The state has abandoned its duty to ensure every citizen can be fed and in shelter except when we are in prison for debt or a crime.
I promised to report on each stage of council tax enforcement against me to highlight the the injustice of taxing the benefits of the unemployed. Politicians are careful not to require the low paid to pay income tax but allow the local authorities to tax the totally inadequate unemployment benefits, which have been shredded since 2010, and then enforce the tax adding court and bailiffs fees.
Many of you will know how a liability order can be enforced. The relevant parts of the letter to me are shown below. Council tax enforcement inherited from the poll tax in 1993 remains flawed. The magistrates issue increasing numbers of liability orders by signing the Councils' computer printouts of up to 2000 names at a time, to kick off a threats of prison, visits from the bailiffs or other enforcement procedures; the Magistrates issue over 3,5 million liability orders a year like that in England and Wales.
No evidence is presented to the court by the Councils as to whether the defaulters also have rent arrears, are on zero hours contracts or suffering a three month benefit sanction, or are mentally or physically ill.
- are waiting six weeks for a Universal Credit payment,
- on a zero hours contract,
- have a three month benefit sanction
or are mentally of physically ill.
My own position is that;
(a) When I get the bailiffs letter I will phone them, tell them not to call because I will not let them in (they are not allowed to break in for council tax). I will tell them I am refusing to pay so they will not get their fees and suggest they should not waste their time or their money visiting me. They are all private companies. I have no car so they cannot clamp it.
(b) I am a pensioner so the council cannot attach my earnings.
(c) I do not claim benefits so they cannot deduct from those
(d) The council could declare me bankrupt but it would gain them nothing.
(e) I do not own my home so they cannot use a charging order.
(f) They could apply to the court for my committal to prison.
If I was sent to prison by the magistrates the State will feed me and give me a bed. I will not have to go to a food bank. I will be better off than the homeless people sleeping rough on the streets. The state has abandoned its duty to ensure every citizen can buy a healthy diet and sleep indoors in a bed except when we are in prison for debt or a crime. Sending me to prison would cost more than the £1100 I owe.
There are families imprisoned in their homes by low income, rent and council tax arrears with no money to put in the gas/electricity meter or their mobile phones. Communications are a desperate problem when the authorities insist all applications for benefits are on line and BT has cut off one million landlines. Some of the tenancies are not fit to live due to landlord negligence.
THE COUNCILS LETTER INFORMING US THEY HAVE LIABILITY ORDERS AGAINST US READS AS FOLLOWS. NB late or non-payment of the council tax is not a criminal offence; the arrears are a civil debt.
If you cannot pay this sum immediately you are required by law to complete and return the attached request for information form within the next 14 days.
FAILURE TO DO SO IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE AND WILL RESULT IN A FINE PAYABLE BY YOU.
Enforcement Agents: The Council can use Enforcement Agents to recover the amount outstanding by removing and selling your possessions. You will be charged fees by the Enforcement Agents for each stage of the enforcement process. See table of fees overleaf.
Attachment of Earnings: The Council can order your employer to deduct money from your earnings and pay it direct to the Council.
Deductions from Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support
Allowance or Pension Credit: The Council can order the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deduct money from your benefit entitlement to be paid direct to the Council.
Bankruptcy or winding up proceedings: These proceedings can be undertaken by the Council when the amount outstanding is at a certain level. This may affect your credit rating.
Charging Order: If you own the property concerned, the Council can apply to have a charge raised against the property. This may lead to further action to enforce the charge, possibly by order for sale.
Prison: The Council can apply to the court for your committal to prison