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‘You could go to prison’ – warning for Bawburgh woman who won’t pay council tax

15:21 06 September 2012

Council tax protestor June Farrow at Norwich magistrates

Council tax protestor June Farrow at Norwich magistrates' court. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

A protesting Bawburgh pensioner has been warned she faces jail if she fails to pay her Council Tax – despite having more than £16,000 in savings.

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June Farrow says she will only pay a quarter of her £1,000-a-year bill to South Norfolk District Council because she feels the rate unfairly penalises the “asset rich, income poor”, and people living on their own.

She arrived for a hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court this morning wearing a placard saying: “Single occupants in capital value homes penalised by council tax.”

The retired nurse, of New Road, Bawburgh, told magistrates she felt “humiliated at the way I have been treated in my later years,” as she struggles to make ends meet without depleting the savings she needs “for security” and for maintenance to her three-bedroom house.

She said: “I have over £16,000 savings which I have been told to reduce to [less than] £16,000 to receive benefits. I don’t want to do that: it’s not my policy. I have worked hard all my life and I don’t want to do that.”

Mrs Farrow owes South Norfolk District Council £1,044.04 for the year 2011-12, but says she will pay only £25 a month towards her £1,000-a-year bill. She handed over a cheque for £250 to the council following this morning’s hearing.

Mrs Farrow said she had no fear of prison because she was standing up for other pensioners living on the breadline.

“I don’t mind,” she told magistrates. “At least in jail I would get three good meals a day. It would save me going up to the shelves of the supermarket to look for out-of-date food.”

South Norfolk District Council was granted a liability order against Mrs Farrow, and she was ordered to pay £70 costs.

Judith Palles Clark, the chair of the bench, told Mrs Farrow: “The debt is owing and it needs to be paid. You would save yourself a lot of hassle and mental anguish if you just paid it.

She added: “Ultimately the consequences could be going to prison.”

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