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Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group as a group focuses primarily on combating benefits injustices locally through advocacy in individuals' benefit claims, and demonstrations that emphasise that there is hope when we come together. We are more angry than frightened.
Media Notice: £37 Council Tax hidden in £102 Court Costs to pay Haringey's Corporate Overheads — claims Revd Paul Nicolson
Guest Blog post from Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty
Rev Paul Nicolson
1st August 2016
Revd Paul Nicolson Tottenham demo
£37 COUNCIL TAX HIDDEN IN £102 COURT COSTS TO PAY HARINGEY'S CORPORATE OVERHEADS - CLAIMS REV PAUL NICOLSON
On the 4th August in Tottenham Magistrates Court I will be claiming that I have been unlawfully overcharged by at least £37 to pay the corporate overheads of Haringey Council in the court costs of £102 charged to me on a summons to the Magistrates court date 26th May 2016 and to 24,796 late and non paying residents of Haringey very many of whom are vulnerable.
THERE WILL BE A DEMONSTRATION
AGAINST THE COUNCIL TAX
OUTSIDE TOTTENHAM MAGISTRATES' COURT, LORDSHIP LANE, N17 6RT COURT AT 10AM ON THURSDAY 4TH AUGUST.
The effect of Haringey including the £926,655 corporate overheads when calculating the £102 court costs charge for a summons by the council increases the council tax by £37 a year. (see attachment)
I will be arguing that corporate overheads are part of the normal administrative costs of the council. Mrs Justice Andrews made it clear that court costs are to be treated as separate from administrative costs in the case that I won against the Magistrates and the Council in the High Court last year.
This is important because £37 extra tax in £102 court costs on top of arrears can be the last straw which causes the hunger that forces thousands to visit the food banks.
The impact of Haringey taxing the benefit incomes, shredded by central government, of the most vulnerable in Tottenham, where I live, since April 2013 has been devastating. £37 is a substantial part the £44 minimum food budget needed for a healthy diet for a week by a single adult. It is researched by nutritionists at the University of York, agreed as reasonable in public consultation and published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. (see table 1)
Three powerful departments of government DWP, DCLG and MOJ are simultaneously damaging the health of vulnerable, disabled, mentally and physically ill households in Haringey.
The UK has a failing benefit system which requires councils to stop piling local agony on national inhumanity.
The total JSA for a single adult is £73.10 week. It has been paying the council tax and rent due to the bedroom tax since April 2013 and fined for minor offences such as evading payements of TV licences and fares which cannot be afforded. It has also been stopped with a sanction for one month, three months or three years. Increasing rents mercilessly consume incomes needed to buy food and the fuel to cook it. .
Note to editors,
My claim of overcharging by £37 is calculated as follows.
The total cost of corporate overheads charged to court costs incurred up to the times of summons is £926,655 (see attached "Revised Cost Calculations 2015/16)
50% of corporate overheads £926,655 /24,796 summons = £37.
£37 of corporate overheads cannot be justified as a "cost reasonably incurred by the council in connection with the application" to the magistrates court for a summons. Mrs Justice Andrews made it clear that court costs are to be treated as separate from administrative costs (paras 35-44). Corporate overheads are administrative costs to be spread among all council tax payers not dumped on late and non payers.
It is a long standing principle in tax taxation law that sums have to be precisely calculated and the basis of taxation clearly defined. This £37 tax has been hidden in court costs.
Since the council started taxing benefits of its poorest residents in April 2013 summons costs have been waived or withdrawn 21,258 times showing a loss of income to the council of £2.5 million. (council witness statement). This inevitable consequence of taxing the lowest incomes in no way alters the unlawfulness of including corporate overheads in the court costs of over 40,000 late and non paying residents over the three years so increasing the council tax of those whose summons was neither waived nor withdrawn.