Jail fears over benefit change

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A TENANTS’ representative in Sheffield fears people could be jailed for not paying council tax as they struggle to cope with benefit changes.

From the start of this month, some households who had 100 per cent council tax relief are having to make a contribution for the first time.

Working age households are having to pay at least 23 per cent of the normal bills – and many face a cut in housing benefit if they have a spare room, the ‘bedroom tax’.

But Stephen Rich, of Greenhill and Bradway Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “A lot of residents are saying they can’t pay both the new council tax bill and the bedroom tax.

“With all the controversy about the bedroom tax going on, everyone forgot about the imprisonable offence of non-payment of council tax.

“Lots are saying they cannot pay both, so will this council be putting all these non-payers in jail?”