Friday, February 06, 2009

Ask a stupid question

This morning Shelagh Fogarty on radio Five Live spoke to the Ramblers Association about how the recent snow has got people out walking. They asked for the Ramblers recommendation for going out in the cold. Sensing it was a dumb question she made a light hearted comment about listeners complaining about being told the bleeding obvious. Her suspicions were proved correct moments later when the Ramblers recommended wearing gloves.

I had similar feelings this afternoon when I read the government’s new research the Application of Discretionary Council Tax Powers for Empty Homes This is the product of a concession the government made to us in the 2007 pre budget report after we had asked why half the councils in the country were still paying council tax discounts to owners of empty homes despite being given the power to remove them. Was it worth the wait? Well here is the sole recommendation:

“Because of limitations to the data and the small scale of the study, a more substantial research study would be required to estimate the precise effects of the decision to retain, reduce or remove the LTE (LTE stands for long term empty home by the way) discount on owner behaviour and how these effects could vary according to circumstances.”

Well in our present empty homes crisis - that’ll help won’t it! Apart from that there is some nicely presented maps and data and lots of explanations as to why properties might be empty and what councils can do about it. Thank you very much. I can hardly wait for the government’s response, next time I think I’ll ask the Ramblers instead.

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