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I wonder what is being covered up in this story:

 

Solicitor to mount challenge over single mum being jailed for not paying council tax

 

Is a prison sentence not a last resort, after all other means of recovery have been exhausted? i.e. attachments of earnings/benefits and bailiff recovery.

 

There is more information in the printed edition saying that the court had reduced the debt.

 

Though no reference to bailiffs where made in the report, reading between the lines I would say that much of the original debt is most likely to be a result of the bailiff "[problem]". Incidentally Rossendales are used by North East Lincolnshire Council.

 

Note, that the comment facility is not available in this story.

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1 word

 

"DISGUSTING"

 

should jail the Judge for doing it

NEVER FORGET

 

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Sickening, what is this country coming too. Its going to cost the government far more than she owes to keep her in jail and pay for her children to be looked after. How can this be right?? whats to say that she couldnt afford to pay her CT not the fact that she is a wont payer.

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Before TV licensing was free to OAP's, there was a 77 year old man who was jailed for not paying his TV license, during his first night in the cells he died, and prison officers didnt notice he was dead until the following morning.

 

Natrually the BBC didnt want to tell the story.

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I agree Kiptower, they should jail the Judge, but the poor Judge may have been living in his insular world for so long now maybe he has no concept of reality.

 

And it's true what you say Seanamarts. The cost or the court case alone, I should imagine would be far more than she owes.

 

And Bartoc, it doesn't surprise me that the BBC kept away from the TV licensing incident. And you will not be surprised that the Grimsby Telegraph shied away from printing the following response to the article in their "view point" column.

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I have some opinions regarding your article Jailed for non-payment of Council Tax that appeared in Saturdays Evening Telegraph.

 

If it this goes to print, could you let me know of any edits that may be required prior to printing?

 

Thanks, Regards xxxxx.

 

 

The Council sending this woman to jail for council tax debt, raises suspicion. Given there is a sequence the council should follow in deciding which course of action to take when enforcing the collection of council tax debt. Committal to prison is the last resort and taken only when all other means have failed.

 

Why didn't the council encourage the woman to claim council tax benefit? Because giving benefits to those in need, from an enforcement officers point of view is seen as a double bonus. It means residents that might have struggled to pay no longer have to, the council would have less to collect effectively improving their collection rate.

Normally the councils private bailiff companies would attempt to secure payment but only after considering attachment of earnings orders or deductions from benefits. The woman was working, so why didn't the council choose this action? This is enforceable, so employers can be prosecuted for failing to implement these attachment of earnings.

 

After attachment of earnings orders, the next likely action would be for the council to hand recovery to their bailiffs. Tens of thousands of residents each year have fraudulent fees routinely added to their debt.

 

Rossendales, ironically are described by NELC as “The council’s reputable bailiff company”. Local authorities, Local Government Ombudsmen, Police and the Courts have for years, turned a blind eye to their scams. Why did the court reduce the debt? The answer may lie in that bailiff companies, if their scams are discovered and challenged, nearly always withdraw their fraudulent charges.

 

These extreme measures are brought about by local authorities obsessions with council tax collection rates. It maybe that they achieve a 0.1% increase by way of their reckless behaviour. But how much does this increased performance really cost? In this case I should think, thousands for the court case, thousands for prison costs plus costs for child care and not forgetting the future benefit payable because of the council's irresponsible provocation.

 

It will be interesting if the truth ever emerges from this case. I may be wrong but I suspect the council as always will have aggravated and caused this matter to escalate.

 

Name and address supplied.

Edited by outlawla
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We cannot condemn the judge totally as we don not knwo the full circumstances. She was given the opportunity to pay council tax at £50 per month as she was working but she didn't. If she had a problem paying it, then she could have had the amount reduced.

To accrue that amount in council tax arrears taking into account cheating bailiff fees is still high and must have been going on for awhile. With 3 unemployable children even though she was working surely her council tax would have been close to zero.

I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Also I think she has been jailed for "contempt of court" and not the debt as perhaps she never made payments according to a court order.

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I am trying to look at it from a neutral point of view as we have too few facts to make an informed reply.

I agree about the community service and minimum jail sentences for repetitive criminals. I also agree that council tax chares are now getting out of hand and making it difficult for normal law abiding citizens to make the payments especially when they have not had a rise for 2 years but council tax has goine up by an average of 3% and worse is still to come.

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Reading the comments she does not seem to get much sympathy and it seems that she may be a serial defaulter but unfortunatley we do nto knwo the true facts to comment properly.

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  • 4 months later...

Debtors prisons did disappear long ago, its now given a new name with a similar game - They are called Civil prisoners.

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/48/section/40/enacted

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/613/regulation/47/made

 

Unpaid tax and motoring fines are handled by criminal law, and debtors prison in the strict sense was for improsoning someone for failure to relay a loan, but this is addressed in the Fraud Act 2006 - false representation to obtain money or services with intent to deprive the lender of his money.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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The lady was released on appeal after spending 7 days in prison. I can't find anything else about the case so maybe she paid the debt before the appeal or the appeal has not yet been heard....

 

http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/news/Grimsby-council-tax-dodger-released-jail-pending-appeal/article-2291395-detail/article.html

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Would it be correct to assume that she was not sent to jail for failure to pay a debt but rather for contempt of court? the judge made an oder and she ignored the order which is contempt of court hence the jail sentence.

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