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Reverend Paul Nicholson faces being sent to prison for refusing to pay his council tax.


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The following is a short extract from a press report in today's Daily Telegraph regarding the Reverend Paul Nicolson's forthcoming court appearance at Tottenham Magistrates Court:

 

 

By the end of next week, Paul Nicolson could be facing prison and bankruptcy – an unexpected turn of events for an 84-year-old retired vicar who has never previously been in this type of trouble.

 

On 15 June, he will appear at Tottenham magistrates court in north London for non-payment of council tax since 2013: he owes £2,831.42.

 

Meanwhile, he must decide what to do about the £47,000 in costs awarded against him last month after he lost, in the high court, a case he brought against Haringey council over the level of court charges imposed on residents for non-payment of council tax.

 

It is all a great deal of money that he doesn’t have, but he appears to be delighted at the potential scandal that the imprisonment of a retired vicar could stir up, and the useful attention that his case could bring to a little-understood aspect of welfare reform.

 

“I am really not in the slightest bit afraid of prison,” Nicolson says. He is looking forward to his court appearance, where he will have the opportunity to explain why he has decided not to pay his bills.

 

“One of the joys of refusing to pay,” he says, is that there is a “wonderful opportunity” to tell the story of why the 2013 abolition of a centralised council tax benefit has had such catastrophic consequences for hundreds of thousands of people.

 

Tottenham’s magistrates would be wise to steel themselves for Nicolson’s 10 o’clock appearance in the dock, because his arguments are likely to be delivered with the mesmerisingly stern precision of a 1940s BBC newsreader. A group of protesters are due to gather outside the court in support of his campaign.

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/global/2016/jun/08/vicar-dibley-paul-nicolson-council-tax-refusing-benefit-cuts-jail-prison?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Scoop
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While I hope the Rev. doesn't end up in prison, I also hope that some altruistic person doesn't pay for him as this will defeat the objective. I'm not 100% sure on this but I heard that people jailed for refusing to pay council tax are kept separate from the criminals. Happy to be proved wrong of course.

 

Can you imagine. The Rev. comes out a drug addicted opportunist burglar having learned how to pick locks while inside :lol:

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While I hope the Rev. doesn't end up in prison, I also hope that some altruistic person doesn't pay for him as this will defeat the objective. I'm not 100% sure on this but I heard that people jailed for refusing to pay council tax are kept separate from the criminals. Happy to be proved wrong of course.

 

My personal opinion is that the Reverend may well find that the Magistrate uses the power available to him to remit the debt. I would be very surprised indeed if he failed to do this.

 

Remitting the debt would not be what the Reverend wants but would nonetheless be the fairest outcome.

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My personal opinion is that the Reverend may well find that the Magistrate uses the power available to him to remit the debt. I would be very surprised indeed if he failed to do this.

 

Remitting the debt would not be what the Reverend wants but would nonetheless be the fairest outcome.

 

Either Magistrate won't make any decision and leave liability in force to be enforced normally or they will send to Prison. The state does not like being taken on in this way and no doubt the Magistrate will be instructed what they have to do.

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They will make an example of him and send him down for 3 months as he has caused serious trouble for the Establishment.

 

I hope they are not so silly, as they really don't want the flak and derision that would follow jailing the good Reverend.

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I think they will be scratching their heads about how they cannot send him to chokey. I certainly wouldn't like to be the one to incarcerate the vicar of Dibley.

 

They can hardly issue A community service order either, as that is what he does 24 hours a day seven days a week.

 

Like thousands of others I look forward to hearing what he has to say.

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It's at this level conspiracy theorists may have a point, as 'the establishment' cannot be seen to get this wrong, so it would not surprise me if he is sent down, all agreed behind the scenes in advance. They will certainly be talking about it at length. No matter what they do, the victory is really already his.

 

Like everyone else here, I look forward to hearing what he's got to say.

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Paul Nicholson is a really excellent man – a great man of principle.

 

We had lots of personal dealings with him when we were challenging bank charges in 2006 and 2007. We've had other dealings with him as well about the enforcement industry.

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I suspect that either - someone will pay his bills for him or he will be sent down and within 48 hours due to public outcry he will be released pending an appeal that will take years to happen and he will quietly become unfit for prison. That way they will be seem to have upheld the law but also been compassionate and take notice of public opinion. A win win for the PR machine.

 

Incidentally BA i think you need to have your eyes checked, you have quote from what you say is the Torygraph yet it actually comes from the Guardian. Telegraph readers will be spinning in their graves to think that you mix the two up

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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He is indeed, i too was in regular contact with him in 2006 during the bailiff forced entry debacle and periodically since.

 

He knows everyone, no mater what the issue is, consumer rights bailiff industry members of Parliament, and is respected by all

 

When we were doing the campaign on here he give me a list of email addresses of all the people even remotely related to the subject, and not just office addresses either. Same with payday loans. So much energy and so accessible.

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Either Magistrate won't make any decision and leave liability in force to be enforced normally or they will send to Prison. The state does not like being taken on in this way and no doubt the Magistrate will be instructed what they have to do.

 

As I mentioned earlier yesterday, I would be very surprised indeed if the Magistrates did not remit the debt. However, reading more about this hearing, I am not convinced that this hearing is one to consider 'committal' . If it were, then the local authority would be liable for a hefty fee of just over £300.

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As I mentioned earlier yesterday, I would be very surprised indeed if the Magistrates did not remit the debt. However, reading more about this hearing, I am not convinced that this hearing is one to consider 'committal' . If it were, then the local authority would be liable for a hefty fee of just over £300.

 

Is £300 that hefty for a local authority? I know most pay out tens of thousands each year in out of court settlements, so £300 would not matter particularly to them. It will be very interesting to watch what happens.

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Is £300 that hefty for a local authority? I know most pay out tens of thousands each year in out of court settlements, so £300 would not matter particularly to them. It will be very interesting to watch what happens.

They may feel it is money well spent if they can get the Reverend put behind bars. Unfortunately ijailing him would bring derision and odium onto the council and HMCS possibly as a PR disaster.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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They may feel it is money well spent if they can get the Reverend put behind bars. Unfortunately ijailing him would bring derision and odium onto the council and HMCS possibly as a PR disaster.

 

I cannot see the council being so stupid. Also, I do not believe that this hearing is one to even consider 'committal'. It is however, a good opportunity to once again keep the media focused on the unfairness of the changes made to the benefits system and the effect that it is having on low income families.

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I cannot see the council being so stupid. Also, I do not believe that this hearing is one to even consider 'committal'. It is however, a good opportunity to once again keep the media focused on the unfairness of the changes made to the benefits system and the effect that it is having on low income families.

Definitely an opportunity there to examine the impact on low income families with reduced income due to benefit reform being unable to afford their council tax at all, being as how there is no account taken of ability to pay when billing a household. Just a band and a fixed sum according to the Band.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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I wouldnt be surprised if the council paid the debt on his behalf just to keep him out of gaol via some non-governmental organisation's grant moments before he has to appear before the beak.

That would be their best outcome, not letting him have his day and it would look like he arranged fir his supporters to get in out of trouble so they could brush off any adverse comments.

Now I have said this it will make it harder for them to do this as it is in the public domain that a conspiracy is afoot!

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UPDATE from the Reverend:

 

 

I attended Tottenham Magistrates Court today to answer a summons to a liability order hearing for non payment of £2831 council tax to Haringey Council. The case was adjourned by the Magistrate at the request of both the council and myself but for different reasons. The council because they were not ready to address the issue I have raised; myself because I am awaiting the decision of the Civil Appeal Court about whether they will hear my appeal against the High Courts decision on the same issue as the one I have now raised with the magistrates.

 

I am asking the council to explain why they did not raise with their auditors, Grant Thornton, the damage done by the cumulative impact of benefit cuts, caps and council tax to the health and well-being of thousands of low income Haringey residents, in work and unemployment, when the council tax enforcement costs were being audited. I had raised the issue with Grant Thornton, Haringey's accountants, when they were auditing the enforcement costs, now £115, that are imposed by the Magistrates in bulk, sometimes 1000s at a time, on top of council tax and rent arrears and while individuals and families income is stopped for three months during a benefit sanction. They replied ”we have no remit …to opine on the impact of this policy on the well-being of those required to pay council tax”.

 

My question is "Why no remit?" when the MOJ and the DCLG have guidance issued to courts and councils specifically drawing attention to the vulnerable circumstances of residents with a disability, the seriously ill, pensioners, single parents, pregnant women, the recently bereaved and Lord Freud has written in a letter to me "Four principles have underpinned welfare reforms. First the welfare system should support the elderly, vulnerable and disabled people..."

 

http://taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/news/rev-paul-v-haringey-adjourned

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http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/14/freeloaders-free-market-britain-business-taxpayer-philip-green?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Scoop

 

 

The Rev Paul Nicholson is mentioned in this article - which is a very good read.

 

 

Last week Nicolson promised: “I shall start paying my tax again when they stop taxing benefits.” Good for him. The rest of us taxpayers should do the opposite: asking businesspeople what they’ll do to deserve our corporate welfare. That question should not just be put to Green and Ashley, but to those who run all our major corporations. Otherwise, we’re merely chasing out a few big names and hanging up a sign over Britain that reads: “Under new owners, business as usual.”

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I agree CB that it is a very good article indeed. Slightly off topic, I love the comparison between the Reverend and Sir Philip Green (BHS) !!

 

Having spent a wet Saturday afternoon reading through the documents that have been presented to the Commons Select Committee it is no wonder that the Committee are looking to recall SPG. They also want his wife to appear.

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