Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Media Release from Revd Paul Nicolson: Revd Paul Nicolson vs Haringey, Grant Thornton and Tottenham Magistrates Court - case adjourned
From Revd Paul Nicolson by email:
Haringey are making a meal of this wanting a full blown trial in the Magistrates Court with exchange of skeleton arguments by 29th June, bundle and agreed index by the 27th July and trial on the 4th August. The date can be varied when we hear from the Civil Appeal Court.
All good wishes,
Rev Paul Nicolson; 020 8376 5455
I attended Tottenham Magistrates Court today to answer a summons to a liability order hearing for non payment of £2800 council tax to Haringey Council. The case was adjourned by the Magistrate at the request of both the council and myself but for different reasons. The council because they were not ready to address the issue I have raised; myself because I am awaiting the decision of the Civil Appeal Court about whether they will hear my appeal against the High Courts decision on the same issue as the one I have now raised with the magistrates.
I am asking the council to explain why they did not raise with their auditors, Grant Thornton, the cumulative impact of benefit cuts, caps and council tax on the health and well-being of thousands of low income Haringey residents, in work and unemployment, when the council tax enforcement costs were being audited. I had raised the issue with Grant Thornton, Haringey's accountants, when they were auditing the enforcement costs, now £115, that are imposed by the Magistrates in bulk, sometimes 1000s at a time, on top of council tax and rent arrears and while individual's and family's income is stopped for three months during a benefit sanction. They replied ”we have no remit …to opine on the impact of this policy on the well-being of those required to pay council tax”.
My question is "Why no remit?" when the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) have guidance issued to courts and councils specifically drawing attention to the vulnerable circumstances of residents with a disability, the seriously ill, pensioners, single parents, pregnant women, the recently bereaved and Lord Freud has written in a letter to me "Four principles have underpinned welfare reforms. First the welfare system should support the elderly, vulnerable and disabled people..."