OAP abandons tax protest

A pensioner has abandoned his threat to withhold his council tax even if it meant going to prison. Ian Matheson, 77, who lives with his wife Janet, 73, at Long Close, Lower Stondon, blames lack of support from his local Biggleswade and District Pensioners

A pensioner has abandoned his threat to withhold his council tax even if it meant going to prison.

Ian Matheson, 77, who lives with his wife Janet, 73, at Long Close, Lower Stondon, blames lack of support from his local Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Associations for his decision to pay up.

Mr Matheson says without support from other pensioners his one man stand against council tax would have been futile.

"I pay £91 a month and for what? Nothing is the answer," said Mr Matheson, a retired bank worker.


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"I haven't paid my council tax for three months and if I had the support of other pensioners I would have stood my ground and still not paid it.

"It was all about protesting for what we pay for and don't get. Lower Stondon is a place that time has forgotten.

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"Street lights are either left broken or burning day and night, signs are ripped up and not replaced and manhole covers are not replaced. This village is just forgotten so where is our council tax going?

"This was going to be my protest and I wanted support. I couldn't stand alone. I wanted to go to county hall and have 200 pensioners with banners outside.

"But the promise of support never materialised so I am now going to pay my council tax rather than look foolish."

Mr Matheson added: "Ken Lynch, chairman of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Association, said he was going to support me. A lot of promises were made but when push came to shove they didn't back me.

"I was fighting for pensioners' rights which the association is always talking about."

Mr Lynch, a critic of the council tax who has been urging pensioners to sign a petition urging the Government to abolish council tax for the elderly, said: "The association has a constitution and as chairman I must look after the interests of its members.

"We don't want to break the law. I know he feels let down. I admire him. He was brave taking the stand he did but we must act within the law.

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