wow, the new freedom of dictatorship spreads across the pond...congratulations!
UK Government quietly announces power to seize private property, uses World cup as distractionWales on Sunday | June 18 2006
THE Government was accused yesterday of using the World Cup to 'bury bad news' over measures to seize empty homes.
The Tories claimed the powers would be used to commandeer the homes of the deceased, and that ministers had sneaked out the announcement while the nation's eyes were on the football finals in Germany.
But the Department for Communities and Local Government described both allegations as 'nonsense', stressing the legislation had been passed in 2004.
A spokesman also denied the powers, to be granted to local authorities next month, would be used to seize homes inherited by relatives.
Shadow housing and planning minister Michael Gove said: 'Homeowners will be alarmed at John Prescott's parting gift of new state powers to confiscate people's homes for up to seven years, with little compensation for the owner.
'Given the controversy over Prescott's three homes, Labour's spin machine has scored an own goal by using the World Cup to bury their bad news.
'There is a case for action to put boarded-up and blighted properties back into use and councils need to reduce their empty housing stock.
'But these heavy-handed powers allow bureaucrats to seize private homes in perfect condition just because they have been empty for a short while.
'Seizing homes of the recently deceased is particularly disturbing.
'I doubt that state officials will always recognise the delays that can result from complex wills or appreciate the traumatic ordeal that families face with the task of clearing a home of personal possessions.
'I fear this is a stealthy new form of inheritance tax by the Labour Government.'
But the DCLG said that the powers would only be used where there was no intention of bringing the property back into use. This would be decided by a tribunal, a spokesman added.