Suffolk protests spread north

SUFFOLK'S council tax protest is spreading as a group of fed-up pensioners has formed a campaign group to fight any further hikes in council tax in Norfolk.

SUFFOLK'S council tax protest is spreading as a group of fed-up pensioners has formed a campaign group to fight any further hikes in council tax in Norfolk.

The OAPs have called themselves FACT (Folk Against Council Tax) and are following in the footsteps of similar groups across the country, formed under the slogan of "Is It Fair?"

Hundreds of pensioners across the UK have signed up and are taking the law in to their own hands by refusing to pay the correct council tax.

The protest began in Devon and Cornwall after council tax increased by almost 20 per cent but the state pension by only 1.7 per cent.


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Pensioners there refused to pay the increase in council tax and have instead continued to pay the tax at last year's rate plus 1.7 per cent - the rate of inflation.

In Norfolk, the county council's portion of the council tax rose by a record-breaking 15.9 per cent - which means the average Band D rate is £1178.61 per year - and a further 12 per cent is predicted for next year.

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Pensioner June Farrow, who will sit on the board of FACT, said it was time the increases stopped.

She said: "My husband and I worked very hard to be where we are in our lives and built up a nice house. But we are being penalised in our retirement for working so hard and are left facing large council tax bills. The system certainly doesn't encourage or help people who want to make a success of their lives, if anything it hinders them.

"We should have moved in to a council house and lived as we wanted instead of saving up all those years for comfortable retirement. Now we are watching our retirement whittled away by council tax."

Council tax rebel Barbara Lockwood, another member of the FACT board, said earlier this year she would rather go to jail than pay the council tax increases.

Her bill was finally reduced after it emerged she was entitled to more benefits.

Today she said: "I've been corresponding with other groups in Felixstowe and Ipswich and as far as many of us are concerned council tax is not a law.

"It's an escalating problem and people still turn to me asking for assistance. Council tax has become a vicious circle that's carrying on and will keep going until April next year. FACT will be formulating ideas and trying to reach solutions. It is not something we are going to rush."

Pensioner groups have sprung up in Surrey, Middlesex, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Buckinghamshire, Lancashire and Suffolk, all of which are protesting under the banner Is it Fair?

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