Pensioner in court after tax protest

A PENSIONER who was taken to court because he refused to pay his council tax in 10 monthly instalments said it was worth the fight to have his say.Tom Sully, of Woodlands, Chelmondiston, refused to pay £29.

A PENSIONER who was taken to court because he refused to pay his council tax in 10 monthly instalments said it was worth the fight to have his say.

Tom Sully, of Woodlands, Chelmondiston, refused to pay £29.21 of his council tax bill in protest against Babergh District Council's charging policy.

The 70-year-old told South-East Suffolk magistrates said: "I strongly believe we have got to have a system where people can pay over 12 months and not 10, particularly those people who are on very limited means."

The court heard that Sully felt the system was unfair because, despite the fact that three adults live in his band C property and use the council services, he is the only person who is billed.

Sully also complained that he has to pay his full council tax bill as he has "put some money aside for my old age", whereas councils offer help to others to cut their invoices.

He said: "I understand the law and that I am lawfully required to pay the amount, but what I am saying is that this is not justice. The whole system is unjust.

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"I am quite happy now to pay my council tax, but I strongly object to paying exorbitant costs to come here for a few minutes."

However, the magistrates issued an order to demand payment from Sully of the outstanding balance on his council tax, and ordered him to pay £50 costs.

Speaking after the case, Sully, who is retired from the Royal Navy, said he had expected that outcome, but added: "As far as I am concerned it is money well spent."

Reg Hartles, chairman of Protest Against Council Tax in Suffolk (PACTS), who was among the people waving protest placards outside court yesterday, said: "Everything we have done has proved worthwhile.

"I am sure if we had done nothing that the council tax rise this year would be 10 to 15%."

nDo you support people who refuse to pay their council tax? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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