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We understand that a few of you have had some unsavoury letters from Runnymede Borough Council asking you to pay council tax. You might have seen our Council Tax campaign (here, here, and here) recently, where we’ve been lobbying the council to stop unfairly charging final year students council tax. We’ve been working for the last few months on this, and while we’re getting closer by the day, we’re not quite there yet. Working in partnership with the College, we commissioned some legal research, and from the findings we know that this is a fight worth fighting. Our next step is simple: a formal letter from both the Students’ Union and the College outlining our position in full, setting out the basis on which we think it can be challenged, and showing the Council that we’re serious about the issue.
Now for the bad news. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay the tax for now. We know it’s a lot. We know you’re feeling the end of term strain. But we promise you, we will fight this, and we’ll keep fighting until we get the result you deserve. For now though, the council are entitled to issue a court summons if you don’t pay, so avoiding it really isn’t an option. If you’re really struggling with the payments, there are other routes available to you – Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit are both things you can talk to our Advice Centre about, or if you just need general financial advice, you can get in touch with the college’s Financial Welfare and Funding Advice team for more information on grants and loans. To get more advice on council tax, or anything to do with housing, you can book a session with our Housing Advisor. Further contact details can be found here.
There is no easy solution here, but know it’s important and we won’t let it drop. We will keep pushing for council tax exemption for all final year students right up to graduation.
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The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX