Reverend Paul Nicolson
Retired vicar, long time anti-poverty campaigner, founder of Taxpayers Against Poverty
After 12 years in the Champagne Trade the Rev Paul Nicolson was ordained in to the Church of England in 1967 to serve as a Minster in Secular Employment (MSE) earning his pay from his employment as a personnel officer in what was then ICI headquarters in Millbank. During his time as an MSE his was one of the first cases in the Employment Tribunals in 1975 challenging ICIs redundancy procedures. He later supported the Ferrybridge Six who were dismissed from a closed shop for joining the wrong union in 1976 at Ferry Bridge Power Station. In 1979 he was elected as an independent District Councillor for the Kimpton ward in the North Herts District Council beating labour and conservative candidates.
In 1982 he joined the C of E parochial ministry in the Hambleden Group of Churches living in Turville, near High Wycombe, where he approved the filming of the Vicar of Dibley. In 1997 he founded the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K), as a response to the Poll Tax. He commissioned the Minimum Income Standards research from the Family Budget Unity in 1999 which was used by UNISON and London Citizens to persuade Ken Livingstone, as Mayor of London, to introduce the London Living Wage. He later commissioned from Professor Peter Ambrose, the Memorandum to the Prime Minister on Unaffordable Housing in 2005. It was read by Tony Blair but so far no one has acted on its recommendations. Z2K now supports over 2000 cases a year of benefit claimants in debt in London.
Concerned at the interventions of the Charity Commission in the campaigning of charities for the people they serve he withdrew from the Chair of Z2K to found Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP), which is not a charity, with a letter in The Guardian in 2012.
TAP works rigorously without allegiance to any political party; but it is political "Doing exactly what is says on the tin". TAP now has 16,050 likes on their Facebook Page. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition. He received the 2015 Social Policy Association Award for Best Non-Academic. He is single aged 84, his wife died 21 years ago. He has five children and 12 grandchildren.