An elderly couple from Barnet say they would rather go to jail than pay the part of their council tax used to fund the 2012 Olympics. Thomas and Rita Glenister, of Darlands Drive, believe it is unfair that because they live in Greater London, they have to pay towards funding the Olympics, when they claim shops and businesses around Britain will benefit most.
Mr Glenister said: "If it's an Olympics for the country, everybody's council tax should be paying it, not just Londoners. At least £650 million of Olympic funding is expected to be obtained from London council taxpayers before 2012 - with £24m coming from Barnet alone, more than any other London borough, even though Barnet's only participation in the games is a 300 metre cycle race.
The Glenisters found out how much they are supposed to pay and deducted it from their council tax payments. They have received two letters from Barnet Council - which collects the Olympic levy on behalf of the Greater London Authority - warning that if they do not pay the remaining amount due, they will be taken to court, which would results in extra charges and they will be made to pay costs.
Mrs Glenister, 72, said: "We have paid our rates for 51 years and have never broken the law. It is completely unjust. This is the last straw. "We've worked hard all our lives. I'm determined not to pay this. I'll go to prison. Someone has to make a stand against this."
Mr Glenister, 74, said: "We don't even know if we are going to be alive by the time the Olympics comes round in six years time. I'll be grudgingly willing to pay the rate when every council tax payer in the country is paying it and not just Londoners."
Edgeware & Mill Hill Times 14th September 2006
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Submitted by Martin Slavin on Wed, 27/09/2006 - 05:06.