Haringey resident Reverend Paul Nicolson is refusing to pay his council tax in protest at the cuts to council tax benefit and other government welfare 'reforms' that are making many people poorer and pushing them further into debt and poverty. He has said that “civil disobedience is morally defensible if it highlights laws which are morally indefensible”.

He has been summoned to appear for a liability order hearing on 9.30 AM on Friday 2 August at Tottenham Magistrates Court (map), where there will be a protest and to support him and a 'speak-out' for those affected by government policy to share their stories.

 

Please come and show your support and solidarity! The demonstration will last from 9:30 until 10:30, but come along for as long as you can if you can't spare an hour.

Paul Nicolson said in a statement:

"At my appearance before Magistrates on Friday, I will oppose the application for a liability order by Haringey Council enabling them to enforce my council tax and costing me £125. I am refusing to pay the tax in sympathy and solidarity with many benefit claimants in Haringey, who cannot pay 20% of the council tax, let alone the £125 price of a liability order, while their financial hardship is getting worse and worse due to the benefit cuts and caps. Civil disobedience is morally defensible when the laws it highlights are morally indefensible."

Those laws and policies include...

Abolishing council tax rebates: 100% Council tax rebates end from April 2013. Those who receive rebates will now have to pay at least 20% of this out of our other benefits or wages.

The “bedroom tax”: If you have one spare room, your housing benefit gets cut by 14%. Two spare and it’s cut by 25%. Its estimated 1,296 people will be affected in Haringey alone and residents have begun organising. Last week there was an anti-bedroom tax meeting in Noel Park. Across the country there have been major demonstrations in Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and elsewhere.

The benefit cap: If you’ve got children and lost your job the most you can get for the dole and housing benefit will be £500 (£350 for single people). Politicians claim nobody should get more benefits that the average wage of £500 a week. They forget to mention that those of us with kids or high rents earning £500 get support if we need it as well. They want the poor to fight amongst themselves. This was brought to Haringey, Bromley, Croydon and Enfield in Haringey where it has already seriously affected people and it is now being introduced across the country.

Disability Living Allowance: This will be replaced by something called Personal Independence Payments. It all sounds good until you realise the main reason it’s coming in is to cut the amount the disabled can get. Disabled People Against Cuts are holding a week of action from late August to early September to fight against this and all the other “neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems, leaving us without much hope for our futures - or our children's.” They are also currently demanding the that government maintains the Independent Living Fund.

Support civil disobedience against austerity policies:

9:30 AM, Friday 2 August
Tottenham Magistrates Court, Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17 6RT (click here for a map)

The court is just opposite Bruce Castle park. Buses: 318, 243, 123, or it's a short walk from Tottenham High Road (junction with Lordship Lane and Lansdowne Road).

Take note: it is not at the Crown court near Wood Green!