It is that time of year when your Parish, Town, District and County Council’s turn their minds to setting the Council Tax amount we will pay for 17/18.
Council Tax debt continues to be the number one debt in the UK. In 2014 according to The Citizens Advice Bureau 42 per cent of people getting help from Citizens Advice regarding Council Tax were employed, compared to 28 per cent unemployed.
Council tax debt remains the No 1 debt in the UK. Here in Shepway between 2003 and Oct 31st 2016 Shepway District Council (SDC) issued 118,795 summonses to court, for non-payment of Council Tax. Included in these were former SDC Cllrs Emily Arnold & David Wimble and more recently sitting Cllr Claire Jeffrey (pictured).
There are many reasons why people get summonsed to court for not paying their council tax and in our eyes that doesn’t make them bad people. We can all have financial problems, so much so Private Eye have mapped the Cllrs who have had problems with their Council Tax
However, that said their is one person who lives amongst us, well sometimes who will not be having these problem, well not until after the next election possibly.
Damian Collins MP (pictured) has billed the taxpayer for his rented flats in London for the last four financial years and he has billed more than any other Kent MP, as the graph below shows.
You can see he just pips Helen Grant MP by £9.
We can see his Council Tax has been rising in accordance with the 2% increases council’s are allowed. However, it is clear from the graph below Damian has moved, as council tax cannot rise by 16%, the only logical conclusion is he has moved to a more expensive pad in Lambeth (London) to whom he pays his Council Tax according to IPSA; which by the way some MP’s believe say stands for I’m Paid Sod All.
It is not so much what Damian can claim that we should be looking out for; it’s what he feels entitled to claim. What does that £9006 represent?
Considering that nearly 120,000 people were summonsed to court in Shepway for non payment of council tax over the last 15 years, an average of nearly 7500 yearly, Damian has no problems as the we the people will pay, even when he moves to a more expensive pad. Also, since 2003, SDC have used the bailiffs on 20,090 occasions according to an FOI response. That is a yearly average of 1340 people who are having the bailiff knock at the door to take their possessions. Or to put it another way, nearly four people every day of the year, for the last 15 years.
Working people in Shepway are struggling and as the Citizens Advice Bureau points out 42% of people who came to them regarding Council Tax debt were working people.
It is is clear to us that Damian does not truly understand what the sum of £9006 represents. He is entitled to claim and he does, by the shed load. He doesn’t have to, it is not a necessity, but hey Damian is such a wonderful guy he doesn’t seem to realise that working people in his constituency are suffering, and Council Tax debt is only likely to increase across the district in the forthcoming year, if previous figures are anything to go by. But Damian doesn’t live among us, he lives in the Westminster bubble, where it is obvious Damian thinks and believes he is entitled to claim as much as he can while his own constituents suffer by the bucket load and all to often for reasons beyond their control, just ask former Conservative SDC Cllrs, Wimble & Arnold and sitting Conservative Cllr Claire Jeffrey.
If you are struggling or having problems with paying your council tax please contact SDC on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01303 853000
Shepway Citizens Advice Bureau or stepchange all of whom can offer advice and guidance with any Council Tax debt you may have.