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Council-tax protest

by
31 May 2013

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From the Revd Paul Nicolson
Sir, - A decision to embark on civil disobedience has to be personal, never to be a recommendation to others to do the same, and be based on an injustice that is so bad that breaking the law is justified.

My decision to refuse to pay my council tax, and face the consequences, is a result of more than 30 years' trying to help our poorest fellow-citizens cope with the debts that arise from poverty incomes, unaffordable housing, and a regressive council tax. That is 30 years of seeing their distress and vicariously sharing it. The system is unjust because it forces people into debt, homelessness, and hunger by failing to match statutory minimum incomes with the minimum prices and quantities that have to be paid in the market to achieve healthy living.

Successive governments have allowed house prices and rents to become unaffordable for citizens receiving middle and the lowest incomes. The taxpayer, through the state, should prevent individuals', families', and pensioners' falling into homelessness and hunger; but we do not. For the past 20 years, I and many others have presented the robust evidence needed to create policies for adequate minimum incomes and affordable housing, but it has been ignored by governments who claim to want evidence-based policies.

Hunger, homelessness, unmanageable debts, and ill health are being imposed on the decent and poorest citizens of Britain. There is no need for people to be made hungry by government in this wealthy nation to reduce the deficit. Civil disobedience is a mild response in the face of statutory violence.

PAUL NICOLSON
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road
London N17 0BF

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