Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Why I didn't vote...

Dear reader, if you're expecting some kind of "To hell with the lot of them" rant, then you're wide of the mark. I'd take the time to spoil my paper, even if I didn't vote for the least available evil.

I couldn't vote. I'm not on the electoral register. Until a few days ago, I was unaware of this state of affairs.

The story starts some time ago. For a long time, we'd been struggling to make ends meet, and fell further and further into debt. In desperation, Bren rented a space, and opened a shop. It was not a success, despite her putting in a superhuman effort, and it ultimately turned a bad situation into an untenable one. We lost our home.

Making the best of a bad lot, we sold our house to our Son, my Stepson. This gave him a foot on the housing ladder, and then some. The house was worth a lot more than he bought it from us for. He got a mortgage for £15,000 more than he gave to us. That allowed him to make good the damage caused by the passage of years, that we couldn't afford to fix. It allowed us to clear our debts. There was enough left over for us to buy a caravan.

Thing is though, we're on dodgy ground here. We cannot legally live in it. It's technically holiday accommodation, and if we were to live in it in any official capacity, we'd be contravening both planning regulations and the contract we'd signed with the caravan site.

This shouldn't have been a problem. Although we'd sold the house to our Son, we would officially still live there. It's a big old house, and there's room enough. With the change of ownership, came a change in who was responsible for paying the council tax for the property. Unfortunately, when the council contacted him about this, our Son inexplicably told them that we'd moved out. The local council then contacted us to demand council tax for our caravan.

For a while we paid it, but then the caravan site management made it clear to us that we're not allowed to live on site, and that we should not be doing so. So we cancelled our direct debit and told the council that we thought they were mistaken in asking us for council tax.

Their response has been aggressive. To them, we're just trying to worm out of paying our dues. To us, we face eviction and homelessness.

To begin with, they asked us to provide some evidence that we were living in our Son's house, such as a driving license. We sent off a scan. They then moved the goalposts, thanking us for providing a correspondence address, and asking us for further evidence, and asking why our Son had asked for us to be removed from the electoral register at his address. Our Son has no recollection of doing so, but cannot be sure. Neither can we. Yet the fact remains, we were removed from the electoral register. When I responded specifically from me, they sent a letter to our Son, telling him I'd responded from both of us. When my wife had been careful not to state at any point that we no lived at the caravan, they have insisted that she asserted that she did live there.

Lying twats.

About 12 years ago, I lived in a council flat. I met my wife. I spent more and more time living with her. I didn't bother telling the Council. Then one day a letter came through her door, addressed to me, from them. They had taken the time to have me followed, so as to find out where I was spending my time. Presumably they've already done so with us now.

Just to reiterate... We can afford right now to pay the £100/month the council are asking for. That's not the issue. If we could be certain that in doing so we would not be incriminating ourselves, it would not be a problem. It would be annoying, certainly, since they don't provide us with the services we'd recieved if we lived in some hose or flat, such as refuse collection, and also since some of the site fees we pay go to the site owners business rates.

To pay the council would be to say we lived here, which means we might no longer be able to.

Catch 22.

So we're urgently seeking advice, either from something like the Citizens Advice Bureau, or a legal professional.

driving lessons in North Wirral? learn to drive in Hoylake? driving instructor in Birkenhead?

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