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Civil disobedience by Rev Paul Nicolson

Reverend Paul Nicolson is carrying out an act of civil disobedience in solidarity with everyone in the UK suffering mental or physical ill-health due to inadequate incomes and debt. In particular he points out that rents and council tax enforcement are burning up the lowest incomes, leaving insufficient money to pay for food, fuel, clothes and transport.

Reverend Nicolson has been summoned to appear at:

Highbury Corner Magistrates Court
51 Holloway Road
London N7 8JA
at 1.30pm on Thursday 13th July

There will be a demonstration outside the courts from 12.00 to 1.30pm

Reverend Nicolson is refusing to pay his council tax to Haringey Council, as an act of civil disobedience, in solidarity with everyone in the UK suffering mental or physical ill-health due to grossly inadequate incomes and debt in work, self employment, unemployment or zero hours contracts, which are taxed by local authorities, and particularly those who have been forced by national and local government to go to a food bank.

As Reverend Nicolson makes clear below he has a powerful case for his act of civil disobedience:

National and local government are heaping coal onto the housing fires that burn the minimum incomes needed for food, fuel, transport and other necessities and for the well-being of the poorest tenants. This is a cry for the prevention of ill health among the poorest people in the UK created by the damagingly low level of their lowest incomes shredded by national government since 2010 and taxed by local government since 2013.

How many more infant deaths of babies of the poorest mothers, and how much more diminished life expectancy, do there have to be before national and local governments can hear the overwhelming and undeniable evidence that low incomes impact on mental and physical health. 

An unprecedented 52,400 more deaths were reported by the ONS to have occurred in the year to June 2015 as compared to the same period a year before.

The number of admissions to hospital for malnutrition increased by 50% from 4,883 in 2010 to 7,366 in 2015

The government has cut the lowest incomes and allowed the UK housing market to increase rents. Housing has become the cash cow for landlords, land owners and national and intentional developers. Rents have increased both with the market and also because housing benefit is cut by the benefit cap and the bedroom tax. .

Therefore the capacity of the lowest shredded incomes needed to buy food, water, fuel, clothes and other necessities, in order to maintain good health, is further reduced by ever increasing rents in the UK's corrupt housing market.

For decades land owners have bent their financial viability assessments to reduce the number of truly affordable homes for rent to be able to sell more new homes on the open market. So much so that the Financial Times was able to report on the 6th July that "Regeneration of 50 council estates led to a net loss of 8,000 rented homes for poorer residents" (page 3). And the Daily Telegraph to report on the 11th July that "One in three homes with planning permission aren't being built".

UK land, with the encouragement of UK government, is treated as a commodity in an international free market by the rich and powerful for private profit - they grab the land therefore landless tenants have fewer an fewer homes to live in.

Local Councillors' ignorance of the workings of the UK land and housing market has led them to team up with international property predators Lend Lease. A majority of Haringey Councillors have therefore given the trend against landless tenants' chances of a finding truly affordable home a very substantial boost to the detriment of their own councils' tenants. The Council is trying to solve the national housing crisis by giving land to kind of international predator that is causing the crisis and so hurting their council tenants, disrupting their children's education and destroying their communities.

The forgotten ethical principle reads as follows. "Land is a gift of nature which exists to provide shelter, food, fuel and clothes for all". It has also been forgotten by the Church of England, a substantial land owner, for whom it is rephrased to begin "Land is a gift of a loving and generous God..."

Going to the magistrates court

I have raised an objection to Haringey Councils 2016/17 accounts with the Auditors, BDO LLP55 Baker Street, ​London W1U 7EU asking them:

  1. to audit the £102 summons costs plus £13 for the liability order​
  2. an​d​ queried the sense in enforcing the tax against people who cannot pay so failing to collect over £2 million a year

I will be asking the Highbury Corner Magistrates when and how they checked the costs of £115 they award this year against, mostly impoverished, council tax defaulters, 27,270 times in 2016-17.

​The bailiffs were dispatched by Haringey council to the doorsteps of Haringey residents 11,492 times in 2016-17​

There is a comprehensive description of how £73.10 single adult unemployment benefit has been reducing in value since 1979 on the TAP website. Its increases were frozen in 2011 It cannot afford 20% of the council tax, let alone court costs (£115) ​and bailiffs fees (up to £400)​ introduced in 2013. It also has to pay rent due to the bedroom tax and the benefit cap..

Haringey Council taxes the benefit incomes of its poorest residents in some of the UK's most deprived wards, with low life expectancy and highest risk of low birth weight.