Council Tax Benefit Cut – anti-poverty campaigner’s solidarity stance
April 30, 2013
This is a statement from Paul Nicholson from Taxpayers Against Poverty:
I am refusing to pay my council tax in support of the many people in the uk suffering under the catastrophic and very unfair benefit cuts and caps, who are also charged a council tax they cannot pay.
This is a personal decision for which I am entirely responsible; it is taken without the prior knowledge of the Church of England or of the NGOs with which I am associated.
My council tax is £1332 for 2013/14 for Band C. I receive 25% reduction for single occupancy of £330.52 reducing it to £991.54, which I can afford. I have paid one instalment of council tax of £100 on the 1st April and cancelled my direct debit for £99 a month from the 1st May. I have one spare bedroom but I am not liable for the bedroom tax.
I am willing to pay the relevant increase to Band C of the average of £4 a week on Band D which would keep the 100% council tax benefit for 26,000 benefit claimants, but Haringey councillors have not provided that option.
In the Borough of Haringey, where I live, there are 26,000 people receiving benefits who have not paid council tax before, to whom demands for 20% of it been delivered by the council.
Many cannot pay it.
Prices of food, fuel, clothes,transport and other necessities are escalating but the benefit incomes, which are expected to pay the tax, have been cut by moving the uprating from the RPI to the slower rising CPI, and will be cut further by the 1% freeze in increases for the next three years.
Before the cuts the single adult unemployment benefit now £71.60 a week was half the government’s poverty threshold and 42% of the Rowntree minimum income standard; children’s benefits, also reducing in value, are added to it.
Haringey council will enforce the tax against a majority of claimants who cannot pay it. They will be forced to go without food, fuel, clothing and other essential expenditure.
The council will apply to the magistrates for a liability order adding £70 to the tenants arrears and then send in the bailiffs adding up to or over £400.
The bailiff has no right to break in so doors should be kept shut.
People who definitely cannot pay will also be threatened with prison and bankruptcy
Some are struggling with rent arrears due to the bedroom tax, the housing benefit cap and the £500 overall benefit cap.
Inevitable trips to food banks will add to the malnutrition of women before and during pregnancy; so adding to the risk of low birth weight and the life time mental and physical illness of their babies; some food banks cannot keep up with demand.
The social fund has been abolished and the councils cannot cope with the growing demand for urgent help.
Mentally and physically disabled people have had their benefits cut because they have been wrongly described as fit for work by ATOS.
700,000 people in the UK have had their benefits stopped for two weeks to six months by a sanction.
Joseph Rowntree researchers have found no evidence of a ‘culture of worklessness. “Families remained committed to the value of work and would have preferred to be in jobs rather than have ‘the miserable existence’ of a life on benefits”; and yet this government decides it necessary to starve people into work.
Refusal to pay the council tax is not a crime.
It will be said that by not paying my tax I am are making it more difficult for the council to pay the benefits; I am paying income tax and VAT, but that should be said to;
A government that cuts the top rate of tax by 5%
The traitors to the British people who avoid taxes by parking their cash in tax free overseas accounts,
Amazon, Google and all the other international companies with no sense of loyalty to the people of any nation who avoid paying billions in taxes to all nations.
UK governments who for over thirty years have failed to provide a policy for affordable housing of all tenures.
The property speculators who flee their own dodgy economies to buy homes in a UK market in short supply and leave them empty; forcing rents above the caps.
Local authorities who do nothing to reduce the cost to the NHS alone of £600m pa due to the illnesses contracted by people living in substandard housing, and which to “society as a whole” is almost three times as much, (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health estimate). There are fully justified fears that benefit cuts and the debts they create could worsen mental and physical health.
To landlords, landowners and property speculators whose wealth increases in tax free billions simply because they own land; such as the Duke of Westminster..
And above all to the extreme free market addicts in government who see the unmanageable debt, misery, illness, hunger, fuel poverty and homelessness created by the government’s austerity policy as acceptable collateral damage on the journey to a free market heaven that will never be reached.
Tags: debt / welfare benefits