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Monday, December 22, 2008 

Paying your debts.

This is an incredibly late April Fool, surely:

The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.

Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts, says the new powers would be overseen by a robust industry watchdog. However, the laws are being criticised as the latest erosion of the rights of the householder in his own home.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts. I can think of a few individuals and companies which have been known to evade their debts, or as they are sometimes also known, taxes. How about sending the bailiffs after the likes of that fat greasy fucker Philip Green, who paid his wife £1bn into a Monaco account to avoid having to hand over any of his quite legitimately owned moolah? Why don't we hire the goons when Rupert Murdoch is next in town to loot his office, all the while pinning him down so tightly that he can't breathe?

Or perhaps we could set them on probably the biggest debtor in the country, or as he's otherwise known, the prime minister. I can just imagine the burly bastards shoulder charging Number 10's door, gathering all the Brown's belongings, including his children's toys, and putting them outside while the heavens open, Brown unfortunately being winded after getting obstreperous and asking them whether they know he is and then pleading with them that he will eventually be paying back that £645bn, honest. Fair is fair, after all.

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I especially like the bit in the times article where the heavies are advised not to knock holes into the walls of peoples houses to get at the poor bastards x-boxes and toasters and such, just kick the door in. I imagine this pearl of wisdom forms a major part of this intensive training the bailiffs will be getting, alongside how to put folk into a sleeper hold. If it wasn't so awful I'd never stop laughing.

If this was used against people who could pay in cash but refuse to, it is arguably a good idea. But used against people who are unable to pay it is sheer evil.

This is because the average contents of a person's house will etch about £300 at auction. This will barely cover the costs of the bailiffs. Its only possible use is as a deterrent against non-payment, so if the person cannot pay, what's the point?

IMO it would be easier to just say if someone demonstrably can pay a court judgment, but refuses, it's contempt of court. There is a particular problem with employment tribunal awards going unpaid, as payment is currently more or less optional due to the lack of bailiff powers.

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