Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 11:42 UK

Couple in court over Olympics tax

Thomas and Rita Glenister
The couple say everyone should contribute to the Games

An elderly couple from north London are being taken to court for refusing to pay the levy on their council tax bill which will fund the 2012 Olympics.

For two years Thomas and Rita Glenister of Barnet have withheld 33.35 of their annual bill, the amount they said would be their contribution to the Games.

The couple said all British citizens should contribute, not just Londoners.

They are due to appear before Hendon Magistrates' Court on 15 September in relation to non-payment of council tax.

Barnet Council confirmed the couple had been summonsed to appear in court over the matter but said it could not provide more specific details of individuals' accounts.

London taxpayers are contributing 1bn to the 9.3bn budget through a precept levied by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

I'm not going to run round the track, I'm not going to benefit from this 'legacy'
Rita Glenister

Since 2006 Mr and Mrs Glenister have paid all of their 2,320 annual council tax bill except what they have calculated to be the "Olympic surcharge".

Mrs Glenister, 74, said: "It isn't the money - we can pay - but I finally thought that it is time to stick my short little legs down and say 'up with this I will not put'.

"If everyone in England pays it then I will, but the fact that it is just Londoners paying it seems very unfair. I'm not going to run round the track, I'm not going to benefit from this 'legacy'.

"I'm not a killjoy - I think the Games are great - but I don't see why we should pay for it."

The former probation officer said she was prepared to go to prison over the matter as a "point of principle".

A spokesman for Barnet Council said: "As the collecting authority the council takes a strong approach to collecting any unpaid council tax and will use all available means to ensure that residents pay the full amount of council tax for which they are liable."

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, leaders of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and 2012 organisers signed up to an agreement to ensure decent standards of employment, health and safety and equality for those working on Olympics projects.

The Principles of Co-operation aim to give one of the most "memorable" life and work experiences for employees as well as participants and spectators.


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