COUNCIL tax rebel Lizzie Winkfield stood up in court yesterday and said she would rather go to jail than pay her £99 bill.
The five-foot 83-year-old spinster insisted: "If I have to go to prison I will. I've never seen the inside of a jail, so it will be an opportunity to learn something new.
GREY POWER: Lizzie Winkfield is cheered
by her supporters from the Devon Pensioners'
Action Forum as she leaves court in Barnstaple
"I have no plans to pay this money. I might die before I pay. I'm past being scared about what might happen to me."
Lizzie was cheered by 60 supporters from the Devon Pensioners' Action Forum who held up placards as she emerged from court in Barnstaple, North Devon.
She vowed to fight on even after magistrates issued a liability order which could see bailiffs grabbing her possessions to pay the bill - plus £10 court costs - and send her to prison.
Lizzie's case arose after she held back £98.80 of the £787.81 bill for her bungalow in Westward Ho! on the north Devon coast.
She paid only a 2.5per cent increase, in line with inflation, rather than the 18 per cent rise imposed by Devon County Council. She said: "Even if I was a millionaire, I wouldn't pay it. I can't pay. I paid the 2.5 per cent but can't afford any more. I haven't got much for the bailiffs to take, apart from a few old bits of furniture."
The former shop worker added: "It's a matter of principle. I've always paid my bills but it's getting ridiculous.
"I've sold my car and had all the equity released on my house. I just have my state pension and a bit saved up for repairs. All they can do is send me to jail."
Magistrates issued 110 other liability orders yesterday and Action Forum spokesman Albert Venison said the action was "diabolical and unsympathetic".
The Forum, created after last year's tax increase, intends to fight all 54 seats on Devon County Council at the 2005 elections.
The council, which has imposed a 5.25 per cent tax increase this year, says the rises are needed to keep services running.
A spokesman added: "Local authorities have no choice but to apply the council tax legislation as it stands."
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i was shocked this morning because the daily mail had an almost decent article in it about this.
council tax is a load of bollocks - as are all these hidden taxes. the governemt claim to not raise taxes for elections then they raise them and just dont tell anybody.
they are seriously considering puting a 2p stealth tax on chewing gum in some parts of scotland(and possibly entire uk) becuase of people making a mess on the ground with it
don't see why she should have to pay tax for schools and drug rehabilitation and all that stuff she doesnt use. i suppose it would all cancel out eventually, since she would have payed for hostpitals she didnt use when she was younger.
I live in a 2 bedroom flat have no children and am not married. I pay £1200 a year and for what? My Council is cutting back on every service they provide...so why has my bill risen by 8%?? - my annual salary rise went up by 1%. F@cking disgrace...
lol my granda got off lucky - he lives in about a million tiny flats stuck together into a fairly small 3 bedroom ex council house, but all the other houses in his street are still flats, so the taxman strolled past and looked at the flats and now my granda has only payed low tax for the last 60 years in that house - a good technique if you are wanting to buy a new house.
Lets be absolutely clear about the key issue here, this old girl has a legal obligation to pay her council tax, the fact that she is 83 and "Five foot tall" has NOTHING to do with it.
But has the state pension risen by 18%? has it bollocks, so its no wonder the some of the elderly struggle, the council says "The rises are needed to keep services running". just what are these "Services"? are they subsidising the workshy, the smackheads, the alcoholics, and just about everyother social parasite you can think of? of course they are, ALL councils do it, at the expense of those in society who are GENUINELY vunerable. :grr:
I fear the courts will make an example of this Woman, to deter other decent members of that community who may also be considering withholding payment.
Just the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.