Archives for category: benefit cuts

Hope, whilst IDS Lies continue to Persecute the Poor.

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What councils don’t tell you about the enforcement of council tax. 

Millions of people who do not pay the council tax now will be charged 8.5% to 20% from the 1st April. Millions will not be able to afford it; councils knew that when they made those irrational decisions.

Councils will not tell you;

1. That they have the discretion to write off the tax for vulnerable and impoverished people  under clause 10 (1) 13A (1) of the Local Government Finance Act 2012. It is necessary for the council tax benefit claimant to write a letter to the council setting out their financial circumstances, all debts, and all relevant information such  as health/disability. Payment of the bedroom tax, rent due to the overall benefit tax and the rent due to the housing benefit tax would be relevant.

2. That the bottom line is the income left after rent and council tax needed for food,  fuel, clothes, transport and other necessities; that has to be a reasonable amount if councils (and jobcentres) abide by the Wednesbury Principles as required by law and endorsed by coalition ministers.

2. That page 9 of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents, published by the Ministry of Justice in 2012,  sets out a procedure for bailiffs to return vulnerable cases from the door step to all creditors, including councils for council tax and courts for fines,  when there are vulnerable, or a change of, circumstance.

3. That Ministers from the DWP, the DCLG and the MOJ all stated during the passage of the Acts of Parliament, which are creating such misery, how concerned they were for vulnerable people; see their statements as recorded in Hansard in the attached file. Councils and Jobcentres should be reminded that is the coalitions policy; even though crocodile’s tears come to mind.

The details are on the TAP website.

http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/what-councils-dont-tell-you-about-the-enforcement-of-council-tax/

Rev Paul Nicolson

Taxpayers Against Poverty

93 Campbell Road,
Tottenham,
London N17 0BF
also at www.z2k.org
also at www.prohousingalliance.com
www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk
www.facebook.com/pages/Taxpayers-Against-Poverty/299911526728884

As above, so below: Right-wing attacks on free speech and protest.

CASE AGAINST HARINGEY COUNCIL COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT SCHEME – Paul Nicholson, Taxpayers Against Poverty
 
The appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal to morrow. It is a public hearing so please come if you are free. Justice or injustice should be seen to be done. The Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL It will start at 10.30.
Here is a comment about the decision in the High Court last week from a disabled member of TAP who has needed to be on the receiving end of the benefit system for many years and who was in court last week.
 
“In my personal view as someone who sat in at the start of the hearing on Tuesday and sat through the first 45 minutes of the verdict today, I’d say that the judge in question ignored the issue of people being left to starve, etc. Instead he focused on the fact? that Haringey’s procedures for the consultation followed legal Acts laid down by central government and sought to determine that ‘everyone paid an equal share’.
 
PRN Statement (1) This is the link to my evidence supporting the case, which was sent to the Judge and to Haringey Council. It focuses on financial needs of the 26,000 benefit claimants in Haringey who will have to pay the council tax for the first time from April if the decision in the High Court stands. 

My comments are as follows;

  1. There are no “equal shares”  of the council tax. It is related to the value of the property and not the size of the taxpayers income. Tenants do not own the property so they are being taxed on someone else’s wealth. It is a deeply regressive and unfair tax as everyone knows.  Haringey council is trying to pull the wool.
  2. Taking council tax out of benefits is also disproportionate and even more so when seen in the context of all the other reductions and caps. It will create unmanageable arrears which will be made worse by local authorities’ enforcement adding the costs of a liability order at £50 to £120  and the bailiffs up to another £400
  3. There is no attempt in this case, or by Haringey, to put a legal interpretation on the words “financial need” in the Local Government Finance Act – Clause 10 (1) 13A (2). 
  4. I and all the other council tax payers in Haringey I have a legitimate interest in all the decisions of the council. I am effected by all their decisions taken in my name so I vote in elections. The fact that none of us council tax payers were formally consulted seems enough to render the consultation unlawful; but that is not being discussed.  
We await the decision by the Appeal Court which may or may not be given tomorrow.

Tories’ outright lies on 1% benefit uprating.

Taxpayers Against Poverty’ (TAP) has been campaigning against the government’s policies, in particular decision to transfer Housing Benefit responsibilities to local authorities and to allow them to limit the benefit to 80% of tenants’ rent. In addition to campaigning they have engaged a solicitor, Alex Rook, Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, who this afternoon issued a statement:

I can confirm that we have issued Judicial Review proceedings against Haringey’s proposals, and it has been listed for a ‘rolled up’ hearing (both permission to bring the proceedings and the actual hearing itself) on 5 February 2012.

– This claim relates to the decision of the London Borough of Haringey (‘Haringey) at an extraordinary full Council meeting on Thursday 17 January 2013 to adopt its ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme’ (CTRS).

– It is stated in Haringey’s report to Cabinet on 10 July 2012 that there are currently 36,000 Council Tax recipients within the borough (30% of whom are pensioners and therefore not affected by the new scheme), comprising of 35% of all households. 71% currently receive full Council Tax Benefit.

– There appears to be no dispute between the parties about the consequences of charging Council Tax to the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. A report to Cabinet dated 10 July 2012, authorised by Mr Stuart Young, Assistant Chief Executive at Haringey, states

‘”Needless to say it is my belief that this represents one of the most appalling policies of the government and it is not insignificant that the unemployed will now be facing the prospect of having to pay 20% local taxation levels, which they were last subjected to under the Poll Tax. This is likely to amount to an average additional burden of £5pw, which when put alongside cuts to Working Families Tax Credit, changes to Housing Benefits, and the introduction of Universal Credit is, in my view, likely to have a disastrous impact on the levels of child poverty.”

– Equally, Councillor Goldberg states in the report to Full Council on 17 January 2013

“It goes without saying that the actions of the Government with regards to the abolition of Council Tax Benefit are extremely misguided, both in practice and principle. It is important to note that this new tax on the lowest paid households will hit them on the same day as many will be impacted by the overall benefits cap and further cuts to tax credits and other benefits”

– In the light of Haringey’s decision to adopt the CTRS without any or any proper consideration of the legal flaws identified in our correspondence, we consider that our client has no alternative but to issue these proceedings. The grounds are that the decision to adopt their proposed new schemes was irrational, that the consultations they undertook were unlawful.