Anyone who has ever had trouble paying their Council Tax, been hassled over the Single Occupancy Discount or chased over wrongly-issued demands will know the significance of £103.
This is the charge the City Council makes for summons to the Magistrate Courts to make you ‘liable to pay the tax’. Why they have to do this is a bit of a MYSTERY to those who live by common sense: after all, they sent you a bill, so don’t they know who should be paying it?
But what the Council doesn’t tell us is how they come to that odd – but precise – figure of £103. The BRISTOLIAN can reveal that the actual summons costs just £3, with the Magistrates Courts taking £25 in expenses. And what a surprise… Bristol City Council rakes off a massive £75 for itself. For doing what exactly?!
No wonder BCC has been flinging these liability orders out like confetti over the Bristol public. In 2007-8 the Council raked in a WHOPPING £1.6 MILLION from these threatening summonses – and with the sharp rise in snooping on Council Tax payers (including the hiring of extra investigators) of recent years, you can expect it’s increased since then.
It seems to us, what with Con-Dem cuts and costs of uneconomic ‘witch-hunts’ on the public, BCC needs to find other ways of raising cash. What better then than to clog up the over-stretched courts with liability orders – wasting all our time and money – whilst making £75 a shot. Whether the Council Tax-payers are guilty or innocent, it’s a good earner. If it was done by anyone other than the council it would be called for what it really is – a protection racket based on intimidation and threats.
It’s not all bad news; one angry Council Tax payer who was WITCH-HUNTED FOR 18 MONTHS by BCC over his single person discount contacted The BRISTOLIAN. Like so many, he was found to be completely in the clear and so refused to pay the £103 charge: “I didn’t see why I should be charged for the privilege of being found innocent,” he told us. Standing up to the council’s bullying worked – BCC backed off and waived the costs.
So fellow Bristolians, complain and refuse to pay the £103: it’s just a money-making scam designed to scare you into coughing up for no good reason.