4,000 in court over tax

Thousands of people are facing legal action for non-payment of council tax as a result of government cuts to benefits.

Almost 4,000 people who did not previously have to pay the tax have been summonsed to court by Wakefield Council in just six months.

Council Tax Benefit was abolished on April 1, leaving 15,000 district residents liable to pay, with many forced to dip into other benefits to come up with the cash.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 11,524 summonses were issued in the six-month period – a rate of 480 each week – of which 3,929 were to people who previously did not have to pay Council Tax.

The figures also show that 1,036 of the court summonses were to disabled people struggling to pay.

Graham Stokes, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for corporate performance, said: “Ideally we would prefer not to take this action, but unfortunately it is necessary to recover money owed as we also have an obligation to those taxpayers who do pay.

“We do all we can to remind people about missed payments and offer assistance to people having problems paying.”

If you are struggling to pay to call 0845 8 504 504.