Socialist Worker

Campaigners fight Barnsley council's attack on poorest

by Fran Postlethwaite
Issue No. 2359

Campaigners outside Barnsley magistrates court last week

Campaigners outside Barnsley magistrates court last week (Pic: George Arthur)

Some 200 people turned up at Barnsley Magistrates Court last week after being summonsed for not paying council tax. 

The Tories’ council tax is being imposed on the poorest by Barnsley council. 

Campaigners protested outside with supporters from across Yorkshire. 

When some argued their case in court the magistrate awarded the liability order but refused to impose any additional costs. 

One woman asked for a McKenzie friend to support her and her case was adjourned till July. 

Others tried to tell the magistrates why they couldn’t pay. 

Jimmy Wilson said in court, “I am not a criminal—I have here a British Transport Police certificate of commendation for bravery. 

“Barnsley council can do what they want, they are treating us like criminals. I can’t pay, it’s immoral and I won’t pay.”

The council hoped that these cases would intimidate those not paying bedroom tax. 

But they have only increased anger at a Labour council which has already sent out notices “of intention to seek possession” of people’s homes. 

Meetings against the bedroom tax have taken place on nine estates in Barnsley. The campaign is creating the networks to support people and prevent evictions.

Campaigners also protested outside Sheffield magistrates court on Friday of last week where hundreds of people in arrears were herded into hearings.

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