Last chance for coun­cil tax debtor

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­group.co.uk

Mag­is­trates had Fe­bru­ary

on 1 im­posed a sus­pended 60-day jail sen­tence to give him fur­ther chance to pay up.

Ni­cola Stevens, se­nior re­cov­ery of­fi­cer for Ash- ford Bor­ough Coun­cil, said: “There had been a his­tory of non-pay­ment, that is why the court took a harsh line.”

But Mills was brought back to court now af­ter fail­ing to keep up with a num­ber of sched­uled re­pay­ments A MAN has been given a last chance to clear his coun­cil tax debt or go to jail.

Stephen Mills had al­ready had to sleep in a car af­ter his house was re­pos­sessed and was now threat­ened with jail for fail­ing to keep up pay­ments to wipe out his ar­rears.

A court has now or­dered him to pay back monthly and chair­man of the bench Amanda Rob­bins told him: “If not, you come back here and you can guar­an­tee go­ing to prison.

“You need to put money aside be­cause you are get­ting your­self in a real mess.”

Ash­ford mag­is­trates last Fri­day heard that Mills had ar­rears of £4,304.14 by last Novem­ber and al­though this was now down to £825 he had failed to keep up with all ar­ranged re­pay­ments. since then.

Mills, 50, of Lan­caster Way, Ash­ford, told the court: “I don’t phys­i­cally have the money.

“The at­ti­tude is pay or go to jail, but lose my house, that’s OK.

Prison

“I want to pay. If I go to prison I will lose my house and my job.”

The court heard that Mills’ house had been re­pos­sessed and he had lived in a car for four months.

He told the court he couldn’t get a coun­cil house be­cause he was classed as hav­ing made him­self home­less.

He is now rent­ing but he said his rent takes up half the monthly £1,600 he now earns de­sign­ing con­ser­va­to­ries.

He said he was left with just £300 af­ter pay­ing for petrol, gas and elec­tric­ity and car in­sur­ance.

He had got a sec­ond job to clear debts but later lost that.

Mrs Rob­bins told him: “The trou­ble is you have been will­ing or try­ing to pay but the sums are too big. You have not sat down and bud­geted.”

Mag­is­trates re-ac­ti­vated the sus­pended sen­tence and or­dered Mills to pay a min­i­mum £100 a month to clear the debt.

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