MEDIA RELEASE There is a current epidemic of institutional violence by national and local government.

14 November 2017

MEDIA RELEASE

Rev Paul Nicolson
0208 3765455
07961177889

 

Statement of the Reverend Paul Nicolson on behalf of the council tax deputation to the Haringey Cabinet meeting at 6.30pm on the 14th November 2017 opposing the decision of the Cabinet to continue taxing social security incomes in 2018/19

 

"There is a current epidemic of institutional violence by national and local government. You are piling council tax arrears, court costs and bailiff fees on top of the rent arrears, family and individual insolvency created by Parliament. I implore you, I beg you, to cease the cruel taxation of the shredded social security incomes in Haringey."
 
There is a current epidemic of institutional violence by national and local government. Your imposition of council tax against social security incomes, on top of cuts and caps to those incomes imposed by central government, is a violent act. It it damages mental and physical ill health, contributes to low birth-weight and shortens lives in the already severely deprived wards of the borough. You know very well that for weeks, sometimes months some households have no income to pay the tax due to the benefits sanction, the zero hours contract and universal credit. You also know that the housing benefit has been cut by the overall benefit cap, by the bedroom tax and by the local housing allowance while rents increase.  You are piling council tax arrears, court costs and bailiff fees on top of the rent arrears, family and individual insolvency created by Parliament. 

Over the fives years since 2013 you have billed the shredded incomes of social security claimants a total of £33 million council tax,  5 million of which is unlikely to be collected.  Despite knowing the misery caused by the enforcement of both rent and council tax arrears you took 21,000 late and non-payers of council tax to court and sent the bailiffs to them 11, 000 times last year. That adds court costs and bailiffs fees, which doubled the​ir ​council tax arrears. You hand the mobile phone numbers of your constituents to Newlyns the bailiffs. They run campaigns of intimidation against vulnerable residents by sending threatening text messages in the morning and at around 8pm for weeks on end. 

There are decades of reports to Parliament showing the scientific evidence that debt, low incomes and inability to buy a healthy diet create mental and physical health problems.  Three days food from a food bank does not cover a nine month pregnancy. You ignore the fact that some of the wards in Haringey are among the most deprived in the United Kingdom where low birth weight is at third world levels of 10-12%.  That means 20 to 40 tiny babies are born every a year with a high risk of lifetime and inter-generational ill health because their mothers could not buy a healthy diet before or during  pregnancy. Not satisfied with taxing their shredded social security you also want to demolish their homes. You are abusing your power.

I implore you, I beg you, if you have any respect whatever for the principles at the heart of all the major faiths, and of many humanists, so wonderfully represented in the borough, to love your neighbours as yourself, to cease the cruel taxation of the shredded social security incomes in Haringey.

 

Note to Editors

I will be raising these issues again on behalf of a second deputation to the Haringey Scrutiny Committee at 7pm on the 21st November.  

The table is from the Haringey Council papers for their Cabinet Meeting on the 14th November 2014. page 38 


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