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Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
26-09-2005, 02:41 PM
Post: #1
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax

What do you think of this ?

A retired social worker has been jailed for a week for refusing to pay her council tax arrears. Sylvia Hardy is the first woman pensioner to be sent to prison for the offence.The 73-year-old from Exeter, Devon, failed to pay her arrears of £53.71 from last year - plus £10 costs.

In June she was given 56 days to settle the bill - or face a week behind bars.

The chairman of Exeter Magistrates' Court chairman Louis Crowden showed little sympathy in jailing her.

"If everyone paid their debts on the basis of what they thought appropriate this country would descend into anarchy," he said.

He added: "You may think you are a martyr but you are not."

Ms Hardy was accompanied to court by banner-waving supporters.

She said she had withheld part of her council tax payments in protest at a 50% increase in bills over the past 10 years.

She told the court: "In one year alone the increase was 18.5% and in another 10%.

"On top of this tax, we are required to pay the highest water rate in the country."

Ms Hardy said many elderly people were struggling to pay their household bills.

"Undoubtedly this is totally unfair and has got to stop," she added.

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26-09-2005, 02:46 PM
Post: #2
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
ooh I think that is mean.There is nothing to be gained by jailing an OAP..
I pay taxes, and I would DEFINITELY resent others getting away with it IF they were earning a decent amount and just chancing their arms.
But it sounds like this old dear had problems paying it.
Should'nt pensioners be exempt from paying council tax and stuff?
Don't they get things like free electricity and fuel etc.
I personally don't begrudge them that.

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26-09-2005, 02:49 PM
Post: #3
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
Aondeag Wrote:Don't they get things like free electricity and fuel etc.

Unfortunately not, they something like £20 taken off their bills during winter.

I can remember that my Grandma would only turn one bar on the fire during winter as she was skint and wouldnt accept money from anyone. She couldnt afford to have all three bars on the fire, as the bill was too high.

In the end my mum called the electric board and paid a lump sum towards the heating costs and made her turn the fire up.

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26-09-2005, 02:55 PM
Post: #4
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
That's really sad:I can imagine that some old people would try and cut the cost of bills and skimp on the heating to save a few pounds.Its terrible that they have to resort to that.The state has a duty to help the vulnerable.
I know some people probably wont' agree with that, but I really believe it.
I just can't see what they hope to achieve by jailing this woman.
Are they trying to make an example of her?
I bet that judge's mother is so proud!!!! Not!!!

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26-09-2005, 03:48 PM
Post: #5
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
73 year old £53 in debt goes to jail.

Repeated sex offender gets out on bail and kills a teenager.

Tell me, where is the justice?

The pensioner is still going to £53 in debt, going to jail isn't going to make her pay. I have a real issue with people going jail for unpaid fines, especially when they struggle to pay it in the first place. It just doesn't make sense! I appreciate that things have to paid but this is just a step too far.

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26-09-2005, 03:50 PM
Post: #6
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
Also - how much will one week in jail cost ? Im sure it will be a lot more than £53.

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26-09-2005, 04:19 PM
Post: #7
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
Jail is used as a deterrent which is I suppose the reason for jailing her. I don't think her age or status is relevant.

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26-09-2005, 04:40 PM
Post: #8
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
That is just not right. Poor lady.
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26-09-2005, 05:10 PM
Post: #9
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
survivorfan Wrote:Jail is used as a deterrent which is I suppose the reason for jailing her. I don't think her age or status is relevant.

I get your point SF but what annoys me is that there are people who commit real crime that ultimately effects other people and they get off scot-free whilst you are debt to the Government to the tune of £53 and you get jailed.

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26-09-2005, 05:22 PM
Post: #10
Jail for 73 year old over Council Tax
I agree about "real" criminals not getting as severe a sentence as they should - muggers getting tagged for example but .........

in this case the lady knew exactly what was going to happen when she decided not to pay her council tax (she could afford it by the way - but she was worried about future increases over the rate of opinion - and I'm sure that there were plenty of people who were willing to pay the £53 for her). She decided to go to jail to highlight her cause - so, it would seem, that she got exactly what she wanted.

It was a political act so one should not feel sorry for her - and she seems to have got all the publicity that she hoped for.

Just as a matter of interest why did you not post something similar whan a 71 year old retired vicar was jailed for two weeks last week for doing exactly the same thing?

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