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The question: Council tax


Last week an 83 year old pensioner told a court she would rather go to prison than pay her £747 council tax bill.

What are your views?

If she does not want to pay for good roads, rubbish collection, water supply, sewerage and a police force she should move to Cambodia. No such tax but she will contract a nasty disease from the local pond she drinks at and as the hospital will not treat her for free she will have to dig into her pension. The law lays down penalties even for little old ladies and she should go to jail to pay her debt to society, so to speak.

Society depends on consent and conformance.

Julian Lord, 37, senior estimator, Bangkok She has nothing to lose. It is emotional blackmail as the government is in a no win situation. If it waives the fee, it loses; if it force payments and sends her to jail, it also loses!

Steve Dellow, 38, associate, Reading, Berkshire A brave, imaginative lady. Her courageous stand has magnified the spotlight on unfettered council tax hikes. The question it raises is who judges the judges in our once-famed Albion, which sired the likes of Brunel, Stephenson and Nelson? I hope that at 84, the magistrates have more sense than to give her more than 20 years, but we know better than to hold our breath. Perhaps instead they could give her a tough spell of community service, such as cleaning up after terrorist attacks. This would bring less tax call of me, myself a pensioner.

Rule Britannia! God save the Queen!

David Turner, 64, retired, County Durham I live in an area with a high percentage of retired people and count many as close friends.

I therefore have an idea of their concerns and great sympathy with their position. Having paid taxes into government coffers for somewhere in the region of 50 years, they are then expected to contribute 20% of their state pension to the council. What really annoys me is that some of this charge is to cover the costs of tax that the council has not been able to collect.

It seems to me that as a nation we should all refuse to pay this portion of the bill, thus giving councils an incentive to be a bit more strenuous in their collecting methods!

Robert Pike, project manager, 41, Exeter I sympathise with her and if she really has a financial problem she should contact social services. Taking the law into her own hands is understandable but sadly the law always wins.

But having just gone through a messy divorce lasting three years and costing over £150,000 in legal fees, my view of the legal system is somewhat cynical.

Mark Meyts, 49, advanced engineering associate, Southampton Pensioners on fixed incomes are by far in the majority and since the over 65s are approaching 20% of the UK population, they have theoretically great voting power. Big increases in any taxes are a real shock and I know: my mother-in-law would rather worry herself to death trying to pay for it. Her generation as a whole are proud conformists who are not taking up their rightful dues and even dying lonely and cold rather than seeking help.

Now my generation are another thing. We take nothing on face value! Prison is at least warm, you get fed, have plenty of company and you can read to your heart's content.

Philip Norris, 58, managing director, Tutbury

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