Source : 01/02/1990 Northampton Chronicle and Echo
Jesus Fellowship members in Bugbrooke will not escape the Poll Tax net in spite of some exemptions agreed by the Government on religious grounds.
Ministers at Westminster were this week accused of 'passing the buck' in refusing to say whether communities run by religious cults were liable to pay the tax.
But a spokesman for South Northants District Council, responsible for levying the community charge in Bugbrooke, said that the Jesus Fellowship did not qualify for exemption.
'Exemption is granted for religious communities which are involved in meditation or contemplation like nuns and monks,' he said.
'Evangelical organisations are very unlikely to be exempt and I think the Fellowship falls in this bracket.'
Liz Donovan, press officer for the Fellowship, stressed that the Northamptonshire-based community was not a cult and that its members had already registered to pay the charge.
'As far as we are aware, our members will need to pay the Poll Tax,' she said.
'All people in our houses have registered and we don't anticipate any exemption.'
'Some of our adults, because they are on a low income, are entitled to a rebate but that's as far as it goes.'
Labour local government spokesman David Blunkett, speaking in the House of Commons, asked whether people living in religious communities run by religious cults including the Moonies, Hare Krishna, the Children of God and Scientologists would be exempt from the charge.
Environment minister David Hunt replied that certain categories were not required to pay the charge.
He said they were 'individual members of religious communities whose principal occupation was prayer, contemplation, the relief of suffering or education.'
In addition, said Mr Hunt, those members who have no income or capital of their own and those who are dependent upon the community concerned for their material needs were also exempt.