Council Tax enforcement: Magistrates Court Proceedings

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shirley frost

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Jun 19, 2013, 7:49:17 AM6/19/13
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The council has started summonsing some of the 33,000 low paid,unemployed and disabled people to court to enforce payment of the 23% council tax charge they have imposed by cutting council tax benefit. They cannot afford this. Despicably this is how they are choosing to compensate for the 10% cut in the government support grant.
They did not have to do this. Other councils have found other ways of dealing with it.
You have to question what mental gymnastics they had to go through to justify further impoverishing the poorest and most vulnerable people in the city. When accountants alone appear to be leading policy decisions you wonder where it is all heading.

As a national campaign which has grown to include scores of groups and campaigns across the country we are ever more determined to oppose the grave injustice of benefit cuts. Therefore in Sheffield as in other towns and cities we will attend the Magistrates Court on 21st June to support people who have received summons and express our opposition. The proceedings start at 10 am and will go on all day to about 4pm with a break for lunch 1-2pm.

Legal aid is not available even though the ultimate sanction is up to 3months in jail; so if your organisation can help with providing legal help free of charge on the day please let me know as soon as possible. Donations are also welcome.

I attach my latest leaflet which gives an overview of council tax enforcement and how people can respond.

Shirley Frost
Sheffield Defend Council Housing & Benefits Justice Campaign*
0114 248 3937

(*now known  the 'Anti Bedroom Tax & Benefits Justice Federation' )
Cant pay your poll tax. 18.6.13 doc

Orinocobooks

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Jun 21, 2013, 5:42:49 AM6/21/13
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Hi,
We were told they (the council) have not closed the door on this, but are still considering. Jack Scott quoted a figure of 3 million as a possible cost for not implementing it at the Peoples Assembly meeting.  Would be interested to know the cost of enforcing it, cost of courts ect, possible cost of policing if lots of demonstrators do turn up ?
 
As you say, accountants (or people trying to be accountants) are leading policy descisions and it is going to be expensive to implement, especially as even those paying it now are unlikely to be able to continue in the long term. I've heard about people selling clothing etc. to pay the tax but they cant't keep doing that.
Other councils have tried to find ways round it, and hopefully they will succeed but again not sure how sustainable it will be in the long term with more and more cuts planned, all affecting the most vulnerable, and  I don't think talk of councils going bancrupt is just scaremongering.
 
It would help if the council was far far more open about funding issues, rather than things being known by cabinet and not by others. Fairly sure they want to keep quiet about cuts as the next Labour government isnt planning on doing much different but we all need to know and understand the financial position.
 
Please also be aware of the huge squeeze on social care, and health funded continuing health care,which affects a wide range of people young and old, many young disabled people who need extra help just to live ordinary day to day lives are already being affected, with more and worse to come. These are also the people most affected by benefit cuts and change from DLA to the much harder to claim PIPS, from which many will be excluded.  Look out for communications from the council re issues around social care.
Cheers Rachel
 
 
 
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martin brighton

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Jun 21, 2013, 10:52:37 AM6/21/13
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Interview / recorded statement to BBC Sheffield

Initial recorded interview on Thursday evening, followed by live studio conversation Friday morning.

 

1       It is beyond comprehension that a labour council would attack the poorest and most vulnerable, first by charging them council tax, then by imposing bedroom tax.

2       Bashing the benefits of the poorest has become politically popular, and labour are trying to out-nasty the nasty party.

3       Not since Hitler has a section of the community been scapegoated and demonised, and this labour council and this government are trying to do what Hitler couldn’t.

4       Those on benefits receive the minimum that the law says they need to live, so where is the justice, legality and fairness of taking away their money.

5       Given the choice, a single mother has the stark choice of either food on their child’s plate or paying this tax. It is a no-brainer. Taken to the extreme, this could mean the children taken into care and the mother imprisoned – such is the obscenity of this labour council and tory government.

6       The council tries to spin with offers to help, but the bottom line remains the same – pay up or pay the consequences.

7       Tomorrow’s ( Friday ) action is but one small step to inform this callous and uncaring council that it has gone too far, it has betrayed those who placed their trust in labour, and they will be reminded next May.

8       The council has claimed that there is a hardship fund. However, it is not fairly allocated, asks irrelevant questions, is wholly inadequate, and expects those on DLA to use their DLA money.

9       I am martin brighton, an independent volunteer who tries to help others.  

 

BBC-Interview+.docx
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