September 08, 2005

Just heard about this on the radio

Just heard about this on the radio (Radio 2): Tax rebel vicar is sent to jail:

"A retired vicar has been jailed for 28 days for refusing to pay what he called an "unfair" increase in council tax. The Reverend Alfred Ridley, 71, of Towcester, Northants, was jailed for ignoring a court order that he repay £691 in arrears to his local authority. He had been given a suspended sentence in July but refused to comply with the court order to repay the money. Ridley was told by Towcester Magistrates there was "no alternative" but to jail him. Magistrate John Woollett said: "We have been very patient with you, we have tried to encourage you to pay this money." The dispute arose when the council announced it was increasing its annual tax by 8.5% in one go. Ridley and his wife Una refused to pay a rise above the rate of inflation..."

Tee hee. A stubborn vicar refuses to pay his council tax and a big furore has come about because some people are incensed that the council has the nerve to put a retired vicar in jail. Someone even called for all pensioners to march on London in protest. That'd be a sight to see eh?

Anyways, I'm finding the story much amusing (especially as the initial amount under disupte was £40 odd then it just crept up with non-payment). The vicar knew what he was doing and what could happen if he refused to pay. Like it or not council tax is the law. Fair or unfair. If you're a pensioner then it means, unfortunately, you have to move into a smaller property so you pay less tax. You already get a pensioners discount anyway.

He broke the law, he's being punished. I admire his stand but nothing will change.