Council tax protester to appear in court

By John HowardA PENSIONER who has refused to pay last year's large increase in the council tax on a matter of principle has been summoned to appear in court.

By John Howard

A PENSIONER who has refused to pay last year's large increase in the council tax on a matter of principle has been summoned to appear in court.

Ces Kerridge, from Earl Soham, near Framlingham, has paid his council tax bill plus a 3.5% increase, amounting to £1443.70.

But he has refused to pay the rest of the £1624.70 charge to Suffolk Coastal District Council, leaving a balance of £193, including £12 costs, outstanding.


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The authority collects the bill - which is made up of charges for services provided by Suffolk County Council, Suffolk police, the district council and parish or town councils - and it confirmed Mr Kerridge would appear in court for non-payment of the full bill.

Mr Kerridge, who worked in business and was a head of department in marketing, is due to appear at Ipswich Magistrates' Court on May 17.

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He claimed to get little in the way of services for his council tax payment and criticised the 18.5% council tax increase levied last year by Suffolk County Council.

Mr Kerridge said last night: “An 18.5% increase in the council tax last year was immoral. I come from a commercial marketplace and I can't see any company daring to do this in the current climate.

“The council has got a monopoly, there is no competition. They can make lots of savings internally, but the easy option is to slap up council tax and expect us to pay. I feel the increase in council tax is swingeing.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “I can confirm that Mr Kerridge is due to appear in court in relation to his non-payment of the full bill for council tax due in 2003/2004.

“His objection to paying the full amount appears to be as a result of the 18% increase in council tax levied by the county council last year.

“Suffolk Coastal is legally required to collect all council tax in this district and it is the law that the full amount must be paid.”

He added: “The amount outstanding by Mr Kerridge is £181, plus the £12 cost of the summons. Over 98% of all council tax due last year had been collected by the end of March and it is our duty to ensure that all the rest is collected.

“Failure to do so is unfair to all those who have already paid and would also have the knock-on effect of increasing everybody's bills if we do not collect all the income anticipated.”

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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