According to the Mail's own figures, he owes £1,359 in council tax. Also according to the Mail, the council tax he has to pay in one year is £1,359.
(According to the council's website, this page
, it was £1290.78)
On the Mail's figures he's been refusing to pay it for exactly one year. On the website's figures, it's about 13 months. In any case he is well aware of his non-payment and I think he's deliberately two-fingering the council. For that, the punishment is hardly unjustified.
I would also venture a guess that the council have tried to work with him over this. Even the slowest of councils can deal with a couple of appeals a year and chase up unpaid bills. So again, jail is hardly unjustified.
He claims (or more specifically, it is claimed in the Mail) he can't afford the whole bill. Okay even if that's true surely he can afford some
of it as a gesture of willingness. Unfortunately the Mail is too busy telling us how much of an angel he is and how the King's Lynn Borough Council are all money wasting bastards to give us those details.
There is of course the possibility he's been paying, say, half for 2 years. But again, two people wrote the article but neither could be research/include that bit (though to be fair, nor did the other news sources I read).
Oh and another thing...
In 1998-1999, the cost of Band D council tax in Heacham was £699. By 2007-2008 this had risen to £1,359 - an increase of 94 per cent.
I seriously object to this because it doesn't include inflataion. The rise is probably nearer to 70 than 90
Figures aside, let's have a look at a few other things.
"Dad loves being with the family and we are all very close. We enjoy picnics together and Dad had booked a big farmhouse in the South of France for us all in May. I hate thinking of where he is now.
Oh right so he can afford a "big farmhouse in France" and travel to get there, but not his tax.
You're entitled to a nice holiday of course, but it doesn't sound like he on the poverty line.
(his son said) "If this was France, they would have burnt the courthouse down. People here seem to have given up."
I seriously doubt that.
(his daughter said) "He is very stoical but, of course, he is not a young man and I do worry about the strain all this is having on him. Dad takes tablets for his blood pressure and I hope he has taken them with him.
Firstly they're not going to let him die.
Secondly what does that have to do with it. If a "real criminal", as the mail puts it, has high blood pressure should they also be let off?
So... let's have a look at some other news sources shall we...inthenews.co.uk
A pensioner who refused to pay his council tax in protest has been jailed for 34 days by magistrates in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
Richard Fitzmaurice, 76, a retired soldier, said he could afford to pay the £1,359 bill but wanted to protest because the basic pension has not risen in line with fuel and living costs.
Funny. The mail didn't mention that bit (except as a quote from the *boo hiss* council spokesman)edp24
Catherine Saunders, prosecuting for West Norfolk Council, said it had exhausted all other methods of encouraging Fitzmaurice to pay his bill.
"It is not a case of neglecting to deal with the debt," she said. "Mr Fitzmaurice has told me very clearly that he does not intend to settle the account."
Chairman of the bench Sandy Chandler said: "You are clearly a man of principle, but this is not a political forum. You have already accepted your wilful refusal to pay the relevant council tax, so we have to enforce the law."
Seems that they forgot to include that too.
(of course whether these quotes are true and are in context isn't certain)
Whether he can afford it or not I don't know. Whether he's getting ripped off or not I don't know. Whether the council really are asshats or not I don't know.
Whether ex army people should get more pension and/or tax cuts is debatable.
But in the end the law is clear, they gave him a lot of time to pay and he refused to do so and as such he's being punished.
Oh yes one last thing.. if all pensioners refused to pay their council tax and everyone else had to make up the shortfall, would there still be outrage, fury and general all round "teh goverment is shit!!11!!" ism?