Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bye Bye Bailiffs

Well, the bill has left the Lords and I feel disappointed. We've not secured proper regulation (though we have a promise of it), and we've allowed a couple of illiberal nasties to remain - automatic breaking and entering for criminal fines, and a licence for bailiffs to use force against debtors.

Well, I doubt that it would have been better if we'd been in government. The minister (Lady Ashton of Upholland) is as good as you get, but little things like this get lost in the machinery until there's a real disaster - at which point it gets proper attention.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again!

I was wondering if this blog was going to be another deadend politico website. But is seems not to be; Broavo! Keep up the good work.

I was wondering if you could prehaps share some of the too-ings and frow-ings of the debate about this. I know its a matter of public record but maybe you would be interested in putting foward the debte from a personal point of view.


10:55 pm  
Blogger Ralph Lucas said...

I wish I could in an interesting way. You really need someone who is on the inside of government to let us all know what the discussions have been, and why we have ended up where we are.

Reluctance, perhaps, from the Treasury? They seem to be getting very tight on finance at the moment, and I suspect they had just put a general veto on anything which might involve spending money. Something in the DCA that discourages them from starting their own regulator -- not that I have a clue what that could be. All the way through I have felt remote from what is actually going on, except perhaps that I have a feeling that the promises made in the White Paper and earlier had been dropped, and it is only because of pressure from us and others that they had been revived, and that there was not really a structure or a momentum within the DCA to allow them to take the initiative.

It is clear that things had to be done carefully, though. The government are not going to do anything which might disturb the flow of revenue, but it is obvious from the 40 per cent net margins earned by some bailiff companies that the abuse is enormously widespread; it will take some while to wean them, and I suspect therefore that the DCA would like to see a gradual process rather than something precipitate. Lots of pain, but nobody drowned, so no imperative for immediate action.

8:30 pm  

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