Revd Paul Nicolson's own legal dispute is with LB Haringey — the borough in which he resides — whereas the heartland of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is in the Kilburn wards of LB Brent and LB Camden. We believe that what he says about how the Council Tax is levied where he lives can also be said about other London boroughs including Brent and Camden, and so the KUWG banner will be at that demonstration along with KUWG members.
Interactive 'how to get there' details available from Transport for London 'Plan a Journey' website at https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/ and Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=533569&y=190573&z=0&sv=N17+6RT&st=2&pc=N17+6RT&mapp=map.srf&searchp=ids.srf
Below is the Revd Paul Nicolson's media notice explaining his position.
For immediate release
Rev Paul Nicolson
Rev Paul Nicolson in Tottenham Magistrates Court, Lordship Lane, London N17 6RT at 10am Wednesday 15th June 2016
I have been summoned to the court because I have refused to pay my council tax.
This is a liability order hearing, after which the Magistrates will have the option to summon me back to a committal hearing at a later date. That is when they can decide whether or not to send me to prison.
I am claiming that the council tax liability order court costs of £115 awarded by Tottenham Magistrates in bulk to Haringey Council against each late and non paying Haringey resident, some times 1000s at a time, are unlawful. The costs were agreed by the Magistrates on the 12th August 2015.
The background has been brilliantly written up this month by Amelia Gentleman in The Guardian, Joe Watts in the London Evening Standard and
by Richard Jinman in The I, and in 2013 by Ros Wynne Jones in The Mirror.(1)(2)
I am particularly indignant about the cumulative impacts of cuts, caps and council tax, on the mental and physical health of the poorest Haringey residents, which have never been assessed by national or local government.
I am making a principled stand because;
- Haringey Council should never have taxed the benefits decided by the DWP with council tax. Since April 2013 the DWP's benefits have being shredded by rent payments due to the three cuts in housing benefit by central government disguised as "the benefit cap" and "removal of the spare room supplement" (bedroom tax) and "the local housing allowance"; DWP's benefits are also stopped altogether in the jobcenters by the benefit sanction leaving unpayable the inevitable rent arrears, council tax arrears, court costs and bailiffs fees, and other debts. I am particularly indignant about the cumulative impacts of cuts, caps and council tax on the mental and physical health of the poorest Haringey residents which have never been assessed by national or local government.
- I am claiming the £115 is unlawful because Haringey Council, their auditors Grant Thornton and Tottenham Magistrates, when deciding the level of council tax court costs at £115, failed to take into account the guidance about vulnerable circumstances, produced by MOJ and endorsed by the DCLG. The MOJ lists potentially vulnerable circumstances as "The elderly; • residents with a disability the seriously ill; • the recently bereaved; single parent families; • pregnant women; unemployed residents; • those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.”. The Tottenham Magistrates, blind to these vulnerable situations, allow Haringey Council their liability orders, in bulk sometimes 1000s at a time adding the costs to the arrears.
THIS IS THE TEXT OF WHAT I WILL SAY TO THE MAGISTRATES ON THE 15TH JUNE 2016
The Tottenham Magistrates sign Haringey Council’s print outs of many names and “hey presto” 1000s of council tax liability orders and £115 costs are dumped blind, in bulk on the late paying residents including;
elderly; • residents with a disability; The
the seriously ill; • the recently bereaved;
single parent families; • pregnant women;
• those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.”
I am particularly indignant about the cumulative impacts of cuts, caps and council tax on the mental and physical health of the poorest Haringey residents which have never been assessed by national and local government. (3) (4)
"You might also consider asking the local GPs and NHS by how much their costs have increased due to the increasing impact of debt on the health of residents since their benefits were taxed in April 2013. See Royal College of Psychiatrists and The Faculty of Public Health. (5) (6)The council now has responsibility for public health and that means prevention of the costs to the taxpayer of ill health that accrue from the tax and its draconian enforcement."
“If a liability order is granted the council will be able to take one or more of the following actions: Instruct bailiffs to take your goods to settle your debt - this can include your car. You will be liable to pay the bailiffs costs which could substantially increase the debt. Instruct your employer to deduct payments from your salary or wages. Deduct money straight from your jobseekers allowance or income support. Make you bankrupt. Make a charging order against your home. Have you committed to prison”.
Guidance to local councils on good practice in the collection of Council Tax arrears” ,which supports vulnerable people seven times and, “ should be seen alongside a range of existing good practice, including that set out in the original council tax codes of practice and the National Standards for Enforcement Agents” produced by the MOJ "In particular this (DCLG) guidance deals with the kinds of help and support that Local Authorities should be giving to vulnerable people, both in the run up to enforcement activity taking place and afterwards.(10)
The MOJ guidance in The National Standards for Enforcement Agents – now named the Taking Control of Goods National Standards – includes the following list of potentially vulnerable situations see para 77;(11)
he elderly; • residents with a disability; •t
the seriously ill; • the recently bereaved; •
single parent families; • pregnant women;
unemployed residents ; and, • those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.”
HARINGEY COUNCIL'S MEANINGLESS OATH.
It is reasonable to expect the Magistrates to check that vulnerable situations, as recommended by the DCLG and the MOJ, have been taken into account and to insist that Haringey Council confirm on oath/affirmation that the council’s calculations supporting the council tax costs of £102 for a summons plus £13 for a liability order fully comply with the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.
from the Reverend Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
No citizen without an affordable home and an
adequate income in work or unemployment.