Last week Eric Pickles the Communities Secretary – yes him that paid and attempted to justify £432k per annum for his finance director and 3 times the PM salary he and other Tories like to use as a benchmark for salries of Housing CEOs! – is the MP for Brentwood. His local Tory constituency council have according to a very informative blog from falseeconomy decided to ban the payment of council tax benefit to the under 25s. This blog contains so much more than this snippet and I would heartily recommend it’s reading.
However Council Tax Benefit being banned to the under 25s is a huge issue for me and judging by the number of tweetsand retweets and comments this has produced in the last hour or so, to many others. I am not going to ramble on discussing the morality of this as it is amoral and blatantly discriminatory. It is NOT acceptable to argue what choice do local councils have or other such argument; rather it is suffice to say why not ban Council Tax Benefit to the over 60s instead!
Imagine the uproar!! Leading story no doubt on the national news and the public baying for the blood of Council Leader Louisa McKinlay and dragging Eric Pickles fully into this outrage and perhaps riotign in the streets of Brentwood just like the Poll Tax.
And thats reminded me of the early to mid 1980s when living in Scotland and when Thatcher tried out the Poll Tax on the Scots first before introducing it in England. At least the theory of the Poll Tax could be seen as fair, the banning of CTB for one age group is not and cannot be and adds a tax of at least £973.72 per year to the under 25s in Brentwood if they are lucky enough to be in Band A Council Tax.
Just as in Scotland I could not advise the non-payment on Council Tax in Brentwood but I could advise the under 25s there take the same direct action as Scots did and pay your Council Tax in coinage which creates havoc with the local economy. Go into one of the libraries or other council managed buildings or post offices and using your Paypoint card (some here) pay your Council Tax (£18.66 – £19.23 pw in Band A) in instalments with as many small denomination coins as you can. In short the cost of collection outweighs the benefit the council gets from it!
Ive had a look at the Royal Mint website which breaks down ‘legal tender’ – and bizarrely did you know a Crown (25p) is still legal tender? – and all Council Tax payers in Brentwood and anywhere else that is facing this inequitable tax should protest by paying their CTax bill in coins
From 25 – 30 years back and the Poll Tax trials in Scotland I seem to remember that the legal tender limits do NOT apply if you are paying government. I may well be wrong but if anyone has a definitive legal opinion on this please comment below. However I so hope I am right and ALL the residents of Brentwood pay their CTax bill in copper coinage!
It cannot be right or allowed that any local council can ban certain age groups from receiving benefit or relief (as CTAX is to be abolished next year) and if anyone knows of any legal challenge to this please let me know as I will gladly help in any way I can.
Eric Pickles and Localism anyone? What a surprise that Louisa McKinlay the local council leader in this Tory borough wants to get the attention of Eric Pickles with this radical and deeply offensive proposal. Yes Mr Pickles local government knows local needs best except when it drags you into the political mire! I notice last week you publicly condemned a Labour-run local government council for not allowing political posters to be placed in windows. Yet taxing young people an additional £1000 per year or so is much worse than this and especially because the only criterion for this taxation is because they are under 25. That is blatant age discrimination.
Yet you are silent Mr Pickles, I wonder why that is? duplicity or are you just as outraged by what your constituency local Tory council is doing? Silly me, it just must be duplicity!
This excellent blog also states: –
“The research has also identified 12 councils that do not appear to have provided clear information to the public on a key proposal – how cutting council tax benefit will affect all claimants who are currently receiving help with their council tax bills”
– and rightly suggests this may leave the 12 councils open to Judicial Review.
However the blog also