The Socialist 19 March 2014 |
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Pensioner jailed for non-payment
Ross Longhurst of Nottingham, aged 72 and a longstanding campaigner, has been jailed for 28 days for not paying his council tax. Ross refused to pay in protest and wrote before his hearing:
"For the fourth year running Nottingham city council are imposing cuts on local services which target the most vulnerable sections of the community such as children and old people.
"This is part of the Coalition government's war on the poor and the Labour-controlled council are slavishly implementing the cuts."
Cathy Meadows, chair, Nottingham Stop the Bedroom Tax/ Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign gave our solidarity to Ross on Radio Nottingham and to any people who feel so angry at the injustice they are making a stand, even if not affected themselves.
Cathy said that many people are forced to choose between food, fuel, council tax and rent because of cuts to benefits, and cannot afford to pay council tax.
People whose income was so low that they were considered too poor a year ago to pay council tax are now being told to pay yet their income is still low.
And from this April, the minimum amount Nottingham city council (with a massive Labour majority) is charging will be 20% of council tax.
Cathy said the council should stop harassing people, stop sending bailiffs and stop threatening people with eviction.
The campaign is clear: The council should not pursue people for council tax or rent arrears if their benefit has been cut or if people are now being asked to pay council tax / increased council tax because of the austerity measures.
Cathy said that in the short term the council should use its reserves to cover the costs. The council should be working with the community and trade unions to demand the necessary money from the government.
Write to: Prisoner A0329DE, Ross Longhurst, HM Prison Nottingham, 112 Perry Road, Nottingham NG5 3AG.
Nottingham Stop the Bedroom Tax/Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign gives advice to people to help support them when they receive letters from the council or social landlord including court letters. http://youtu.be/f-9VfpdHNjs
- On the day Ross was jailed, the thisisnottingham website reported that a businessman was "spared prison after £4 million of fake goods were found." Nottingham Magistrates' Court sentenced the man to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.