development sites with a set of criteria to be followed.  Any proposal complying with the criteria would be deemed approved.
  • Similarly – define rules within Local Plans whereby compliance deems approval.
  • Having introduced a predominantly rules based system – private sector planners could be engaged to run the system and manage the process.  The democratic element of planning would be in approving and determining the rules in the first place.
  • Many apoplications are stalled awaiting consultees responses.  Where consultees fail to respond – and indeed where the Planning Authority fails to make a decision in the proscribed time – an application should be deemed approved.

Repeal of the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002

The basis of this idea is to repeal the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002, which exempts the selection of candidates by political parties from sex discrimination laws.  Repealing this law would restore full sex discrimination legsialtion to the selection of candidates for elections by political parties.

Why is this idea important?

The basis of this idea is to repeal the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002, which exempts the selection of candidates by political parties from sex discrimination laws.  Repealing this law would restore full sex discrimination legsialtion to the selection of candidates for elections by political parties.

Abolish business rates

Abolish business rates. I realise that in the current climate the government could not possibly afford such a generous tax cut, so I propose making up for the lost tax revenue by increasing corporation tax by whatever amount would make the whole thing revenue neutral.

Why is this idea important?

Abolish business rates. I realise that in the current climate the government could not possibly afford such a generous tax cut, so I propose making up for the lost tax revenue by increasing corporation tax by whatever amount would make the whole thing revenue neutral.

Remove the issue of Pedlars licence from Police to Local Aurthorities

The way the Pedlars licences are issued   is well out of date and not fit for purpose for todays society.

Currently, any Police authority can issue a pedlars licence which allows and individual to travel from town to town trading on public highways and selling goods to the general public.

The proposal is to remove the issuing of licences from the Police and allow Local Authorities to issue licences in their own local authority area.
LA's already issue street trading permits and this allows them to control, police and manage trading actvitiy in their public spaces which is the right thing to do. It also allows the public to have some form of redress if things go wrong with the "pedlar"  trader. (at least they will know who they are!)

I am not saying get rid of the Pedlars licences, Just allow the LA's to manage them.
The Police have enought to do.
Do the Police want be  accountable for issuing the licences to individuals they can not monitor or police? I don't think they do.

Why is this idea important?

The way the Pedlars licences are issued   is well out of date and not fit for purpose for todays society.

Currently, any Police authority can issue a pedlars licence which allows and individual to travel from town to town trading on public highways and selling goods to the general public.

The proposal is to remove the issuing of licences from the Police and allow Local Authorities to issue licences in their own local authority area.
LA's already issue street trading permits and this allows them to control, police and manage trading actvitiy in their public spaces which is the right thing to do. It also allows the public to have some form of redress if things go wrong with the "pedlar"  trader. (at least they will know who they are!)

I am not saying get rid of the Pedlars licences, Just allow the LA's to manage them.
The Police have enought to do.
Do the Police want be  accountable for issuing the licences to individuals they can not monitor or police? I don't think they do.