Posted on 12:01pm Wednesday 15th April 2015
In their manifesto launched this week, the Conservatives have promised to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million for married couples and civil partners, but this headline may not be quite as generous as it seems.
Posted on 1:54pm Thursday 2nd April 2015
It wasn’t pure paternalism that persuaded the colonial government to bless Hong Kong with cheap social housing. It was business-friendly. Property developers benefited (nice for them). Also, when people have somewhere to live, they can work, and if the housing is reasonably priced, they can work for less! Yay.
Posted on 12:08pm Friday 27th March 2015
The interesting irony is that just up the road from North Finchley, Whetstone High Street - subject to the same pressures and useless local council as North Finchley - has been declared the healthiest high street in London!
Posted on 7:06pm Saturday 21st March 2015
The biggest change to Adult Social Care in over 60 years takes effect next month. From April, the Care Act 2015 will introduce important changes to the way social care services are delivered. It aims to bring together existing legislation and duties into a single law which will focus on putting people at the heart of the social care system
Posted on 2:49pm Thursday 19th March 2015
One of the less noticed announcements in George Osborne’s pre-election budget was a review of the use of Deeds of Variation. Not the most well-known of topics - but these have, for many years, been an important weapon in the armoury of solicitors specialising in saving people inheritance tax. They are used to amend the terms of a Will, or intestacy, after a person has died. (Not just for tax purposes I might add - they are also used to ensure estates pass as families’ wish where there is no will or where circumstances have changed). Sounds incredible? Well, yes it does, but it is perfectly legal and, in certain circumstances, can save a huge amount of money.
‘Resign! Resign! Resign!’ Residents at the doors of the Council chamber at Tuesday’s council meeting
Posted on 11:50am Wednesday 4th March 2015
Residents forced open the doors to the Council chamber to demand the resignation of Mayor Hugh Rayner after he changed one of his many tie-breaking votes at the council meeting at Hendon Town Hall on Tuesday night, 3 March.
Posted on 8:48pm Sunday 8th February 2015
Last Thursday evening I had the great pleasure of sitting on the judging panel of the Barnet Regional Final of the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge. I found the experience to be mesmerising, inspirational and a timely reminder as to why we should nurture and value our youth as the ambassadors of the ”Better Tomorrow” that we all so frequently advocate and dream about.
Posted on 10:59am Thursday 29th January 2015
A while ago we drew up wills for a company director who worked just outside London, and he was amazed to discover how much inheritance tax his wife would have to pay if he died without making the appropriate provisions in his will.
Posted on 7:20am Saturday 24th January 2015
I was fined for parking on a single yellow line while I dropped my daughter at a class - and the traffic warden told me to drive away!
Posted on 11:53am Wednesday 14th January 2015
As he celebrates his firm’s Silver Jubilee year, Barnet based solicitor Michael Anvoner will be sharing 25 years of experience and specialist expertise in Private Client Law with the local community, and bringing peace of mind to you and your family.
Posted on 3:53pm Monday 22nd December 2014
By now you probably know that all three of the council’s options for the future of Barnet’s library service actually promise no future. Shrinking libraries to 540 sq. ft leaves them unable to provide the range of services, as well as the range of stock, that we need as individuals and as a community. How, then, can Barnet’s Conservative councillors promote these proposals?
Posted on 7:19pm Sunday 14th December 2014
I went to a few library drop-in consultations. No one attending while I was there liked any of the options. No surprise: all three of the council’s options threaten the destruction of the library service as we know it. And there’s the point: as we know it. The options have been drawn up by council officers concerned only with figures – an amount to be saved, staff costs and square footage, primarily. They’ve simply played with numbers. It doesn’t seem likely that they have visited all – or many or even any – of the libraries or they would realize that the libraries are different shapes and can’t simply all be reduced to 540 sq ft and leave a space large enough for a library to fulfil its functions and a usable space for a commercial enterprise – even if they could find any business wanting to rent it rather than any of the other empty business properties available.
Posted on 6:10pm Sunday 23rd November 2014
The council’s library consultation document tells you the three options for effectively destroying Barnet’s once-acclaimed library service. And the Tory majority (by one seat) on the council wants you to choose one of these options so that they can escape responsibility for this destruction by claiming they did only what you wanted. It’s all your fault.
Posted on 12:11am Monday 10th November 2014
You don’t need to have special psychic powers to predict the votes in committee and full council meetings without listening to the discussion – indeed, without even being present –because they almost always follow strict party lines. Now that the Conservatives have only a one-seat majority over the combined opposition it is vital for all Tory councillors to attend every council meeting to avoid losing a vote.
Posted on 12:21am Thursday 30th October 2014
On Tuesday night Cllr Brian Salinger used his right as a councillor to speak at the meeting of the Children’s, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding (or is it Sell-out?) Committee, a committee on which he doesn’t sit. He held the attention of everyone in the room, seated well back in his chair at the table, his voice booming to all corners seemingly without the aid of the dreadful Town Hall microphones, his clarity of reasoning as evident as his passion for the cause he was espousing: funding for Moss Hall Nursery.
Posted on 10:14pm Friday 17th October 2014
The meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee (P&RC) meeting on 14 October has been well reported, and Claer Lloyd-Jones’ reports into mistakes in governance in Barnet have been extensively quoted and made available online. Now everyone should know that there are no lawyers in Barnet [Council] and ‘no one who understands local government law in depth’, and that Maryellen Salter, Barnet’s Monitoring Officer and Head of Governance until last week, has no legal qualifications. So far, so bad.
Posted on 12:00am Tuesday 14th October 2014
After many years of deep soul searching and various life experiences, I finally discovered a pathway to becoming the very best version of myself. It is now my pleasure to share some of these very simple tips with you in the hope that they will help you to establish for yourself a pathway to becoming the very best version of YOU!
Posted on 5:33pm Saturday 11th October 2014
Commenting on my previous article, Friern Owl wrote ‘political opponents in the wider public … often go to council meetings intending to confront councillors, including preparing supplementary questions which are carefully designed to trip up the councillors’. That’s an opinion. So here are some facts to help put it in perspective.
Posted on 7:04pm Sunday 5th October 2014
Last month it was revealed that the working groups of Council committees are meeting in secret to discuss how to achieve budget cuts. There was protest from the Labour councillors and others, all of whom want these discussions to be open and transparent. Of course, you say, of course we should know what cuts are being proposed. Cllr Richard Cornelius, on the other hand, is worried that transparency will interfere with efficiency. Defending the restrictions, he said ‘You have to be able to … ask questions that may or may not make you look stupid.'
Posted on 2:33pm Friday 10th October 2014
Barnet parking didn't send their usual reminder to renew residents' parking permits, so both mine and my husband's lapsed unbeknown to us. Yesterday we found my car issued with a parking penalty.
Posted on 2:25pm Saturday 30th August 2014
Our MP, Theresa Villiers, knows it’s true. She’s called it “a once in a lifetime opportunity” (you can see her letter on my personal blog). She’s right – it’s a once-and-for-all power grab by the corporations, being negotiated by civil servants behind closed doors in the context of international law that is not used to being handled in the open, unlike treaties that are negotiated by politicians and diplomats in the public eye.
Posted on 1:10pm Tuesday 15th July 2014
Traffic wardens are allowed to break the rules if they are looking for people to ticket, it has emerged.
Posted on 12:10pm Saturday 5th July 2014
I was fined for parking in the Saracens event day zone, but didn't realise it was an event day.
Posted on 11:22am Wednesday 25th June 2014
“Mob handed” bailiffs clamped a 77-year-old’s car and demanded she fork out hundreds of pounds over claims she failed to pay a parking ticket.
Posted on 11:50am Monday 26th May 2014
I was sitting in my car when a traffic warden popped up from nowhere and took a photo of the tax disc - is this allowed?
Posted on 7:40am Saturday 17th May 2014
The road I parked in has no restrictions on parking but when I returned I found a parking ticket from Barnet Borough Council on my car claiming “27 Parked in a special enforcement area adjacent to a dropped footway”.
Posted on 10:10am Saturday 26th April 2014
'I couldn't move my car due to a migraine - then traffic wardens gave me three parking tickets in a little over 24 hours'
Posted on 2:20pm Thursday 17th April 2014
Many residents have commented on the large number of blue badges they have seen on cars in our high streets and their doubts whether all of these are being used legitimately.
Posted on 3:40pm Tuesday 1st April 2014
An audiologist came to fit Grandma’s new hearing aids. Grandma, 88, lives in Finchley, N2, and residents' parking is all day. So she gave the audiologist one of the old half-day permits.
Posted on 3:20pm Thursday 27th March 2014
The problem I have concerns my father’s "blue badge" parking. He parks with the badge on display in a designated bay in front of his home in Holly Drive, Potters Bar and received a fine when he forgot to replace the badge after a shopping trip.
Posted on 6:40pm Tuesday 18th March 2014
Times Series chief reporter Chris Hewett is training to become a British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) diver.
Posted on 3:55pm Monday 17th March 2014
I recently used two one-hour parking vouchers so that I could park for two hours in North Finchley. I scratched off the correct boxes and put the vouchers side-by-side but still got a parking ticket.
Posted on 4:50pm Tuesday 11th February 2014
An election campaigner often resembles a postperson. Plenty of fresh air and exercise – a good career, no doubt, except for Barnet's post boxes. Yes, I'm about to complain about my potential constituents' front doors.
Posted on 10:48am Monday 27th January 2014
Look up at one end of the public swimming pool in Potters Bar on a Tuesday evening and you’re likely to be greeted by an unusual sight: up to a dozen people floating with air cylinders on their backs, gliding around in the water wearing fins on their feet.