'Send me to jail' - Hereford man's tax bill row

Gavel (9492599)

Gavel (9492599)

First published in News by

A HEREFORD man told magistrates he would rather be “locked up” than pay his spiralling council tax bill.

Dennis Gillingham, of De Lacy Court, Eign Road, St James, took his bags to court and told the bench he would sooner go to jail on principle than pay an outstanding tax bill of just over £200.

“It’s kicking the guy that’s in the gutter,” he told Hereford Magistrates Court. “I’ve got no intention of paying it.”

As Gillingham receives benefits, he is among a group of people that as recently as three years ago had 100 per cent of their council tax waived.

Since then that subsidy has fallen to 84 per cent, with a proposal to cut it further to 76 per cent under the new budget.

Annette Apperley, representing the council, said that it has seen a considerable increase in this type of case since a rise this year.

Currently 1,122 people across Herefordshire have been issued with liability orders for unpaid council tax.

Gillingham told the court that, in real terms, for someone in his situation it means his bill has risen by nearly 90 per cent in two years.

He added: “It’s kicking the poorest so they can pay for their new bins - is that what they care about now?

“I’ve packed my bags for prison – why don’t you send me there? That’s where I’m going to end up.”

Head magistrate Celia Cundale – who did not have the sentencing powers to sent Gillingham to jail for an unpaid bill – issued a liability order for the outstanding amount.

Ms Apperely told the court: “I can only apologise for manner of that case, but I suspect there will be more and more like that over the next few months.”

Comments (7)

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1:53pm Wed 20 Aug 14

mizza21 says...

Good luck to him.
It really is kicking someone when they are down.
The sausage roll are bad enough but this is appalling considering this bloke is already on the minimum he needs to survive.
Good luck to him. It really is kicking someone when they are down. The sausage roll are bad enough but this is appalling considering this bloke is already on the minimum he needs to survive. mizza21
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Mr.Herefordian says...

Others have to pay this tax or part of it.
Others have to pay this tax or part of it. Mr.Herefordian
  • Score: 18

7:11am Thu 21 Aug 14

probono says...

Perhaps cancelling his Sky TV or mobile phone would help him save it up,
People expect the State to fund them and their lifestyles, but the well of subsidies is drying up fast.
Perhaps cancelling his Sky TV or mobile phone would help him save it up, People expect the State [that's us taxpayers] to fund them and their lifestyles, but the well of subsidies is drying up fast. probono
  • Score: 1

9:37am Thu 21 Aug 14

mizza21 says...

Err, does he have Sky TV then, or a mobile phone?

It doesn't mention that in the article. Perhaps you know something I don't Probono.
Err, does he have Sky TV then, or a mobile phone? It doesn't mention that in the article. Perhaps you know something I don't Probono. mizza21
  • Score: 14

12:15pm Thu 21 Aug 14

JohnBoym458 says...

Its very hard to comment on a case such as this without knowing the full facts......I do feel that a lot of the benefit claiming people are in a position to contribute something towards the running of the city...However......
Just what are we paying for these days besides new rubbish bins??? It certainly isn't the police, or public services..........
Its very hard to comment on a case such as this without knowing the full facts......I do feel that a lot of the benefit claiming people are in a position to contribute something towards the running of the city...However...... Just what are we paying for these days besides new rubbish bins??? It certainly isn't the police, or public services.......... JohnBoym458
  • Score: 10

8:29pm Thu 21 Aug 14

RogerLFC says...

The article obviously doesn't analyse the financial situation of Mr. Gillingham. I assume he rents accommodation which might be paid for by Housing Benefit I suppose ...

It doesn't seem unreasonable that he has to make a sacrifice to contribute 16% of what others have to pay ... And if he is living alone then that would be 16% of a discounted rate ...

The outstanding bill of £200 ish works out at about £4 a week liability for 12 months owed Council Tax ... Anyone should be able to factor that into planning a budget ...
The article obviously doesn't analyse the financial situation of Mr. Gillingham. I assume he rents accommodation which might be paid for by Housing Benefit I suppose ... It doesn't seem unreasonable that he has to make a sacrifice to contribute 16% of what others have to pay ... And if he is living alone then that would be 16% of a discounted rate ... The outstanding bill of £200 ish works out at about £4 a week liability for 12 months owed Council Tax ... Anyone should be able to factor that into planning a budget ... RogerLFC
  • Score: 0

10:14am Tue 26 Aug 14

mizza21 says...

RogerLFC wrote:
The article obviously doesn't analyse the financial situation of Mr. Gillingham. I assume he rents accommodation which might be paid for by Housing Benefit I suppose ...

It doesn't seem unreasonable that he has to make a sacrifice to contribute 16% of what others have to pay ... And if he is living alone then that would be 16% of a discounted rate ...

The outstanding bill of £200 ish works out at about £4 a week liability for 12 months owed Council Tax ... Anyone should be able to factor that into planning a budget ...
Have you ever spent an extended period on the sausage roll Roger?
It is hard.
They send you on 3 month slave labour schemes which you don't have a choice but to do and if you don't they sanction you.
There is constant pressure on you to prove you are actively looking for work.
The money you get is the minimum you can survive on and is very difficult to live on without good budgeting skills.

You have the stress of their sword of damacles constantly over you while having to skilfully manage a tight budget with all of the social stigma and low self esteem which goes with being out of work.

Unsurprisingly, these are the people which get into money trouble and self harm through alchohol or drug abuse because they see themselves as worthless.

For you to then suggest they sensibly save 4 pounds a week from your high horse shows a lack of compassion.
[quote][p][bold]RogerLFC[/bold] wrote: The article obviously doesn't analyse the financial situation of Mr. Gillingham. I assume he rents accommodation which might be paid for by Housing Benefit I suppose ... It doesn't seem unreasonable that he has to make a sacrifice to contribute 16% of what others have to pay ... And if he is living alone then that would be 16% of a discounted rate ... The outstanding bill of £200 ish works out at about £4 a week liability for 12 months owed Council Tax ... Anyone should be able to factor that into planning a budget ...[/p][/quote]Have you ever spent an extended period on the sausage roll Roger? It is hard. They send you on 3 month slave labour schemes which you don't have a choice but to do and if you don't they sanction you. There is constant pressure on you to prove you are actively looking for work. The money you get is the minimum you can survive on and is very difficult to live on without good budgeting skills. You have the stress of their sword of damacles constantly over you while having to skilfully manage a tight budget with all of the social stigma and low self esteem which goes with being out of work. Unsurprisingly, these are the people which get into money trouble and self harm through alchohol or drug abuse because they see themselves as worthless. For you to then suggest they sensibly save 4 pounds a week from your high horse shows a lack of compassion. mizza21
  • Score: 5

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