The recent introduction of the Probate Registry fee increase has prompted much critical comment. The new fee structure is widely regarded as a disguised tax. The Government accept that the fees will bring in far more than the cost of running the Probate Registries.
A generation ago, a similar proposal met blunt resistance in Whitehall. Officials would not countenance the idea of raising revenue in this way; it was legitimate to charge fees for a Government service to cover its cost, but not to raise additional public revenue.
Governments of all persuasions seem no longer to value simplicity or honesty. A simple structure has been replaced by a complex structure, and the results of a public consultation have been ignored. The announcement was put out the day after the recent bye elections in an effort to minimize news coverage.
It has been widely reported that the Brexit vote was a protest against the way the country was run. This little probate saga is a sign that nothing is going to change.
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