The Poll Tax.
Today Paul and I was summons to court, again. It was for not paying a fine for having our Son Daniel living at home. About two years ago I had a letter stating, “You have to pay £1,000 for having your Son living in your home from his eighteen birthday,” I was flabbergasted. Who has ever heard of such nonsense? Back then we went to court and we had to pay the £1,000 fine. I was not happy about it, it made me cross. I didn’t know anybody else who had to pay this Council Tax fine, that I call the poll tax, because it makes me feel better. So, I paid our own poll tax of £1,000 and Daniel’s too of £1,000 how greedy is our Council, getting money for nothing.
To my horror, this is a yearly payment that doesn’t apply to the second child. So, having gone backwards and forwards to the civic centre, each time the bill for the council tax is different, sometimes it would be higher and other times there was a reduction. The second year I faithfully paid it each month when I got paid, and I made sure it was paid completely separately his bill and mine with two receipts, so they couldn’t say, “You didn’t pay it.” Then on one of my visits to our civic centre when they asked to have my wage slips for the year, the Woman said, “We have done a calculation you monthly payments has now gone down,” I replied, “Oh?” For I was puzzled as to how or why it had gone down, but I was grateful for the reduction. I said to her, “Is that for everything, mine and my Son’s?” She replied, “Yes.” I was happy about that. From then I paid the lower bill.
Then a few weeks ago a letter arrived saying, “You owe £500 for not paying the poll tax for your Son’s bill and you have to go to court.” I was livid inside and fed up of the greedy Council getting money for nothing. I looked at the date, it would be my day off, so I was extra sad about that.
I remembered from last time at the court, that they ask you to empty your pockets and look in my handbag and everything has to be put in the plastic container tray while you walk through the metal detector, then you are scanned front and back and items in the tray is collected, it annoyed me that I had to take anything out my pockets and my handbag looked in, so I decided to bring only my mobile, and the poll tax letter.
We went upstairs there seem to be two groups, poll tax people to the left others to the right. The same jolly Asian lady was there like last time, she said, “Are you here for the Council Tax?” I kept quiet, Paul replied, “Yes.” She said, “Please sit on the chairs along the wall,” We did, then soon we were asked to, “Move up,” I did reluctantly, but the next time we were asked to, “Move up along to the next chairs,” I said, to Paul, “I’m not moving,” And stayed where I was, while others past me and moved up including Paul. Then the same jolly lady said to Paul, “Please can you come over to this section and sit next to Sonja,” I got up too, as we approached Sonja, she said, “Hello, please sit down,” I didn’t reply, Paul said, “Hello,” And sat next to me, I sat next to her.
Sonja asked me, “What is your phone number?” I gave her my number, she then asked for my, “National Insurance number,” I told her, “I don’t know it,” She said, “That’s OK, it will be in the system,” I thought why ask me then. Sonja then asked, “Can I see your summons?” I showed her the letter, she then asked, “Can I see your other Council Tax bills that you have already paid?” I showed her, she could see they were up to date. I then said to her, “It’s ridiculous, that I am fined £1,000 for having my Child living in my house,” Sonja said, “That’s how it is, so you have to pay it,” I said, “I hate the greedy Council, we have paid our bills and have never missed a payment,” Paul then added, “Jan only works part time,” I said, “At one point, I didn’t want to leave the house to the kids in my Will, but then I changed my mind, for at the end of the day they are our children, neither of them have ever paid us board, not a penny.”
Sonja then said to me, “Have you thought of throwing him out?” I looked her in the eyes for the first time and said, “Have you got children?” Sonja said, “No,” While still looking her in the eyes, I said, “Have you got a cat or a dog?” She said, “I’ve had a cat and a dog” I said, “Would you put the dog outside the front door and close it?” She gave a weak smile and said, “No,” I said in a whisper, “That’s the same thing.” Sonja nodded, I said, “I would never forgive myself it I threw him out and something happened to him, things need to be done properly.” Sonja said, “I agree.” She then said, to me, “I will go over there to my Supervisor and make some calculations, I will be back shortly.” Sonja went and sat next to the jolly Asian woman, who always had a laptop with her, within two minutes she returned and sat next to me and said, “Good news,” I didn’t expect any good news today, so my mood didn’t change and I said, with my mood and voice still on a low even keel, “Oh, that’s nice.” She repeated herself, with a big smile, “Yes, it’s good news,” Then showing me my bill it was now handwritten on with the amount of £30, she said, “This is all that is left to pay,” I said, “Is this until March?” She replied with a big grin, “Yes” She seemed chuffed to bits. I said, “Will we get a bill of a of £1,000 in March?” Sonja said, “Yes,” If Daniel is still in your house then, you will need to pay it.” I said, “I will tell him he needs to get out by February, that’s gives him plenty of time.” I said, “The Civic Centre always give me a different bill amount, it goes up and down, she nodded and said, “You need to ask when you go there, ‘are you a Council Tax Officer?’ For most of the time they don’t know what they are talking about there.” I said, “When I am there, and I am told to get a ticket for the Council Tax, then I expect to be talking to someone who knows what they are talking about.”
Sonja then said, “I will get this printed out for you it will arrive in the post soon and you can carry on with your own Council Tax payments.” I said, with a forced smile, but my heart was still sad, “Thank you.” I suppose it hadn’t sunk in, that instead of a bill of £500 to be spread out over many months till March it would now be considerably less.
Within a minute we were back outside in the sunshine, I whispered a Prayer up to God, “Thank You, and gave out a huge sigh of relief.