Tag Archives: permission

Cummings council tax: a form letter for your local authority

Where he belongs: but Dominic Cummings (and his family) seem able to get away with anything because of his connection with Boris Johnson.

The family of Dominic Cummings has been allowed to avoid paying historical council tax on several properties built on their land without planning permission, it has been revealed.

What a great opportunity for the rest of us!

It seems clear that every other council taxpayer in the UK should write to their local authority’s council tax department, demanding appropriately similar treatment. The text could run something like this:

To whom it may concern,

I read with pleasure that a family in Durham has received an effective Council Tax rebate of £30,000. What a boost for them in these Covid-19-blighted times – and on properties without planning permission, too!

write to request delivery of my own council tax rebate. While I accept that this may be adjusted down according to the council tax band in which my dwelling falls, I expect I must be due a considerable amount more than the family in Durham – because my dwelling does have planning permission.

It has occurred to me that the rebate may not be applied to my area, but only to families in Durham – but that would make no sense, would it? Why would one area receive preferential treatment? We’re all in this together, after all – or at least, that’s what we’re told!

I look forward to your reply by return of post, stating the amount of rebate to which I am due for my property, along with notification of the transfer to my bank.

Alternatively, you’d better be able to explain why a wealthy family of lawbreakers is being rewarded, rather than punished, for breaking planning laws and hiding the fact for 18 years, when the rest of us have to pay.

With regards,

(And so on.)

The injustice is clear – just think about Melanie Woolcock, the single mother who defaulted on her council tax because she wasn’t well enough to work and the Tory benefit system paid so little that she could not afford to pay the amount outstanding and buy food.

She was arrested for non-payment of £4,742 in council tax – less than one-sixth of what Cummings’s family is said to have owed – and forced to serve an 81-day prison sentence.

Between her and the Cummings family, who do you think deserves leniency?

It’s not even up for question, is it? Yet in Boris Johnson’s Britain, his adviser’s rich family walk free while the sick woman went to jail for the crime of being poor.

This latest scandal has sparked a wave of outrage – and a few alternative proposals:

Source: Dominic Cummings allowed to avoid backdated council tax on second home | Politics | The Guardian

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Teen climate activist shames the world – but the Tories are trying to expand fracking across the UK

Frack site: The well in Lancashire contributes to global warming and climate change.

Climate change “negotiators” got a hard lesson in their own shortcomings – from a minor.

Greta Thunberg is only 15, but she packed more maturity into her three-minute speech than we’ve seen in decades of mealy-mouthed “negotiations” between representatives of national and international economic interests.

The Swedish activist shamed her elders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, where representatives eventually managed to reach a weak agreement over how to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. But everybody there knew they weren’t doing nearly enough to achieve that goal, which is why Ms Thunberg’s words had such bite.

Here’s her speech:

“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is,” she told an audience entirely composed of her elders (but clearly not her betters). “Even that burden you leave to us children.

“Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.

“It is the sufferings of the many that pay for the luxuries of the few… We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.”

She also said: “You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again.”

Now consider the current court case in the UK over plans by our Conservative government to expand fracking.

If ever there was an example of the many suffering to support the luxuries of the few – the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money – it is the fracking industry in the United Kingdom.

The current case highlights new planning guidance by the government which makes it easier to establish fracking sites. The document orders local authorities to facilitate the establishment of such sites, and proposes the removal of the need for new wells to get planning permission.

The government did not carry out any assessment of the impact its plans would have on the environment, and the guidance was imposed on the country without any public consultation.

It seems clear that James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, qualifies as one of the people Ms Thunberg describes as “not mature enough to tell it like it is.”

So do former prime minister David Cameron and his successor Theresa May. At a time when sustainable energy has never been cheaper or easier to supply, one is led to ask why they continue to kowtow to fossil fuel corporates like Cuadrilla bosses Roy Franklin and Francis Egan.

Fracking at Cuadrilla’s only UK site, in Lancashire, was halted again on December 11 after yet another earth tremor was caused by the process. This one measured 1.5 on the Richter scale, causing a woman who lives 1.6 miles from the site to say she heard a loud “bang” and her house shook. A Cuadrilla spokesperson said the effect would have been “like dropping a melon”.

We may conclude from this that the spokesperson is “not mature enough to tell it like it is” either.

But what is to be done in the face of such monumental selfishness, such wilful ignorance, such naked greed?

I’d like to think change is coming, whether the government figures and corporates named above like it or not – but I don’t think it will, unless somebody does something shocking.

I think someone would have to grab Messrs Cameron, Brokenshire, Egan and Franklin, along with Mrs May, drag them to the fracking well in Lancashire, and throw them down it – and then fill it in on top of them.

That’s what it would take to get these people to look up from counting their money and pay attention – the threat of extreme sanction.

But I can’t advocate such extreme measures – and the system is skewed in favour of the privileged. So what’s to be done?

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Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham

torynhsposter

Scheming, lice-ridden vermin: All the airbrushing in the world could not erase the brutal, calculating dishonesty of the Conservative 2010 election poster.

This guy has been impressive from the get-go: Today (Tuesday) Andy Burnham will call on the Coalition to put its plans for further NHS privatisation on hold until there is clear evidence that the public wants the health service to be sold off.

The speech in Manchester is being timed to take place before the Conservative-led government signs a series of new NHS contracts that will – underhandedly – tie the hands of a future government.

Sly little devils, aren’t they?

The British public has never given its consent for far-reaching and forced privatisation of services – and that’s what Mr Burnham will be saying.

He will point out that the forced privatisation of the NHS is entering new territory and becoming harder to reverse: Contracts are being signed that will run throughout the next Parliament and beyond, tying the hands of the next government in a crucial area of public policy.

Not only is this unacceptable to Labour, but it has never been accepted by the public, and Mr Burnham will say that comedy Prime Minister David Cameron needs to be reminded that the NHS does not belong to him but to the British people – and he never received our permission to put it up for sale.

He will remind everybody that Cameron was dishonest about his privatisation plans before the last election. Cameron said there would be “no top-down reorganisation”.

If he wants to continue to force privatisation through, he should seek the consent of the public at the 2015 Election, Mr Burnham will say.

And he will contrast the increasingly fragmented and privatised travesty that Cameron wants to force on you – where service has become a postcode lottery dependent on the cost-effectiveness of providing certain forms of healthcare in your locality – with a public, integrated NHS as Labour intends to re-form it.

It was confirmed last week that NHS spending on private-sector and other providers has exceeded £10 billion for the first time.

“For all its faults, it is a service that is based on people not profits,” Mr Burnham will say. “That principle sets our health service apart and was famously celebrated two years ago at the Opening Ceremony of our Olympic Games.

“When his reorganisation hit trouble and was paused, David Cameron explicitly promised that it would not lead to more forced privatisation of services. But… on his watch, NHS privatisation is being forced through at pace and scale.

“Commissioners have been ordered to put all services out to the market.

“NHS spending on private and other providers has gone through the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

When did the British public ever give their consent for this?

“It is indefensible for the character of the country’s most valued institution to be changed in this way without the public being given a say.”

Among the long-lasting agreements due to be signed by the Coalition in a bid to tie the next government into its privatisation of services are two contracts for cancer care in Staffordshire lasting no less than 10 years and worth a massive £1.2 billion; a five-year contract worth £800 million for the care of older people in Cambridge; and a contract in Oxford and Milton Keynes set to begin a month before the General Election for medical staffing.

The last of these is using a ‘reverse auction’ process where the lowest bidder wins, confirming fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ culture and contradicting claims from the Government of no competition on price in the NHS.

Once again Labour shows us that there is no depth to which the Cameron administration will not stoop. This time they are using the summer Parliamentary recess to sign contracts intended to prevent any future government from restoring our health service and reversing the appalling damage they have done so that they and their friends can profit from the suffering and sickness of the poor.

They could not do more damage if they were a filthy, sickening, scheming plague of lice-ridden vermin; in fact, that is exactly what they resemble.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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