Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bedroom Tax - Put in hands of democracy


The Chairman of UKIP Scotland, Mike Scott-Hayward, wants local democracy restored not least of all to stop the chaos caused by the implementation of the so-called bedroom tax.

His comments come after a landmark ruling in a Fife case which deemed that a rather small room could not be used as a bedroom, and therefore the "tax" could not apply.

"The positive in this is that British justice does, eventually, work. A Judge appointed by the Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clark, hears these cases and has made the landmark ruling, "Mr Scott-Hayward said.

"The silly side is that we are in this daft position in the first place. The first time I served as a councillor was in the days of North East Fife District Council. On the then Housing Committee, many tricky decision were taken on such matters - evictions, admission to housing lists, appeals against decisions made by officers, etc. - by elected members. We, in a sense, acted as a jury, applied common sense and had the authority as the Housing Authority, to decide to extent to which a pedantic ruling need be applied. Common sense and sensibility ruled the day, and these matters were often conducted in camera, and helped many hard pressed families.

"I contend that an appeal to panel of elected councillors should be the first recourse for any citizen who considers that an officer ruling is unfair. The councillors would therefore, as of old when we were still truly British, rather than as now increasingly continental in having too much direct rule by bureaucrats, use common sense and local knowledge to look after their people, the people who they are elected to serve.

"That would cut the cost of the number of cases that may need to go to a Judge, and go some small way to restoring local democracy."