STOP DAMAGING HEALTH WITH COUNCIL TAX AND BEDROOM TAX enforced against vulnerable citizens with no income

25 July 2016


STOP DAMAGING HEALTH WITH THE COUNCIL TAX AND BEDROOM TAX.

I have been summoned to a liability order hearing at  Tottenham Magistrates Court at 10am on Thursday 4th August Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17 6RT. 

There will be a demonstration at the court at 10am on the 4th August against the damage to health by the simultaneous taxation of benefit incomes with council tax and bedroom tax.

I learned last week, from a brief on an ONS release by Professor Danny Dorling, that there has been a rapid decline in well-being in the UK population since 2010, measured by self reported health, and a rapid rise in death rates in 2015 (with a small rise in 2013). I have asked the council for the same information covering the London Borough of Haringey.

When the council tax liability orders are granted by the magistrates to the council they add £115 to the council tax  arrears,which are is often on top of rent arrears, and are able to take one or more of the following actions:  

​"​Instruct bailiffs to take your goods to settle your debt - this can include your car.  You will be liable to pay the bailiffs costs which could substantially increase the debt. Instruct your employer to deduct payments from your salary or wages. Deduct money straight from your jobseekers allowance or income support. Make you bankrupt. Make a charging order against your home. Have you committed to prison”.     

Haringey has been enforcing the tax against the most vulnerable benefit claimants since April 2013, when they began taxing benefit incomes. 

Grant Thornton is the seventh largest international company of accountants in the world. They refused to take the circumstances of vulnerable people into account when auditing Haringey's council tax liability order costs;

​They wrote to me on the  5th May sending ​a ​copy ​to the council’s lawyer; 

“We have no remit … to opine on the impact of this policy on the well-being of those required to pay council tax”

​ "Why not?"- is a central point of my claim.  

The magistrates issue over 20,000 liability orders ever year to Haringey council against Haringey residents listed on computer printouts provided by the council 1000s at a time.  

The magistrates are also totally blind to all the vulnerable circumstances in the borough. They do not insist that Haringey council comply with strict regulations governing the calculation of Haringey's liability order costs by the council. (see note below)

They grant Haringey council liability orders against residents work an unemployment who; 

  1. have had their income stopped by the job centre with a benefit sanction, (See Monstrous unfairness of benefit sanctions)
  2. have rent arrears, some are paying the bedroom tax, most are claiming benefits,
  3. are struggling with fines for a TV licence or not paying for a bus ticket.

Vulnerable residents are the elderly, residents with a disability, the seriously ill, the recently bereaved, single parent families, pregnant women, unemployed residents, those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English. 

HARINGEY COUNCIL'S MEANINGLESS OATH. 

1.      Haringey Council made a meaningless oath/affirmation to Tottenham Magistrates on the 12th August 2015 when proposing a reduction of enforcement costs from £125 for a summons and a liability order to £102 for a summons plus £13 for the liability order.

“I confirm that the documents available to the District Judge at the hearing at Tottenham Magistrates Court on the 12-08-2015 included the schedule of costs attached with this letter.”

 2.     It is reasonable to expect the Magistrates to check that vulnerable situations, as recommended by the DCLG and the MOJ, endorsed by the DWP and supported by the Supreme Court,  have been taken into account and to insist that Haringey Council confirm on oath/affirmation that the council’s calculations supporting the council tax costs of £102 for a summons plus £13 for a liability order fully comply with the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.  


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