Tax protester prepared to go to prison
A POLITICAL figure is continuing to refuse to pay his council tax, despite the threat of jail.
James Stinson, leader of Grimsby's Generalist Party, was made the subject of a liability order at Grimsby Magistrates' Court yesterday.
James Stinson at Grimsby Magistrates Court. He was issued with a liability order for refusing to pay council tax
If he continues to refuse to pay the outstanding balance of more than £1,300, he will be summoned to appear before the court again – and could face prison.
As reported, he stopped paying his council tax for his one-bedroom flat in Grimsby in November, after a 3.25 per cent rise in the tax was approved by councillors.
Mr Stinson said: "The party decided then that something had to be done and I chose to stand up.
"Someone has to stand up for what they believe in. I am prepared to go to prison over this – I believe that prison is a holiday camp nowadays anyway."
During his appearance at court yesterday, Mr Stinson was asked by legal adviser Rob Wressle why he was not paying his council tax.
He replied: "I believe the council tax I pay is unfair."
Mr Wressle said: "What lawful reason do you have to not pay your council tax? I am not getting into whether it is unfair at all." Mr Stinson then responded: "There is no lawful reason."
He was then made the subject of a liability order, which means he is legally obliged to pay the outstanding balance – or face prosecution and a possible prison sentence.
After the hearing, Mr Stinson said: "That is what I expected to happen, but I am not going to start paying the council tax.
"My lawful reasons for not paying are few and far between. What I am doing is illegal.
"However, I have a basic human right to afford to live and the crippling council tax I have to pay infringes that right.
"I hope that what I am doing will make people consider what they are paying in council tax and maybe they will start a petition or start protesting themselves.
"The increase in council tax has badly affected people in North East Lincolnshire. I have not taken this action lightly.
"I consider it to be a harsh increase during a recession. It is not a time when people should be demanding more money.
"It is a time when the council should look at ways of cutting costs."
The maximum penalty for willful non-payment of council tax is a prison sentence of up to 90 days.
Councils can also take other action, including directing bailiffs to seize property in lieu of payment.