‘Seek help’ message from Rother District Council after council tax court case

Cllr Lord Ampthill, cabinet member for finance, resources and value for money
Cllr Lord Ampthill, cabinet member for finance, resources and value for money

People who are falling behind with their council tax payments are being urged to seek help and avoid ending up with a court date.

The call was issued by Rother District Council after a 62-year-old man from Bexhill was handed a suspended jail sentence for non-payment of council tax.

Leslie Reaney, of Park Road, was taken to court by the council after he racked up a bill of £2,763.93 in unpaid council tax, court costs and fees.

In a hearing at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (November 4), he was given a 100-day prison sentence, suspended until the full amount is repaid on condition that he repays the money in monthly instalments of £15.

Councillor Lord Ampthill, Rother District Council’s cabinet member for finance, resources and value for money, said: “Taking someone to court is always a last resort and something we want to avoid doing if at all possible.

“While we have a duty to ensure we collect council tax, which pays for the essential services everyone uses, we always try and find a way to help people if they’re struggling to pay.

“Anyone can get into financial difficulty but people can stop the problem getting worse by speaking to us as soon as possible, so we can try and find a solution.

“We can assess whether a person is eligible for a council tax reduction if they’re on a low income, and can also direct people to other organisations which can help them with their finances.”

More information about paying council tax is available on the district council website at www.rother.gov.uk/counciltax

Anyone who is having trouble paying should contact the council as soon as possible by calling 01424 787000 or emailing revenuesandbenefits@rother.gov.uk

Advice for people struggling financially is available by calling Rother District Citizens Advice Bureau on 01424 215055 or via the website at www.rotherdistrictcab.org.uk

Other organisations which could help people struggling to pay their bills include the charities Christians Against Poverty at www.capuk.org and StepChange at www.stepchange.org

Bexhill man claims tax is ‘unlawful’

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