Individuals found guilty now face a maximum of 10 years in prison, and the punishment for businesses is an unlimited fine. The Act replaces the UK’s existing, assorted “out of date” legislation and will bring the UK’s rules in line with international anti-corruption regulations.
The Planning Advisory Service, designed to provide advice to local authoriy planning departments, states in their Blog dated 24th Aug 2011 entitled “Wake up to planning”, has this to say:
Incentives – where there is development, there could be money for infrastructure. Have you developed your approach to spending the Community Infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus? Be mindful of how these incentives are perceived by the community. Some will see them as bribes.Alongside the Affordable Housing Programme the Government has already made £200million payments to councils through the New Homes Bonus, which matches the council tax raised on new properties for six years – with extra funding for new affordable homes. Further funding is due to be announced shortly.
We also have both Broadland District and Norfolk County councils publicly stating that they will be freezing any rises in council tax for the next two years. In fact BDC made this promise last year before the elections in May this year. How can councils afford to freeze direct taxes whilst cutting frontline services?
Could it be that they are relying on the additional income from the Community Infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus? So perhaps one of the objectives of building thousands of new homes that may not be needed or ever sold is to replenish the coffers of the councils so they can afford to freeze the council tax thereby enhancing their reputations and then being re-elected as happened in Broadland?
Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group. When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations.
So does Localism and the Big Society boil down to bribery and gerrymandering or are these incentives to kick start the economy? I will leave it to you to decide. Whatever you think the new National Planning Policy Framework, which streamlines national policy from over 1,000 pages to just 52 pages of policy – making it simpler to understand for developers, councils and the public alike, will protect us all will it not!!!