SNOOPER ALERT - The Sparrows` Nest

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SNOOPER ALERT - The Sparrows` Nest
U
o
ISSUE 3
NOV/DEC 1 989
ANTI-POLL TAX CAMPAIGN
SNOOPER ALERT II
II
Poll tax snoopers have been cauing at homes in
many parts ol the city over the last few weeks. so
one in anery five people in Nottingham have failed to reuJm their
poll tax ,orms. A!figugh there ars people all over the city who
haven't registered, ther€ are more 6f them in areas like diis one,
'
where most of us would be worse otf if the poll tax succeoded.
lf y.o_u_ haven't sent back your registration lbrm yet, get a copy of
our "What to do next?" lealet - evailable from 6ur s'iall wery
Saturday m-orning at Hyson Green crossroads, at our meetings, or
by post. ileanwhile, here's what b do if the snoopers call:
far_,
DON'T:
- open fie door: pretend here's nobody in!
-.tell hem anytring about prwious poll tax forms, or otrer people
snanng your home
be indmidated. Remember, they CAN'T force you to fill in a form
there and then.
-.
You have to iake a registration
form lrom them, or you might be
fined. They'll probably ry to
arrange a time to collecl it :
Pick a time when you know fiat
nobody will be at home...
THEN:
- TELL your hiends and neighbours that snoopers are in the area
- FOLLOW them around - fris will worry them, and might stop them
harassing people on tfreir own doorsteps
-
REMEMBER ttrat the snoopers are nervous because they know
they're unpopular
On some council estates in Nottingham, rent collectors are
doubling up as poll tax snoop€rs - hey get paid f,1 fo!, every name
they get, so its a nice little eamer for t''rem. This makes it harder to
avoid them, frough, since most people know and trust iheir rent
collectors.
Looking on the bright side, we've heard ftat snoopers all over
Nottingham are not bothering to knock on doors where an anti-poll
',ax poster is in the window. They say it isn't worfi fie bother. So
all you people who haven't put up a poster yet - now is the timel
Just a reminder: lB probably not worth gettng fined over refusing
to register for tre poll tax. Tho fines start at t50, and go up to
t200 for further otfences. Refusing to register is a crimlnal offence
(uniike refusing to pay), and it wont stop th€ poll tax because they'll
only get your name hom one of their computers. Our aim is to
make registration as ditficJlt as we c.ln without getting fined.
UAFCH T
YW MIGHI
EA!!!
HEAR TAIX
THAT THIS
MArcH ts
NOT COING
TO HAPPEN.
GI,lo,RE Il.
MArcH
WU TAKE
NOTNNGEBI
/6,rnv5T
rEE
POU
TAX,
SATURDAY
DECEUBER 2IID
THE
PIACE. IT
WLL
A
BE
SUCCESS.
alvr PlI.
YoNn P.$ !
MORE INFO
WRY SOAN
SCOTLAND I POLL
TAX CRUMBLING!!
When the papers a,rd television mention the poll tax, they always
play down the size of the Scotiish fight against it. People rn
Scodand got their first poll tax bills in April this year, and our
Scottish 'twin' group, Prestonfields in Edinburgh, keep us up to date
on what's really happening.
ln Lohian, he Edinburgh council area, fie council admitted at
the end of September ffat there should be at least 680 000 people
on tre Lcthian poll tax register - but they've only got 580 000. A
full 100 m0 poople have vanished!
So far, 120 000 Lothian people have completely ignored their poll
tax bills. 40 000 more stopped paying after hree months, and
another 40 000 on top of frat stopped paying after four months.
Add on he 100 000 missed from the register, and thafs 300 000
who aren't paying - nearly 40% ol the people in the Lothian area.
Lothian council are in a mess. So far, nobody has been taken to
courl for non-payment, and nobod has had ttreir belongings siezed
by bailiffs. Two local councillors have already admitted that the
legal system can'l cope, and that he cost of collecting the poll tax
from these 300 0OO people will probably be more han they actually
owe.
NON.PAYMENT STILL GROWING
I
Scolllsh poll lar, non parsE
% paid nothlng ln
flEt 3 monlhs
ln Scodand as a whole, 'official'estimates say that between 570
000 and 1 million people haven't paid their poll tax (there are about
4 million on the register). But these estimates - shown on the map
above - don't include he hundreds of trousands who have paid a
few instalments and th6n stoppod. Nor do they include those
missed lrom the register altogether!
In fact, all over Scotland the non-payment campaign is still
growing. People see their lriends and neighbours refusing to pay
the tax, and realise trat joining the anti-poll tax campaign is easier and cheaper - lhan trying to find the money to pay it.
ln truth, the poll tax in Scotland is crumbling. The government are
wonied. They're pretending to ignore the Scottish situation, and
hoping $at people will blame *reir local councils for he problems
the tax is causing. ln this country, they're spending billions of
pounds to fy and convince people that the the poll tax is a good
idea. Our group, and hundreds of others like it, are going to make
sure thal they fail.
Meanwhile tre "Tory flagship' (as he poll tax was called) is
losing steam.
Six monlhs ago, Nicholas Ridley - then the Environment
Secretq4i - proposed a system of temporary subsidies so trat areas
with a low poll tax could 6bil out areas wih a high one. This
'safety nef was inEnded to cushion the effects ol he poll tax and
deflect moundng criticism hat it would bring widespread hardship.
It reflected he Conservatives fear ol the possible effect of $e poll
tax on th€ir chances of winning lhe next slection.
But fears trat Ridley's proposal could itself cost the Consewative
Party 20 marginal seaB (in areas where i:eople wouH pay more poll
tax because of he subsidy) caused damaging rows wihin fie party
ranks. So, at th€ Conssrvalive Party @nference the govemment
announced hat they would use public money to pay the subsidy.
(Tho'safsty nef is meant b last lor four years, year one being
financsd by Ridley's cross-subsi{ mehod, and the o$er three years
nor funded by central govemment.)
It was also agreed hat transitional payments would be made to
pensioners and to people wih disqbilities - but ther€'s a catch.
Payments will only be made to people who live in areas where the
council keep their spending within govemment guidelines. But
these guidelines have been artificially low for years. Using hem,
the Tories have lorced drastic cuts in essential services by stopping
councils from 'overspending'. Now hey'll bo used b pass the
blame on to local councils when people don't qualify for these
transitional paymenB. Very neatl
Still, fie govemment has backed dotiln twice in six months, and
has now commi[ed an extra t1 billion of public money b he poll
tax. Yst sdits within the Tory Party continu€, as Tory MP's realise
that the poll tax may nol only lose lhem voEs in fie north, but also
in many London boroughs and constituencies.
.' sir
-
6ond
From "The Observer", 8th October
PARTY TIME
The government is bending and divisions are growing. Now is
not the tim6 to sit back and wait for he eleclion, but to press ahead
and build the campaign.
CASTING A QUICK EYE OVER
THE CONFERENCES..
A poll tax motron calling for Labour commitment to a mass nonpayment campaign was heavily defeated at lhe Labour conference.
\Mth Labour councils actively implementing the tax, and with official
party policy amounting to little more than 'do nothing - wait until the
election', tfris doesn't come as any surprise.
David Blunkett accused non-payment campaigners of being
"naieve and dishonesf for thinking that such a campaign will force
Thatcher to abandon the tax. What self-justifying rubbish!
Labour's own "do nothing' strategy itsolf pardy explains why this
govemment has got away with so much. At a time when ttre
govemment is looking rnore vulnerable han it has since 1981, sitting
back can only allow them time to recuperate and strengthen treir
forcm
Fears were also expressed that non-payment would lead to benefit
and wages deductions, and to bailiffs being sent in. This is Labour's
excuse to do notring, but really ib a reason to strengthen the
campargn.
A strong community organisation is the best defence against he
bailiffs. Persuading DSS staff not to cc.operate wittr benefit
deductions, and supporting workers who refuse to allow freir wages
being arrested, will be the best defence against income deductions.
It is also vital hat we take our campaign to local govemment
wo*ers to persuade them not to implement the poll tax.
ffi
UST PAY
Wtu
P3Y
WORKERS POWER
STOP THE POLL
TAXENOW!!
Are you angry about the poll tax? Do you want b fight it, but
don't know how? Then come b our next meeting - see he 'What's
On'cdumn for details.
But if meelings arcn't your scene, don't fret you don't have to
wait until next April (whEn the bills anive) to hrow a spanner into
th€ works. We're going b make he poll tax unworl€ble, and we've
thought of some fun ways of doing it. Here's the first:
6el
SincL. ii ilari li },.,]r general sfrategy to c€feat ihe poll tax is to trl
and r:iganise ?iiriln he unions the last meetrng of fris group draft6d
a n'iotign tc b€ taken to union branches. Members of the campaign
should tr/ to get this motion passed at ttreir brancfi meetings. This
raises in ycur workplace fie issue of he poll tai, and might help
build an anti-poli tax group $ere.
MOTION ON THE POLL TAX
This union notes:
1. The introduction, in April 1990, of the Tory poll tax
(community charge).
2" Thal the poll tax in Nottingham will cost each adult
about €350 - t7 per week.
3. That to receive any rebate you must earn less than
865 per week.
4. Thal at least 71o/o ot people in Nottingham will be
worse ofl under the poll tax.
5. That the poll tax is inefficient and will cosl twice as
much to adminisler as the rates system it will replace.
6. That the poll tax will increase central'government
control, since 75% ol local government lunding will in
luture be distributed by central government.
7. The formation of local anti-poll tax groups, and the
formation of the Nottingham Anti-Poll Tax Federation
This union believes:
1. That the poll tax is an unfair tax which will resull in
the transter ol money from the poor to the rich.
2. That the best way lo stop the poll tax is to
organise a rRass campaign of non-payment in the
community, and a campaign ol non-implementation in
the relevant unions.
3. That Labour councils should refuse to implement
the poll lax, and refuse lo penalise anybody who
refuses to register or pay.
This union resolves:
1. To publish arnongst its members the facts about
the poll tax.
2. To establish an anti-poll tax group within the
workplace.
3.
To affiliate to the Nottingham Anti-Poll Tax
Federation
To collect fre poll tax, they need to know where we all live. lf
the register of people who should pay isn't accurate, heyve got
problems. The more inaccurale it is, he more problems they've got.
So..
Wele obtained a lengthy list which members will be given, and
is available at rne€tings and at our stall. On it are the names and
personal details of some local people who will gain from he poll tax:
ludges, company directors, freomasons and otrer undesirables.
Get a copy of the list and pick out a name. Then, next time
ycuve got a spare ten minutes, write a letier preiending to be this
person. Send it to Sidney Stares - he's our Community Charge (poll
tax) Regisration Officer. Here's what you should Tell Sid:
1.
The person's name and cunent addr€ss
Their date of birth
3. That hey are moving house
4. Their new address: this can be an empty house, a non-existent
address, or somehing vague like "abroad' or'London"
5. The date they moved or are moving
2.
Once you'vo sent a few letters like this one and got bored, you
firn start to play a slighdy different game. lnvent a name - or use
scmebod who's famous: a real person, a cfiaracter from your
favourite soap - it doesn't matter.
Be ttris person. Writo and Tell Sid that you have just mov6d into
the Nottingham area. Pick an address from the list, and Tell Sid
that's where you are living.
Its as simple as that. By itself, this wont stop the poll tax - but
every little helps, so get writing now. Send all your letters to:
The Community Charge Registration
Officer
Third Floor
The Guildhall
Nottingham
NG1 2DE
')I've got a
commanit! here
that
not
says
t**
I,m
poying!,,
LOCAL NEWS
NOTTINGHAM ANTI.POLL TAX
FEDERATION
WHAT'S ON:
t
1. NOTTINGHAM AGAINST THE POLL TAX
The second meeting of the Nottingham Anti-Poll Tax Federation
took place on the 14th of Octobsr. lt was rcmarkable only for the
inactivity of its officers.
Thg one good thing to come out of he meeting was a Nottingham
march planned fror December 2nd. lt is important that we, as a
gro.up, mobilise to get people along to his and shor fte srength of
feeling against the poll tax. We shall ha\re b facs up to hs tacr
that the success of he marc$ will depend on oursefues and other
community groups organising. Going on past perto,rmance, the
Federation wont be doing much.
While the Federation is still dominated by one particular political
viewpoint, lew groups are joining all tre time (that is REAL groups
with some basis in ths community, not just groups on paperl, and is
important that we keep irwolv€d to put he arguments ior'
accountability, aclivity etc. Our grotp, and others like us, can act as
a rallying point lor those who want to deleat tre poll tax and have a
Federation which is democratic, open and active.
rally, December 2nd.
detaib
The Sherwood group has now been running for two months. After
petitioning around Shenvood for several weeks, a public meeting '
was organised which atraded 8O people. A member of our group
spoke at this meeting.
Since hen, fie Sherwood group have been going from strength to
strength. The group has regular meetings every two weeks, runs a
stall on Manslield Road, and nor has around 240 members catching up wih usl
For he fuh.re, they intend to have anotrer public meeting with a
speaker lrom Scodand, and a benefit gig to raise some money. At
present they are putting togethsr a newsletter similar to tho'one you
are reading now. Their next meeling is at Shenrood Community
Centre at 7.30 pm on November 8th.
Good luck to them!
march and
Watch out for leaflets and posterE with more
2. SHEFFIELD AGAINST THE POLL TAX
demonsraton
on November 4h. This group is taking along a minibus. Contact us
soon if you'rc intsrested in going.
s. Forest Flelds/Hyson Green Antl-Poll Tax
Campalgn meetlngs: our n€xt two meetings are TUESDAY 14TH NOVEMBER and TUESDAY 28TH NOVEMBER,
both at pm
1. SherwOOd Antl-Poll Tax Group, next public meeting on
November 8th at Sherwood Community Cenfs
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URGENT. MONEY NEEDED
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this rspon was written, rhe
Federation hare reporbd hat the mar€h has been cancsll€d
because they were unable to book $e Ma*et Square for a rally.
However, he march will go ahead on Dgcember 2nd. h will not be
organised by tha Federation, unfortunately, but by a coalition of local
community based anti-poll tax groups, including this one. Watcfi out
for more information!
SHERWOOD ANTI.POLL TAX
GROUP
tl:
!
Altrough weVe still got some money left from the benefit in
Ocbber, its duvindling fast. ldeally, we need money coming in
steadily, to pay for the cost ol rooms for meetings, and printing
costs br leaffets and nervsletters.
It you're working and would like to help, we'd like you to fill in
th€ slanding order lorm below. lts up b you how much you give,
but ws suggest tl a month br every E1 00O a year you eam - or
t5 a monlh il you cdn't work that out! Send ths form to us. not
your bank. Wb'll sort it out from herc. Thanks.
lsrar,rDrNc oRDER
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Name:
Address:
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ADDRESS:
ACCOUNT NO:
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SNEINTON ANTI.POLL TAX
GROUP
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The newly formed Sneinton Anti-Poll Tax Group, whidl was set up
after a meeting a few weeks ago of 35 people lrom the area, held
its first.publlc meeling on Ocbber 24tr. About thirty local people
l]9!ened b speakers lrom this group, and a represehtative ol
NALGO, lhe local gwemment union, who talked about the role that
lo?l govemment workers can play in defeating the poll tax.
So far, Sneinton activists have been petitioning lrom door to door
for several weeks, and have been running a stall in Sneinton
market.
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Please pay on receipt of this order the sum
of t......., and on the first day of every month
thereafter, to National Westminster Bank PLC,
Nottingham University Branch, to the credit of
Forest Fields/Hyson Green Anti-Poll Tax
Campaign, account number 97052728.
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SIGNATURE:
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DATE:
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