November 29, 2010
Local Governments play a crucial role in the functioning of the country. They allow the central Westminster Government to devolve some of their power to them, so as local areas can be managed efficiently by those with a good awareness of the locality. It would be highly unsatisfactory if a central ‘one for all scheme’ were operated as it would be far harder logistically to implement whilst paying special attention to the areas in would control, however to do this without some regulation from central Government could cause its own problems such as rules and regulations being enforced differently in different regions and chaos would ensue. Consequently it has been attempted to achieve a balance between these considerations. The Local Government Act 2000 highlights the point that local Governments may not act beyond their powers.
Local Governments have been provided with the responsibility of the facilitation of local services, such as rubbish collection and important powers with relation to town planning and development, for example the granting of planning permission.
The financing of the Local Governments, and consequently the amount they have available to spend on improving and maintaining your area, comes from a variety of sources such as Council Tax, Business Rates, Fines (such as parking) and Central Government funding. Consequently the amount of money a local Government may have will depend on a number of factors such as its population and the businesses operating in the area. It is ultimately the people within the locality that pay for its upkeep which is much fairer then some also subsidising other, more densely populated areas which could more readily occur with a totally centralised system. Although some may not agree with where their money is being spent it is essential to have such a system in place which is fair in relation to the rest of the community – there is no discrimination. If people perceive a great unfairness in the way they are charged then this can lead to great problems as evidenced by the Poll Tax Riots, which in itself places a strong obligation on fairness and efficiency. Even those who feel their money is being inappropriately spent surely cannot believe that without Local Government it would be spent more wisely, it would surely lead to greater dissatisfaction and inefficiency.
Local Governments, like Westminster are democratically elected. There are a wealth of laws relating to how elections in the UK operate which stipulate matters such as who is eligible to vote.
Although it is arguable how efficiently the local authorities themselves operate it seems indisputable that the devolution of power should lead to a more efficient Country and all the benefits that come with it.
November 26, 2010
For a long time now horses have proved to be very versatile animals. Cherished by many they are used for leisure, transportation, racing and other sports, working and kept as pets. Many of these activities are potentially exceedingly very lucrative and without healthy, able horses would be impractical. They are also dangerous and injuries to humans, property and expensive horses can result.
In horseracing top trainers earn millions per year and racehorses can sell for hundreds of thousands. It is quite understandable, with such large amounts of money, love and devotion involved that when something goes wrong that legal redress may need to be sought.
Generally equine law is governed by the laws applicable to contract and negligence. For example suppose a prize racehorse is entered to an event which was prohibited by contract and that horse suffered an injury, that that injury was then negligently treated by a vet which led to the horse having to be put down. Under contract and negligence it may be possible to claim damages, for either or both the breach of contract and the negligent treatment. In the high pressured environment many horses work in it is inevitable that injuries may occur with the horses being pushed to the limit. There are also some specialist statutes governing this area.
It is a very precise specialist area of law and should any claim be sought, utilising these specialists in this niece market is essential. Equine law can range greatly and encompasses a diverse range of areas. From personal injury suffered by humans when involved in horse related activities to multimillion pound commercial disputes. With all kinds of things in between such as liability under the Animals Act 1971 for damages caused by ones horses, health and safety compliances and veterinary negligence. Whatever your interest in horses it may be that at some point you will require such specialist advice and particularly if you are keeping horses or running a business relating to them you should familiarise yourself with the legal obligations involved with your operations.
November 23, 2010
When the IRS comes knocking on your door and you can feel that you are in trouble, immediately hire an experienced Washington, DC tax attorney. Aside from dealing with IRS disputes, your tax lawyer can also help you with:
• Internal Revenue Service disputes, back taxes, penalty fees and interest
• Income tax and small business withholding collections
• Employment taxes, as well as sales and use tax
• Offers in compromise
• Various liens and levies
• Misleading spouse claims
When you are in need of a tax attorney you should not just call the first one you find in the yellow pages. Instead, do a little research. By thoroughly investigating your options, you should be able to find the best possible tax lawyer in your area.
Start by talking to friends and relatives who once used a tax attorney. Ask them for feedback. Would they recommend this lawyer to you, providing you are in the same predicament as they were? Each lawyer has its specialties.
Once you have settled on a specific attorney, check his qualifications. Call the State and American Bar Association to ensure that he is indeed listed with them. In addition, check the Better Business Bureau, as well as online consumer reviews. Many people will post their experiences with legal counselors. Although these reviews can be helpful, never base your opinion on one single statement. That would not be objective.
Request a consultation. During the meeting ask the Washington, DC tax attorney as many case-related questions as possible. You will soon notice if your tax lawyer is competent, or not.
November 20, 2010
Construction is a massive sector which has boomed over the past few decades. All sorts of developments have been undertaken from minor restorations through to building small houses and constructing massive shopping centres and stadiums. For many of these projects subcontracting plays a major part in their completion. The Construction Industry Scheme provides the regulations contractors must adhere to in relation to paying their subcontractors.
The scheme mainly applies to those in the construction industry although it can also apply to other organisations whose main focus is on other fields, if they still spend a significant amount on construction (on average £1million or more over a three year period). Under the scheme those in the construction industry who are contractors or subcontractors may have to register with HMRC. The definition of contractors and subcontractors is extremely broad in this sense.
Many types of businesses are covered from self-employed sole traders right through to major corporations. Less mainstream construction such as property developments are also covered. If your organisation operates outside of the UK but still operates in the UK then CIS will still apply. The definition of Construction operations is also very broad, from temporary works, simple DIY like decorating right through to major construction.
As briefly evidenced CIS can apply to a wide range of individuals. It is surprising to many that strict regulations such as these can apply to such small businesses. For example if you are an independent builder and you occasionally subcontract small amounts of work you could be required to comply with the scheme.
If you think CIS could apply to you it is important to get to grips with your responsibilities under it including: making payments and being paid; keeping monthly financial records and what business changes you need to report. Make sure you are aware of and fulfil your responsibilities, whether you are a small or large business, a contractor or a subcontractor.
November 17, 2010
Insurance Guarantee Schemes (IGS) afford an insurance policy holder with emergency protection should an insurer be unable to perform their contractual obligations. Only a few of the 27 member states that make up the union currently have such a scheme in place. In present economic times, with fears of companies becoming insolvent, such protection has probably never been more warranted. The European Union has been investigating how best to protect individuals insurance policies.
It makes sense that an individual who has paid an often substantial premium should have good protection. People usually purchase premiums either out of necessity or for added peace of mind, certainty and stability, if the policy is not guaranteed then the benefits for purchasers are perhaps not sufficiently protected.
Since 1994 guarantee schemes have been in place in banking and security sectors and in 2001 the Commission began assessing extending guarantee schemes to cover insurance. The Commission is concerned that lack of community wide harmonisation in this area could cause the sector many problems, ultimately risking the market stability of the insurance sector. Without this trust and stability in marketplaces economic recovery will be much harder. The introduction of such schemes can increase consumer faith leading to higher levels of spending which in turn could revitalise a struggling economic community. It consequentially makes great sense for the European Commission to attempt harmonisation in this area.
To achieve this, the Commission have made suggestions published in the White Paper on
Insurance Guarantee Schemes. Their preferred option is essentially to issue a Directive setting out minimum standards member states must meet with relation to IGS. By issuing a Directive it will however provide them member states with the autonomy to decide the most suitable method of them achieving the minimum standards. In the paper the Commission invited all relevant parties to convey their views on the proposal by November 2010. Consequentially the Commission should now be in a position to evaluate these and perhaps be in a position to pass a Directive in the not too distant future. Let’s hope any IGS system introduced does not encourage insurers to take riskier decisions when deciding who to grant policies and at what price. Surely we do not want a repeat of the banking bailout. It is therefore logical that any Directive passed should clearly ensure that its benefits are purely conveyed on the consumer, rather than providing insurance companies with an opportunity to take greater risks.