Clergyman continues protest against benefit changes and poverty

By staff writers
January 2, 2014

A clergyman who has refused to pay his council tax to protest against benefit changes hitting the poorest has vowed to keep campaigning in 2014.

Anti-poverty activist the Rev Paul Nicolson, founder of Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, which helps people tackle debt, has challenged Haringey Magistrates Court in London over its decision to approve thousands of liability orders against people who cannot pay their council tax.

Mr Nicolson, who is also involved in the Taxpayers Against Poverty group, wants the court can justify charging £125 court costs against people who are already in debt. The charge simply makes the situation worse by compounding the liability, he points out.

Mr Nicholson, aged 80, declared: “The court has refused to answer my questions and has called my application futile and academic.

“I am incandescent about the merciless and careless way the magistrates and council enforce the council tax.”

“Something has to be done to prevent the enforcement of council tax by Haringey magistrates and council against impossibly low incomes.

“Household incomes which are already paying rent have been shredded because of the coalition's caps and cuts, with the addition of £125 court costs and hundreds of bailiffs' fees added to the arrears.”

Mr Nicolson is holding a meeting at North London Community House for people who have been affected by benefit cuts and charges. Free advice about how to cope during difficult financial times will also be offered.

* The meeting will take place at 7pm on Monday 6 January at 22 Moorefield Rd, London N17 6PY.

* Taxpayers Against Poverty:

* Zacchaeus 2000:


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