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Jailed for standing up for her rights ! Welcome to the UK!

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Jailed for standing up for her rights ! Welcome to the UK!

Old 26th Sep 2005, 09:34
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TheFlyingSquirrel
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Jailed for standing up for her rights ! Welcome to the UK!

from Yahoo news....

Council Tax Rebel, 73, Faces Jail Term
Monday September 26, 07:19 AM




A 73-year-old pensioner is expecting to serve a seven day prison sentence for refusing to pay her council tax.Sylvia Hardy, from Exeter, says she can no longer afford to pay her tax bill and is pushing the government to change the system.She owes £53.71 from last year plus £10 costs.

In June, a court gave her two months to pay up - or spend a week behind bars.

Mrs Hardy has refused to pay the arrears in protest at above-inflation increases in council tax.

She believes the elderly now pay far too much in relation to their incomes.

"The hardest thing for me in prison will be the food," Mrs Hardy said.

"I have a number of food allergies, so I will not be eating much for a week."

But she added: "If what we endure is going to help achieve our aim we will all think it is worth it."

"Very often people have had to take drastic action to get bad laws changed."
 
Old 26th Sep 2005, 09:40
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Where do I send the cheque to cover her tax arrears & costs?

Jordan
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 11:53
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She owes £53.71 from last year plus £10 costs
And that justifies a prison sentence? Even if only 7 days?

Disgusting.

I hope the judge responsible has his/her house broken into/car stolen/gets mugged so that they may understand the concept of a real crime.

Why is it no-one ever questions the councils who are so p*ss-poor at budget management that they feel it necessary to increase tax way ahead of inflation?
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 12:05
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Agree with the general disgust, but she must have a few quid - those on basic pension don't pay council tax.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 12:08
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Well, my salary does not rise in line with council tax inflation! I am sure whatever pension she gets doesn't either!

As I said, it is the financial numpties in the councils who should be taken to task. Council tax rises by double figure percentages every single year, mine certainly has. And yet local council services do not improve and in many cases reduce!
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 12:18
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It´s not the money, it´s the principle and a political statement. Multiple people have offered to pay the cost, she has refused to accept. Accordingly, the magistrates really had no choice.

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Sylvia Hardy, 73, from Exeter, Devon, was jailed for seven days by the city’s magistrates for defying an earlier court demand to pay £53.71 arrears.

She described the tax as a "daylight robbery" and, in court, told magistrates that the charge for her two-bedroomed flat had risen by 50 per cent since 1995, while her pension had only increased by 1.7 per cent a year. Miss Hardy said she was making a stand both for herself and hundreds of thousands of pensioners forced into financial difficulties. She explained in court that when the increase in her annual charge again outstripped the rise in her occupational pension last year, she refused to make up the difference and instead calculated her own bill linked to her pension. The shortfall was £53.71.

She told the court: "Letters and lobbying to MPs and councillors have fallen on deaf ears and all that is left is to take direct action, whatever the consequences. Throughout history, people have fought to change laws which are unjust, and often the only way to do this is to break the law or ignore it and to accept the punishment. That is why I am appearing here today to accept my punishment for desperately trying to salvage my ever-reducing quality of life. We are trying to bring home to central government and local government that if something is not done very soon to put right the many injustices the people of this country have to suffer year on year, the normally docile English people will say enough is enough and will all gather together in mass civil disobedience."

Miss Hardy said she had sensed for some time the anger which was in evidence in the community, adding: "I feel that an uprising is not far away." She went on: "If the sacrifice of my liberty for seven days does anything to force politicians to begin to serve those who elected them to office, it will be worthwhile."........

Magistrates, however, were unmoved. They told the spinster that she was not a martyr, adding that if others followed her example, the country would "descend into anarchy" - a state about which she would be the first to complain.

Louis Crowden, the chairman of the bench, said: "You have been given every chance to pay and have wilfully refused to do so. You may think you are a martyr but you are not, you are a foolish person.".......

The court had made Miss Hardy the subject of a 56-day suspended committal order in June. When she had still not settled the bill by the August 15 expiry date she put herself in line for the seven-day jail term. She was told that a telephone offer of payment for her outstanding arrears had been made, but she politely refused it.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 12:25
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A lonely voice today but give it another 10-15 years. Most of us will be "Mrs. Hardys" then...
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 12:27
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A cynic might suggest that the sympathy for this lady breaking the law would not have been forthcoming from the same sources for those refusing to pay the poll tax around 15 years ago. Good job I'm not cynical!

For what it is worth I don't think that there is a fair system of local tax that isn't directly related to ability to pay - I believe local income tax should be the system. That system will also generate complaints, but at least they would be mostly from those whose ability to pay isn't the issue. Many argue that local income tax would mean local services being paid for by those who use them least, but that is true of any tax system, whether local or national. In my opinion it would be the least worst choice.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 12:35
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I'm not happy with council tax rises above inflation either, but that is not the issue here.


The thread is entitled "Jailed for standing up for her rights".

What right has she got to underpay a council tax demand?
Her age has nothing to do with it. Wonder if the views on here would have been the same if she was a 17 year old single mother.

I must be a miserable old git, but to my mind, the courts were very fair to her. She was only required to pay her arrears plus a measly £10 costs, which would in no way would cover the expense of the proceedings.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 14:07
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Don't know how it works in England but the scally’s in Scotland will often opt to take a 7 day prison sentence as an alternative to paying a fine.

This 7 days is automatically commuted to 3.5 days. Scally turns himself in to the police on Thursday and is taken to prison. Because there are no releases over the week-end (no staff) he is released on a Friday morning.

He has served his 7 days and his fine is wiped out.

The old girl could do the same
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 14:09
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Curious Pax this lady did in fact pay her council tax, but witheld a small portion of it, which she considered was unfair (council tax rises above inflation etc). This is vastly different to those who refused to pay anything at all
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 14:16
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Mr Chips,
They both decided to withold some or all of their tax as a political statement. That is their right, but there are consequences.

I think CND supporters witheld the proportion of their income tax in the 80s that they believed matched the proportion used for nuclear weapons - they also got short shrift.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 14:18
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as a local govt employee it irritates me when people blame the council when council tax goes up but have no understanding of how local govt is financed. Local authorities get most of their money from central govt and if this is not sufficient then the council tax is the only method by which income can be raised.
Money from central govt has to be 'ringfenced' for certain essential functions such as schools / health / emergency services /social services etc

A Conservative council in the south has no choice when its funding from central govt is reduced.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 14:52
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Anyone who has never owned anything has the right idea in the UK. I applaud people who go through there entire lives owning nothing. What you posses, posseses you ! As Dickens said, keep you property portable - I like that ! Good luck all you freeloaders - you're the smart ones !

TFS ( rant over ! )
 
Old 26th Sep 2005, 15:22
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Sorry, the old bint got what was coming to her....... Just imagine if all the honest, law abiding citizens in the Country objected to this Government, and by definition the blood sucking Councils, extracting the maximum cash from us for relatively little improvement in services..... just imagine !

Most OAP who have looked after themselves and paid their way all their lives are on rapidly eroding fixed incomes thanks to Brown and his tax and spend council acolytes.

Which explains the savage, vindictive sentence on an old lady, for that is what it is. If she had been a worthless, burglarising scroat she would have walked with a paltry fine with no intent to pay, without conscience and with no fear of being pursued by an otherwise sluggish legal system.

Last edited by Pilgrim101; 27th Sep 2005 at 06:54.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 15:31
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My mam (we don't have mums where I come from) is elderly, stone deaf and registered disabled. Six months back she had a nasty fall which made her even weaker than usual. During her recovery she missed paying a council tax demand and follow-up bill. Last week she received a summons to court.

She booked a taxi (the only way she can travel) and went down to the council offices to explain. The guy behind the desk got his supervisor. The supervisor made someone fetch a nice chair so that my mam could sit down and then went off to read up on her case. Ten minutes later he comes back and tells her that he has cancelled the interest payments and extra charges for the late payments and that the summons has been dropped. My mam, who is a law abiding type, wrote out a cheque for the original bill and left feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

Local government people get a lot of stick. But this guy treated an old lady with dignity, realised that she was not in debt because of any fault of her own and cleared things up immediately. I reckon he should get a knighthood.

As I say, slightly off topic, but it's an old-lady-and-council-tax story with a nice ending.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 16:52
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Whilst I do sympathise with less well-off pensioners to some degree, I believe the judge made the right decision to send this woman to prison. She decided to make a stand against something she feels is wrong and she gets my repsect for having the courage of her convictions to take it as far as she has, but the law is the law and she's broken it. Commit the crime and do the time.

I wonder if there would be as much sympathy if it was a young man trying to support a family and mortgage on a minimum wage being thrown in the clink? Some folks are allowing their emotional response (to protect the elderly) to cloud their judgements with this case.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 18:27
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Stop talking bollocks all of you - imagine if it was your grandma they were chucking to the wolves ! The woman is right to defend herself and her diginity. We have no choice but to watch these local councils squander our money time and time again on political correctness and wastage schemes - these are the only people guaranteed a pension - because whatever happens, we have to stump up for it ! I hope the old girl brings the system crashing down and helps to stop the rich/poor divide becoming wider than it was 100 years ago ! ( we're already at 60 ! )

TFS
 
Old 26th Sep 2005, 19:18
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TFS has the right idea - what we should be demanding is that councils HALVE their costs. Not by reducing services, but by getting rid of waste and inefficiency.

In the private sector, it's not unusual for suppliers to be given such targets - provide the same product or service for 5% or 10% less than last year.

Let's demand this of our councils.

As for "the law is the law and she's broken it" I've just watched an episode of Rogue Traders where there were a couple of guys selling unroadworthy cars with clocked mileages and dodgy MOTs. Did they get locked up ? Did they f*ck.

People could have been killed, and who do we lock up - pensioners !

This country's gone to hell in a handbasket. Me, I'm off to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Let's face it, it'd make more sense than this lot.
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Old 26th Sep 2005, 19:29
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I believe the judge made the right decision to send this woman to prison.
Presumably all the judges who hand out impotent ASBOs to yobs who then laughingly return to crime get a full round of applause from you?

People think it is right for this women to be in prison?!? I really didn't realise just how far down the toilet this country has gone.

And in response to this <edited because some poor little diddums found it "offensive"> comment:
I wonder if there would be as much sympathy if it was a young man trying to support a family and mortgage on a minimum wage being thrown in the clink?
Yes, there would be as much sympathy from me!

Last edited by eal401; 27th Sep 2005 at 12:01.
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