Barbara Lockwood, a longstanding TPA campaigner and Council Tax protester, was in court yesterday charged with non-payment of half her Council Tax bill. Barbara maintains that her Council Tax has soared well above her ability to pay and as a result she’ll only pay for what she is getting from the Council. Would you pay an increased price for a service that’s been cut in half whilst it pays its bureaucrats more and more? Well, Barbara isn’t going to pay, so she was taken before the courts.
The say started early, but with excellent coverage from Anglia TV filming Barbara and our Norfolk Organiser Tony Callaghan (who deserves a medal for arranging so much media coverage ). In addition to this, BBC Radio Norfolk interviewed Barbara and held a phone-in, receiving numerous calls of support.
Then it was to the Courthouse where we were met with Barbara’s supporters, numbering about 20 in all (though some had to leave early). In the court, Broadland Council brought forward non-payment charges to 374 taxpayers within the Broadland borough. Only one – Barbara – was there to protest and appeal the charges against her. Such are the ruthless rigidity of the rules, Barbara wasn’t allowed to make her defence – despite the council springing another £200 charge in ‘backdated’ non-payments of Council Tax. On her summons, however, the Council fail to disclose what specific amounts are demanded from previous years. The 373 other taxpayers’ cases were dealt with all at once, and with the stroke of a pen, all were handed liability orders as well as a £56 charge for being taken to court in the first place.
Tony Callaghan spells out his shock at the Magistrates who, with the stroke of a pen, were able to judge on cases without even hearing the details of the charges. It seems if the Council is right, then the people are wrong:
If from one borough, on a Monday morning, 374 people had outstanding Council Tax payments – then what about the rest of the country? Borough after borough must have hundreds, even thousands, of people who can’t or won’t pay their Council Tax. My question is – where are these people? Stand up and be counted like Barbara. Join the campaign and make your voice heard!