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Friday, 24 October 2014

Supreme Court decision on LB Haringey's Council Tax consultation — 29 October decision date

Rev Paul Nicolson 
07961177889 - 02083765455


This case was kicked off by a telephone call to lawyers from The Rev Paul Nicolson, a resident of Haringey, on behalf of Taxpayers Against Poverty. I was concerned that one of the alternatives to the draft council tax reduction scheme, about which the 2012 consultation took place, did not include was the option of increasing the average band D by 86 pence a week which would have kept the 100% benefit for low income households in work and unemployment. 

We now have the unfair 20% of council tax on benefits, which takes away with one hand what has been given with the other, on top of the 1% freeze, the bedroom tax, rent due to cuts in housing benefit, increasing rents and the escalating prices of food and domestic fuel. 

On top of that  imposition on the lowest incomes in the borough the Magistrates imposed £125 costs on 27,882 households in 2013/14, the first year benefits were taxed. The bailiffs then add to the impossible debts a minimum of £75 and another £235 for a visit. 

Those £125 costs are now subject to judicial review in Nicolson v Tottenham Magistrates & Haringey Council. The High Court leave was given on the 7th October. 

NB. the council tax reduction scheme (CTRS) devised by local authorities replaced the council tax benefit (CTB) administered by central government in the Local Government Finance Act 2012. 

In Haringey 20% of council tax was imposed on benefit claimants in work and unemployment from April 2013.  
Article from Local Government Lawyer
Supreme Court to hand down key ruling next week on consultations
Thursday, 23 October 2014 14:07
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down next week (29 October) a key ruling on the proper approach to consultations.
The case of R (on the application of Moseley (in substitution of Stirling) v London Borough of Haringey specifically considered consultations conducted under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 in respect of proposed ‘council tax reduction schemes. These schemes were introduced to replace council tax benefit.
The appeal considered whether a fair consultation required that consultees be informed not just of the proposals of the local authority, but also of the reasons for the proposals.
It also considered whether consultees should be given sufficient information to enable them to critically examine the thinking that led to the proposals.
The case arose out of Haringey’s consultation upon its council tax reduction scheme. The Government subsequently announced a Transitional Grant Scheme (TGS) but the authority adopted its council tax reduction scheme without re-consultation.
Haringey argued that the Transitional Grant Scheme did not affect the draft scheme.
The local authority won in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in February 2013.
Before the Supreme Court, the appellant argued that the consultation process was unfair and unlawful because:
  • Consultees had not been provided with sufficient information to understand that there were alternatives to the draft scheme; and
  • Haringey should have re-consulted when the Transitional Grant Scheme was announced.
A five-justice panel of the Supreme Court – comprising Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson and Lord Reed – heard the case on 19 June.


Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road, 
London N17 0BF
0208 3765455
07961 177889
also at www.z2k.org 

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