PERSISTENT COUNCIL-TAX NON-PAYERS SHOULDN’T BE LET-OFF PRISON – SAYS VALE

The Vale of Glamorgan Council HQ in Barry

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is pushing back against moves by the Welsh Labour Government which wants to be more lenient with people who persistently refuse to pay their council tax.

New rules are set to be introduced ny the Welsh Labour Government next year which will mean people who refuse to pay council tax will be let off the hook and will no longer be locked up in jail for three months – as they can be now.

Welsh Labour Government Finance Minister Mark Drakeford – a former probation officer – wants to go soft on people who refuse to pay council tax – many of whom are Labour voters.

The Jeremy-Corbyn-supporting Welsh Labour Government finance secretary Mark Drakeford has already reassured Labour voters that “getting into debt is not a crime”  and has declared that the sanction of imprisonment is an outdated and disproportionate response to a civil debt issue.”

On September 3rd a Welsh Labour Government “consultation”  requesting views on the removal of the sanction of imprisonment for the non-payment of council tax came to an end.

The Welsh Labour Government is sounding out plans to go easy on persistent council-tax defaulters – …most of whom are thought to vote Labour.

Some observers see the consultation as part of a move by the Welsh Labour Government  to go easy on Labour’s core voters and soften the limited sanctions that local councils are allowed to take against persistent and determined council-tax defaulters.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet is to discuss next week a motion declaring that it DOES NOT support the removal of the sanction of imprisonment  – a sanction currently available to all councils in Wales.

The Vale Council says if the Welsh Labour Government removes the sanction of imprisonment for persistent council-tax defaulters  “there would be a potential reduction in the collection of council tax and non-domestic rates should the Welsh Government remove the sanction of imprisonment. “

Currently – under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the  Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 all Welsh councils can commence committal proceedings in relation to non-payment of council tax and non-domestic rates. Already however,  magistrates can only jail non-payers of there has been “wilful refusal or culpable neglect to pay the amount outstanding”.

The Vale Council says it “actively pursues debtors who have received reminders and court orders requiring them to pay their arrears of council tax, but who, despite being able to pay, have not done so. Action at this level is only taken as last resort with the numbers committed to prison being very low.

No one has been jailed for non-payment of council tax in the Vale of Glamorgan since January 2017 – but the council wants to keep the option of the threat of imprisonment up its sleeve when such action is called for.

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15 Responses to PERSISTENT COUNCIL-TAX NON-PAYERS SHOULDN’T BE LET-OFF PRISON – SAYS VALE

  1. cariad says:

    What will happen if we all stop paying our council tax, there has got to be some kind of retribution otherwise why should any of us pay. nobody likes paying council tax but there is really no choice.

  2. Lesley says:

    Maybe it would be wise to look at why so many people are getting in to debt since the Conservatives took over number 10?

  3. Clare says:

    Non paymentbif council tax doesn’t warrant prison. Perhaps they could do community service and do the jobs the council neglect despite the hefty tax e.g. cutting grass in Penarth cemetery , litter picking, weed treatment and sweeping roads

  4. Archie says:

    A good and positive idea Clare

  5. Ralph says:

    And this is the council that spent this money on an unsafe structure built without planning permission or any form of consultation.
    Who should be in jail ?.

  6. Christopher David says:

    Everyone (with exception for the non functional who need community help) should pay and the bailiffs should be sent in. But prison is a complete waste of time of most people and the public. Hefty community service with no excuses would be better. Chain gang if necessary.

  7. Peter King says:

    Imprisonment is, and always has been, a last resort. Imprisonment is already not an option for failure to pay Council Tax in Scotland and Northern Ireland so it looks as though England is likely to be the only home nation which is out of step. The arguments for and against are, as always, complex, but even Chris David acknowledges that prison “is a complete waste of time”.

  8. Ralph says:

    There are without doubt many families who struggle financially to pay the council tax rather than those who simply refuse (however given the way the VOG spend our money they may have a point).
    Sending in bailiffs only heaps more hardship on these families by taking away goods that are auctioned off for a pittance and does nothing to improve their situation.
    It might be that community service commensurate with the default may be an option but prison certainly should not be.
    To my mind what should be done is that a more sympathetic assessment of these families circumstances be carried out and those with the means (the more well off amongst us) should pay more to balance out.

  9. Bennett says:

    Its the people that brought this tax in that need prison

  10. Edward Davies says:

    I would have thought it very rare that anyone gets sent to prison for non-payment of Council Tax. Many low income people receive council tax benefit anyway and so would not have to pay anything towards this. I think Community Service is a much better alternative than prison which could involve someone loosing their job.

  11. Council tax should be scraped anyway like the bedroom tax Tories cruel way getting money .

  12. Ralph says:

    You’re scraping the barrel

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