Sheffield Council demands cash from hard-up residents

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Chaotic scenes unfolded today as hordes of hard-up residents who have fallen behind in council tax payments were brought before Sheffield Magistrates Court.

Single parents and disabled people who have had benefits slashed since the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax were among those who were served summons.

Worried residents spoke of how they feared they would be sent to prison for being unable to meet the council’s demands for payments.

Janet Dewsnap, of Woodhouse, had suffered three anxiety attacks in the week leading up to today’s hearing.

The 57-year-old, who has learning difficulties, said: “They took away £11.43 a week because of the bedroom tax. They’ve reduced my other benefit. I am struggling to get by every month and I know and I am not on my own.

“I suffer from depression and if I had to leave my house it would kill me.”

Last month Sheffield was named one of the worst areas for council tax arrears. The council is owed £34m, the highest amount of tax in the region - equating to £150 per household.

-Read The Star tomorrow for a full report