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 Post subject: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:41 pm 
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At the heart of this Council Tax issue are examples such as these, this one from Basildon where the council is ripping off a widow on minimum wage, imposing charges of £45 for a summons and £50 for a liability order because the woman was late paying.

What comes over is the chilling indifference of the council official, which is positively sinister when one appreciates that the bulk of the charge is almost certainly unlawful. But then, with chief executive Bala Mahendran on an annual salary of £155,904 and senior management team taking £987,960 – plus pension payments and bonuses – one can see why officials need to be stealing the widow's mite.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:59 pm 
A Bear Of Small Brain writes: Why do councils have to raise extra funds illegally like this? Why do they need to be creative about squeezing the pips when the pips have no choice but to pay up (or leave the area)? Do councils/boroughs really care what their headline rate of council tax is? Does it affect the size of their bung from central govt or something like that?
In short: what's the motive for a monopoly provider not to raise prices – and instead act outside the law?


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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:02 pm 
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Clarence wrote:
A Bear Of Small Brain writes: Why do councils have to raise extra funds illegally like this? Why do they need to be creative about squeezing the pips when the pips have no choice but to pay up (or leave the area)? Do councils/boroughs really care what their headline rate of council tax is? Does it affect their bung from central govt?


Councils were told to cap their tax, otherwise central government would have imposed a cap. Rather than cut spending (and their own salaries), therefore, we find that they are getting more and more inventive in devising extra revenue streams, some of dubious legality and some - as here - completely illegal.

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:10 pm 
Ah, many thanks.
One year my council tax was -£4 (the difference between £136 and the govt's £140 bung of taxpayer cash back to the taxpayer). The joke was that bailiffs would soon break in to our homes and leave a clapped-out hi fi. No one jokes about council tax any more. And, no, we never did get that four quid.


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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:29 pm 

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We know banks slap punitive charges on the poorest. Will Councils be able to hide behind that ruling?

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:49 pm 
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SandyRham wrote:
We know banks slap punitive charges on the poorest. Will Councils be able to hide behind that ruling?


No... S. 111(3) of the LGA 1972 specifically prohibits councils raising charges unless specifically authorised by legislation. Local authorities are not banks ... they are entirely creatures of the law.

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:17 pm 
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But then, when your chief executive, Sandy Hopkins, is pulling in £125,000 from the payroll, plus two executive directors taking £91,000 each, the odd quarter of a million from the very poorest in your district can come in very handy indeed.


When put in those terms it becomes really shameful.

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:45 pm 

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Richard - would it not also be useful to estimate a ratio for summonses issued to dwellings in an area?

Runnymede states it has 33,992 households - to which it issued 2,181 summonses. Meaning one in fifteen homes were fleeced by the council for £42.

Ipswich states it has 58,303 dwellings - to which it issued 9,834 summonses. Meaning one in six homes in the area were fleeced by the council for £65.

Bradford has 180,246 households - to which 48,577 summonses were issued in the financial year 2010/2011. Meaning a quarter of all homes in the area were fleeced by the council for £50.

If my maths is correct.


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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:40 pm 
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PeterS wrote:
Richard - would it not also be useful to estimate a ratio for summonses issued to dwellings in an area?

Runnymede states it has 33,992 households - to which it issued 2,181 summonses. Meaning one in fifteen homes were fleeced by the council for £42.

Ipswich states it has 58,303 dwellings - to which it issued 9,834 summonses. Meaning one in six homes in the area were fleeced by the council for £65.

Bradford has 180,246 households - to which 48,577 summonses were issued in the financial year 2010/2011. Meaning a quarter of all homes in the area were fleeced by the council for £50.

If my maths is correct.


Yes ... good point ... I'll work up a post for the morning on this.

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:41 pm 

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I forgot to mention, but I can confirm my FOI to Portsmouth City Council went in.
I will do the same for Winchester City Council and Havant Borough Council later this week.

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:08 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:01 am 
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RAENORTH wrote:
SandyRham wrote:
We know banks slap punitive charges on the poorest. Will Councils be able to hide behind that ruling?


No... S. 111(3) of the LGA 1972 specifically prohibits councils raising charges unless specifically authorised by legislation. Local authorities are not banks ... they are entirely creatures of the law.


But there is something very similar in the sense of entitlement in which they operate: a sense of privilege and opportunistic rapaciousness such that their cut comes off the top not in payment for a service, but as an extortion demanded which individuals are powerless to refuse. Moreover, they demand protection against loss or hardship even to being indemnified for disasters of their own making.

In short, they are shameless. I suppose they feel quite superior and that honest people are just hopeless sheep. This justifies their lawlessness and no doubt intensifies their kleptolagnic satisfaction.

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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:04 am 
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One aspect that hasn't been mentioned is the extra council tax we all pay to make up for those who never pay, I believe there is a percentage added to our bills to cover that?


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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:37 am 

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pipesmoker wrote:
One aspect that hasn't been mentioned is the extra council tax we all pay to make up for those who never pay, I believe there is a percentage added to our bills to cover that?


Those who either never pay, are late paying, have difficulty paying or who are accused of not paying are all scapegoats used to the advantage of our councils. They all provide a moral shield from behind which authorities can hide while delivering those bog standard, off the shelf comments, typically "that it's unfair that those good law abiding citizens that do pay their council tax should have to subsidise those that don't".

You'd find this difficult to believe but it's not unheard of these spokesperson's to sink to the level of playing one group of resident of against another with statements similar to "these penalty costs don't represent 'income generation' but savings that can be made in the cost of the recovery service, otherwise ultimately passed on to the Council Tax payer".


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 Post subject: Re: Robbing the poor
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Andfrankly wrote:
pipesmoker wrote:
One aspect that hasn't been mentioned is the extra council tax we all pay to make up for those who never pay, I believe there is a percentage added to our bills to cover that?


Those who either never pay, are late paying, have difficulty paying or who are accused of not paying are all scapegoats used to the advantage of our councils. They all provide a moral shield from behind which authorities can hide while delivering those bog standard, off the shelf comments, typically "that it's unfair that those good law abiding citizens that do pay their council tax should have to subsidise those that don't".

You'd find this difficult to believe but it's not unheard of these spokesperson's to sink to the level of playing one group of resident of against another with statements similar to "these penalty costs don't represent 'income generation' but savings that can be made in the cost of the recovery service, otherwise ultimately passed on to the Council Tax payer".


There are those who refuse to pay their council tax that go to prison for non-payment making the debt unenforceable, that deficit has to come from somewhere?

I support Richard in his stance against the excesses of local government but wonder if there are better ways than withholding payment.

In the recent past a local councillor was given £10,000 a year to spend in the area. The things it was spent on were nothing short of gerrymandering, she lost her seat so not very effective but now has one on the parish council. The whole system is rotten to the core?


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