That Cameron low tax small government in action

So, if I want to replace the windows or boiler in my house, under plans drawn up by the Department for Communities and Local Goverment on the watch of the low tax small government Cameron Conservatives, my local council would have the power to make me add new insulation or draught proofing before allowing me to do the work.

No matter what I determine to be my spending priority, the government would demand paperwork about the work being done in my home be submitted to them so they could scrutinise it and compel me to undertake actions I might not be able to afford.  Could this be another example of civil service ‘gold plating’ of the diktat of our supreme government in Brussels?  [Update: Witterings from Witney has more]

An army of civil servants would be poring over work dockets to decide what measures to impose on me in my own home, no doubt assembling information about my house that could be used to re-assess its value and make me liable to pay even more in Council Tax for ever poorer services.  This is the Cameron Conservatives in action.  They talk about low taxation and small government, then one of their departments comes up with this assault on privacy and individual freedom.

And if I can’t afford the additional measures, I would have to borrow the money (which I have already had ripped from my pay in the form of taxation) from the government and repay it through the already rising gas and electricity bills over a period up to 25 years.  Naturally no one has thought to explain what happens if I move house in that time.  Do I still make repayments for something I no longer benefit from while living in a new property – one that potentially will also see me compelled to take on even more debt to undertake measures over and above what I may need to do to that house, just to satisfy the demands of my public servants?  Or will the cost have to be passed on to the people buying my house thereby reducing the likelihood of me being able to sell it in the first place – perhaps making it impossible for me to move for employment reasons thus undermining my career?

Either way, the net effect will be the same.  More money will be forcibly taken from me on the orders of the political class.  More government bureaucracy will service more intrusion in my life at more cost to me.  More records will created about my house and my possessions stored on databases for government use resulting in more legislation that adds yet more cost to me.

A government that is truly accountable and answerable to the wishes of the people it serves would not get away with this.  In fact they would not even put it on the table for consideration.  What we have is just one more example of why we need to take back power from the political class and operate a system such as Referism.

46 Responses to “That Cameron low tax small government in action”

  1. 1 grahamwood32 09/04/2012 at 12:48 pm

    And they wonder why we hate the political class, and in particular the massive level of hypocrisy of Cameron and his fraudulent ‘Big Society.’
    What he really means is ever bigger government.

  2. 2 Trev 09/04/2012 at 12:49 pm

    This is the price we pay for having governments in the first place. Governments sign up to deals and treaties and pass policies in parliament. ie energy saving. They then have to carry them out. Somehow.

    If you don’t want govts to interfere then abolish governments.

  3. 3 tinkersong 09/04/2012 at 1:13 pm

    It’s getting more like Alice Though The Looking Glass every day, with every announcement. Insane politics from insane politicians. Get rid of one lot, then along come the next interfering, self-righteous and smug rabble. Particularly annoying since the pre-election soundbites were of smaller state (that’s how you might deal with the humongous debt problems) and less interfering in the minutiae of people’s lives. Nope, this lot are even worse, there is no difference between any of them, they are completely out of touch, compulsive liars, who simply do not give a shit about anybody but themselves.

    The latest ‘initiative’ has much to do with the eco-lunancy which amazingly seems to endure event though the scam is unravelling.

    Life is hard, many people are struggling to get by and all they do is add to the cost, add unnecessary bureaucracy (that’s the opposite of small state, Dave) and build up frustration.

    What have we done to deserve this?

  4. 4 Brian H 09/04/2012 at 1:32 pm

    Ridicule works. Circulate the moniker, “The Pig Society”.


  5. 5 Bill 09/04/2012 at 1:59 pm

    this comes from a Mr Huhne who was caught speeding and causing more emissions and then telling us what we should do .

  6. 6 Oldrightie (@OldRightie) 09/04/2012 at 2:34 pm

    The hatred building is colossal. Soon it will burst against these idiots in Government and their EU masters. Spain will probably be the first into the eruption against them. Bit like the mid-130s.

  7. 7 permanentexpat 09/04/2012 at 3:13 pm

    Wake up, kiddies…………it’s tumbrel time!

  8. 8 TomTom 09/04/2012 at 3:25 pm

    This is EU. Exactly the same rubbish is going on in Germany with a proposed requirement for houses to halve their CO2 emissions and existing homes to meet all new standards. Demolition will be widespread at this rate which wastes yet more energy.

  9. 9 Bill 09/04/2012 at 3:53 pm

    At the end of the day though nothing happens without our consent. In their system they go to the far end of a fart trickery wise to ensure we consent to their diktat so the solution is as easy as it is hard for most… withdraw the consent you have already given and don’t hand out any new consent.

    In practice this means dropping off of the electoral roll because if you accept their vote you accept everything the United Kingdom does. As I said easy and yet too difficult for most.

  10. 10 TomTom 09/04/2012 at 3:58 pm

    Houses built before 1982 now have mould and aspergillus in Germany because of insulation mandated by EU

  11. 11 Edward. 09/04/2012 at 5:01 pm

    I keep waiting for something AM, something that finally will engage the great British public and goad them into action; “right that’s the final straw, enough we’ve had enough, something needs to change!”

    Telling, not asking people to change their homes without a by your leave – may be just the straw to break this useless lame Conservative dromedary’s back.

    HIP packs were intrusive enough [and totally useless needless to say], for a supposedly political party of small government – what is going on but we all know the answer – Dave’s guys are beholden, enthralled to their masters and betters in Berlaymont.
    This latest diktat will be an edict too far – once this is widely known to be an EU authoritarian order – the British will rebel, at least the English will, after all we are talking about property – our castles – this is going to be interesting.

  12. 12 Edward. 09/04/2012 at 5:03 pm

    Oh yes and energy meters coming to your home soon – whether you want it or not – it will mean a revolution and not metered – either.

  13. 13 joe 09/04/2012 at 5:22 pm

    shoot them, shoot them all, just shoot them …………………..

  14. 14 markwadsworth 09/04/2012 at 5:34 pm

    It’s all bollocks. Just replace your windows the way you like them and damn the torpedoes (my previous lengthier comment was chewed up during the WordPress login procedure, what a load of faff).

  15. 15 Brian H 10/04/2012 at 6:17 am

    If you use Firefox, install the Lazarus add-on. Complete recovery of any entry you are composing, even if the system crashes in mid-keystroke. Hint: set the save period to longer than the 14-hr default; you can bring back older comments for reposting or editing, etc. Mine is set for 54 weeks!

  16. 16 David B. Wildgoose 10/04/2012 at 9:11 am

    This already happens. I bought a 30s semi with a large (ugly) red-brick extension with a flat roof. I wanted to put a proper pitched roof on it – at great expense I might add.

    I was informed that I would only get planning permission if I separated my front room, (re-instating the original hallway), boxed in all my stairs, added automatically closing doors to the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs, and so on. “Fire Safety” apparently – even though we already pay for a monitored fire alarm that causes the Fire Brigade to be automatically called if smoke is detected.

    The moment you ask for planning permission is the moment they get to play with redesigning your house. Needless to say, I still have a flat roof letting out all my heat in cold weather, and local tradesmen didn’t get the benefit of my work.

  17. 17 Andrew Duffin 10/04/2012 at 9:29 am

    We’ll end up back in the sort of situation I remember from the 50’s and 60’s, where older people lived in cold houses where the central heating hadn’t worked for years, because they couldn’t afford to use it or repair it, so they just wore a few more jumpers, popped a hot water bottle in the bed, and got on with life.

    If my boiler goes, and they pull this sort of shit – I’ll not be bothering. Fire up the wood-burner and carry on regardless.

    Of course, I suppose these bastards will make wood-burners illegal at some point.

  18. 18 Letmethink 10/04/2012 at 9:36 am

    “In terms of insulating cavity walls we’ve done virtually nothing to date . . . The government should set a clear goal, such as insulating all lofts and all cavities within five years . . .”

    Quote from David Kennedy – chief executive of the Climate Change Committee.

    The CCC is an ‘independent’ body charged, under the CCA, with ‘advising’ the government.

    The CCA and the CCC go beyond EU directives on this.

  19. 19 JohnM 10/04/2012 at 10:59 am

    If you sell the house the 25-year-debt gets passed onto the buyer…
    Try selling that..
    I avoid the wordpress log-on by using another email…

  20. 20 Steve 10/04/2012 at 7:51 pm

    A lot of slick marketing has persuaded people to pay for expensive double glazing despite the poor payback period they get on savings in fuel bills. The cost of loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and draught-proofing is a fraction of the cost of a new set of windows, and the savings in fuel bills are usually greater.

    So if you really think it is *your* choice to fit new windows rather than taking more sensible options then you are probably wrong. You are simply a victim of dodgy marketing.

  21. 21 Trev 10/04/2012 at 10:59 pm

    Not sure I wholy agree.
    Putting in new windows also includes as a byproduct the insulation and draughtproofing around the frames as well as the double glazing, which still has a use in sound and thermal insulation.
    And the cost is not astronomic and certainly not so if you need to replace the windows anyway.

    A significant heat loss in older houses is through the floor. New builds have insulated floors.

    On topic the government over the years have steadily improved building regs to demand greated insulation. People can complain about this extensions malarky but it is all part of the same policy to improve our insulation standards – and frankly our insulation standards need improving.

    ‘green measures’ in the sense of trying to defeat AGM is however daft.

  22. 22 dennisambler 11/04/2012 at 12:29 am

    My walls are solid stone, 22″ thick, so Phil McCaverty won’t get any work from me.

  23. 23 backofanenvelope 11/04/2012 at 11:49 am

    Some years ago we had a second bathroom inserted in the loft space. Because of structural and plumbing changes we employed a surveyor and a structural engineer. A builder and plumber carried out the work, with several checks by the surveyor to see it was all being done properly. On completion they sent the details to the local building control office. THREE YEARS later, an inspector turned up to inspect the work. To carry out the inspection would have meant dismantling the bathroom Luckily he was also a member of the human race. He asked me if I was happy with the bathroom. I was, so he signed off the job and closed his file. A couple of weeks later the bill arrived – £113. How many more such people will have to be employed to carry out this insane plan?

  24. 24 Edward. 12/04/2012 at 12:26 am

    @ backofanenvelope

    […]”A couple of weeks later the bill arrived – £113. How many more such people will have to be employed to carry out this insane plan?”

    Perchance, an ‘infinity’ of bureaucrats?

  25. 25 Steve 12/04/2012 at 1:39 pm

    Examination of paperwork at the office plus a call-out charge and time required to examine a building? Where else would you get a qualified surveyor to do this for under £200? If they are three years behind then that would presumably be because the council don’t pay enough to recruit and retain a sufficient number of experts.

    I suppose small jobs are perhaps (reasonably) given a lower priority? Lets hope the delays do not mean that workmen are persuaded to cut corners and thereby leave home owners with cold, draughty uninsulated rooms.

    Besides insulation though, the key issue (for me) is fire safety and over-development. After a lot of effort a friend of mine has managed to get the council to evict (quite reasonably) multiple occupants from his neighbour’s house on the grounds that building regulations were not followed (people living in garages, septic tanks overflowing etc.)

  26. 26 Edward. 12/04/2012 at 2:45 pm

    @ Steve,

    Er – I think I would baulk at having to pay some jobsworth council surveyor/inspector £113 – if – as intimated in the previous post [backofanenvelope] he/she had already employed [and paid for] a qualified surveyor and structural engineer to oversee the conversion – don’t you think [£113] this is an additional and very unnecessary imposition?

    I do.

  27. 27 Steve 12/04/2012 at 8:16 pm

    Would you baulk in the same way if your neighbour built a monstrosity
    of an extension that over-looked your garden, or moved a family of
    immigrants into their garage? What if you found out that your son or
    daughter had rented a flat that turned out to be a death trap because
    of a lack of appropriate fire protection in the building design or
    materials? Or if you bought a new-build house that turned out to be
    draughty and badly insulated?

    It is unfortunate that one can still be charged if one does the right
    thing. I recently had to pay 200 quid to get an electrician to
    check a house I’d rewired (correctly) and every year I pay a gasman
    more than he is worth to check my tenants’ boiler that has never had a
    problem. But enforcing standards help to maintain a civilised society
    that doesn’t appreciate shanty-style developments and dangerous or
    wasteful housing.

  28. 28 Edward. 13/04/2012 at 12:43 am

    In my time I’ve known one or two people in planning departments, one – very well socially – he told me some stories and professionally I’ve met one or two as well.
    There is a world of difference between sparkies and council building inspectors, electricians are usually the salt of the earth.

    Steve, you sound like the sort of bloke who gets things done and correctly and well done to you.

    You’d better not visit Slough or anywhere in East London, it may drive you to uttering a swear word or two.

    I have a problem with over zealous petty officialdom who are constantly charging ever rising and exhorbitant fees for work they usually are unqualified to correctly assess.
    Rising fees are – a councils’ license to print money – great if you like the micro-manging apparats telling you what to think and what to do and how to say it – we pay their pensions [directly or indirectly] and I’m not sure why we put up with it.

    It’s time for a rethink.

  29. 29 Edward. 13/04/2012 at 12:43 am

    licence damn it.

  30. 30 TomTom 13/04/2012 at 2:43 am

    Cavity Walls did not become a requirement until 1931 having originally been introduced to cope with seaside conditions. Britain has the oldest housing stock in Europe making these policies insane. Older houses use freestanding boilers venting up chimney flues which are unsuited to the experimental combi boilers John Prescott imposed and which are inefficient unless run at high temperature 24/7 with all radiators on and whose acidic waste water destroy the piping

  31. 31 backofanenvelope 13/04/2012 at 11:34 am

    There is another way of tackling this. Which I will call the CARROT plan. I have installed all the practicable insulation; plus central heating including solar panels. I register this with the local authority; they check it out. I then get a 10% reduction in my council tax.

  32. 32 Autonomous Mind 14/04/2012 at 8:22 am

    I turn my back for a short time and along comes Steve with his strawmen that take us completely off the point.

    This issue isn’t about building controls or safety regulations. It’s about forcing people to make changes to their property to satisfy the whims of the state.

    No person in a free society should be compelled to submit for approval a request to replace a boiler or the windows in their house and have that approval conditional upon spending more money to complete works that were out of scope – or instead be forced to take on years of debt to foot the bill, with the only way out being to not do any work on the property to begin with.

    That is the point and nothing you have said addresses it.

  33. 33 Steve 14/04/2012 at 1:30 pm

    Your point was simplistic. I think in the broader context of the already existing building controls it is not as radical a change as you make out. We have a problem with energy supplies and poor quality housing in this country and somehow we have to tackle it so the next generation of oldies can afford to keep warm.

    I’m not quite sure what “strawman” I have built. What I say here is consistent with the advice I gave to my mother – I insulated and draught-proofed her house for her last year and told her not to be taken in by the boiler scrappage scheme and the marketing nonsense about condensing boilers.

  34. 34 Trev 14/04/2012 at 5:46 pm

    Well I would agree about condensing boilers. British gas had an offer on and we got a quote. We went to an independent and he said our boiler was OK and newer ones were only more efficient in the start up cycle and they would probably fail once they had reached their pay back period.

    So we did not bother replacing. When it finally fails we will then be stuck with a new one.

  35. 35 Trev 14/04/2012 at 5:48 pm

    As I said a while back – its the price we pay for having governments which sign treaties and have targets for thigs like energy saving. We have building regs for new houses but existing houses do not help us meet energy targets (we can argue about the targets but thats another issue).

  36. 36 Amounderness Lad 15/04/2012 at 3:11 pm

    The reason behind this piece of Stalinist interferance is DIRECTIVE 2010/31/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
    of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast) which relates to those buildings which are undergoing major renovations.

    Naturally, in their haste to display their EU Fanaticism and their Ultra-Green Credentials the control freaks running the Department for Communities and Local Goverment have decided to interpret the Directive in a completely erroneous manner. How anybody can turn the upgrading of a central heating boiler into a major renovation is beyond belief and, in all reality, neither is the addition of a conservatory, a hate feature created during the days of Prescott and his politics of extreme envy.

    The whole farce should be derided with the ridicule it deserves and hounded out of existence. The only time the idea should be implimented is then buildings are undergoing genuinly major renovations and upgrades and not every slight improvement. At the rate things are going we won’t be allowed to repaint our front doors without some form of government interference and form filling.

  37. 37 tinks 15/04/2012 at 3:34 pm

    Good post. Why am I not surprised. Time and time again our politicians saddle us with unrealistic, unaffordable regulation for the sake of some agenda or short-term political kudos. Why go with a 20% carbon reduction target when 80% is ‘so much better?’

    Yet our political class is swamped with these fools. Whilst the whole scam is unravelling, still they cling on and cripple us with unnecessary and unhelpful regulation.

  38. 38 Letmethink 15/04/2012 at 7:14 pm

    Unfortunately the 80% figure is not a whim on the part of our great ‘leaders’.

    The great and the good have determined the global per capita allowance of CO2 emissions which they believe would be ‘sustainable’. The mathematics are that given the population of the UK we need to reduce (or contract) our emissions by, yes you’ve guessed it, 80%.

    The really unfortunate thing is that we have the only ‘government’ in the old that has a legal obligation to meet these targets.


    Don’t mistake CO2 reduction for carbon reduction otherwise you fall into one of their many little traps . . .

  39. 39 Letmethink 15/04/2012 at 7:15 pm

    That’s “world” not “old”

  40. 40 Paul Homewood 15/04/2012 at 9:14 pm

    Ah but we’ve got to reduce our CO2 to virtually zero, so the Chinese and Indians can build a couple more power stations.

  41. 41 Letmethink 15/04/2012 at 10:45 pm

    Because it’s a per capita target for everyone on the planet and because both China and India have a relatively low per capita baseline, they can increase their absolute total emissions while still converging to a per capita target.

  42. 42 Edward. 16/04/2012 at 12:32 am

    “The really unfortunate thing is that we have the only ‘government’ in the old that has a legal obligation to meet these targets.”

    But the people didn’t sign up – ergo how can any ‘obligation’ be legal – “thems just words my preciousssssssssss”!

    Legal obligation, we went to war in Iraq without any legal obligation – that was OK.

  43. 43 Letmethink 16/04/2012 at 7:05 am

    The Climate Change Act is an act of parliament. The 80% reduction is defined in the CCA. Ergo . . .

  44. 44 backofanenvelope 16/04/2012 at 7:15 am

    No parliament can bind its successors. Just repeal the relevant acts.

  45. 45 Letmethink 16/04/2012 at 7:29 am

    Oh yeah, never thought of that – happens all the time.

  46. 46 John 20/04/2012 at 7:31 am

    If the acts are in response to EU directives, then then they are not going to be repealed. EU directives have to be incorporated into member states law.
    Every parliament is bound by the EU.

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