A group of determined TPA activists set upon Barnet Magistrates Court to protest against the unfair council tax and to support TPA member Austin Spiteri in his battle with the council over council tax.
Mr Spiteri has been hounded by Barnet council over his daughter’s non-payment of council tax. The simple fact is that Barnet council ‘mislaid’ the Spiteri’s application for council tax benefit and subsequently denied their application. Had the benefit been permitted (especially when two of the three householders were unable to work and on incapacity benefit) then Mr. Spiteri wouldn’t have been in court and our money wouldn’t have been wasted on the paperwork and staff time needed to process Mr. Spiteri’s case.
With 12 people in attendance, growing over the hour and a half we were there, we handed out over a hundred leaflets, “tax cuts please” stickers and bumper stickers to Barnet residents. Holding our handmade placards, we got an overwhelming reception from motorists honking in support, so much so that a very angry clerk stormed out of the court to give us a scowl only a bureaucrat could muster.
Such was our success that we recruited further members and activists who, like Mr. Spiteri, were at the court on matters relating to their own council tax payments. Each example explained to us was yet another argument for the abolition of the council tax.
The final result was a fun protest for our activists to engage in (especially in the dreary weather) and Mr. Spiteri winning time to contact the council to ensure a final decision is made on his family’s council tax benefit. Hopefully the council will get their act together and realise the circumstances the Spiteri’s face clearly merit benefit.
The Spiteri’s plight brings up so many issues we’re fighting in the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the reality that so many families face up and down the country:
- The complexity of local government bureaucracy makes it dangerously easy for vulnerable families to fall into trouble.
- Council Tax needs to be significantly reduced, if not scrapped. We’re not getting value for money and it’s making millions of people’s lives a misery because they simply cannot pay. When councils are wasting money on jobs like this, this and this, no wonder we deserve a massive council tax cut. End the waste and non-jobs and cut our taxes!
- The tax system (and even perhaps the welfare state itself) needs urgent simplifying. Moves to a flat tax – where tax returns could be done on the back of a postcard – or even Charles Murray’s plan to replace the Welfare State would all go to simplify one of the most complicated tax, benefit and welfare systems in the Western World.
Thanks to Austin Spiteri for bringing his cause to our notice and everyone, including Dick Bland, Bernard Toolan, Fabian Olins and so many others, who turned out to help us.
If you’ve seen the footage from Barnet today and want to protest, then get in touch and we can organise a protest in your area, putting you in touch with other TPA Activists and possibly forming a local branch.
The fight-back begins today, from Barnet to beyond!