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Soldier Disappointed With Barnsley Council

Friday September 6 2013

Town Hall Town Hall

A SOLDIER with 17 years' service in the army says his treatment by Barnsley Council has pushed him into quitting the country with his wife and children.

Kevin Clark admits he was already feeling somewhat disenchanted with several aspects of life in the UK as he came to the end of his army career.

But he says the council's attitude towards the council tax bill for his empty home in Thurnscoe was the final straw.

At the end of September, Kevin, his wife, Dawn, and their three teenage children will to move to Canada.

Kevin, 39, a bomb disposal officer, owns a four- bedroomed detached home in Springwood Grove, Thurnscoe. He and his family live on an army base near Salisbury.

But although the Thurnscoe house is unoccupied and empty, Barnsley Council says Kevin has to pay a £909 council tax bill - with no discount.

What has angered him is the council has told him that if he lived in the house on his own, as a single occupant he would have been eligible for a 25 per cent reduction in that bill.

Even more annoying is the fact that an official has admitted to Kevin that if he had been a criminal serving a prison sentence he would have qualified for a 50 per cent reduction in his bill.

"I'm more than happy to pay my dues - I would have happily paid a proportion of the council tax," he said. "But to be better off if I was a criminal, now that is just so wrong on so many different levels."

"I like to think I am a reasonable person, I pay council tax on my army home and if I would have been happy to pay a proportion of the council tax on my Thurnscoe home even though no-one is living there and no-one is using any council services."

A spokesman for Barnsley Council said they would like to speak to Mr Clarke about the reasons why he is not entitled to a council tax discount.

"While we always appreciate the hard work and bravery of service personnel, those serving in the armed forces have never been entitled to a discount because of their employment status," the spokesman said. 

"Mr Clarke’s recollection of previous discounts from the council were due to the classification of his house, the rules around which changed in April 2013."

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Reply Posted by Linda on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 09:11
After we moved due to building work in our old house it was empty for more than a year despite being up for sale. My husband has now had to move back in to avoid paying 150% council tax as the house had been empty for too long according to Barnsley Council. We now live apart for five days of the week, but we get a 25% discount on both houses. The Council have offered to lease the house off us for £1,000 a year for 10 years so they can let it out which doesn't sound like a lot, but we may end up taking it as we are getting desperate. What state will the house be in when they give it back though?

Reply Posted by Donn on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 09:16
When I had a house in Huddersfield and wasn't living there we paid NO COUNCIL TAX BILL at all as no one was living there why is Barnsley different?

Reply Posted by Peter H on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 09:18
Sounds like another "Jobsworth" in authority & "it says here" mentallity. Shame on them all a fella like Mr Clarke has called it a day on this country, who he has served, & has been served a bag-a-rags by

Reply Posted by Andy on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 09:25
This is discusting you do right leaving this dump of a country behind u gave 17 years of ur life and to say if u was a convict u could get 50% off well shows what a state were in good luck in canada

Reply Posted by Patricia on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 09:57
Good luck in Canada, and thanku for your service to this Country. The council are really stupid, council tax ,bedroom tax, all for people who can't afford it or have no need to pay it. while they put disgusting objects in town , and waste money like nothing else matters. Take care and enjoy your life and family in a beautiful Country far away .

Reply Posted by guy fawkes on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 10:52
canada is worse an gonna be 1 of the first countries for new world order,good luck with that am sure if he did his research he would think twice about going there

Reply Posted by donna on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 12:05
Good luck in Canada, and thankyou for your service to this Country, can I join you :) this country is going down hill fast.

Reply Posted by Droopy on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 18:29
the reasons are that council tax changed on 1st April this year. Certain discounts have been done away with and new charges apply. Some councils have also applied a premium rate on empty properties that have been empty for a long time ie 2 years and they can be taxed the full rate plus up to 50% extra. It is to encourage people who have empty houses to rent them out. The government gave the local councils the power legally to be able to do it.
So the man above is not being picked on he is just lucky enough to own a property. After all many cannot afford to do so.
Also all people of working age will have to pay something towards their council tax even if they do not work. Go check the legislation that came in on April 1st..

Reply Posted by LV on Wednesday September 11 2013 at 19:48
Why didn't he rent it out while he wasn't living in it?! seriously! When he moves to Canada he can easily register with an estate agent to manage the property and rent out the home - it will then become a little money maker and he won't have to pay a council tax bill for it at all unless it remains untenanted! If he ever wanted to move back to the home he can serve notice and move back in a month of so later. This is why people are advised to read all information that is provided to them! ignorance isn't an excuse, especially when the information in question is posted to your door!!

To find out the new regulations for council tax in Barnsley all you have to do is turn over your bill!! It's all there and if you don't understand it or have further question PHONE THEM!!

Reply Posted by Rs on Saturday September 14 2013 at 19:12
You do right to leave, this country is shit now. All young people should get out and avoid being taxed to hell.

Reply Posted by . on Saturday September 14 2013 at 19:25
Patricia, I assume you're referring to sculpture/fountains...yes bmbc is bang out of order but these 'objects' are lottery funded not council.

Reply Posted by gary on Saturday September 14 2013 at 22:10
would the person above please get there facts right , is the lottery funding the insurance NO we are , did the lottery fund the thousands of pounds to transport the ( comb ) no we as a town did and will be paying to rent it for years to come and that my name less friend is a fact

Reply Posted by max on Sunday September 15 2013 at 00:47
I do not understand why you have to pay council tax for a non occupied property? Also if your house in unoccupied for so long why not rent it out? Don;t know the full story so all I can say is move, go and make a new life in another country, canada has to be better place than Barnsley, right? Good luck to you n your family.

Reply Posted by Mandy on Monday September 16 2013 at 11:18
Why should he be any different to anyone else just cos he's served in the army!?!?! It's his house and his problem....Why would you leave an house unoccupied?? Yes you should get a discount cos your bins won't be getting emptied but that's about it!! It's your choice to own a house and live in another and leave it empty...

Reply Posted by Patricia on Wednesday September 18 2013 at 08:39
Hi, I know the rusty object was lottery funded but not the other projects the "park" and fountains it's just there is so much needed in Town and areas and so many cuts being made ,they could have done more and used money better,