TEN residents have been given suspended prison sentences for not paying their council tax bills.
Havant Borough Council’s revenue and benefits service took the action in the first quarter of the year.
That is in addition to a further 27 outstanding suspended prison sentences in place, and a prison sentence of 28 days handed down in February against a resident who failed to pay a £3,000 council tax debt.
Mike Ball, the council’s service manager for revenues and benefits, said efforts to collect unpaid council tax will often involve the use of enforcement agents or attachment to a resident’s earnings or benefits with legal action if no progress is made. Custodial or suspended sentences are usually the last resort.
Mr Ball added: ‘Havant Borough Council is entirely committed to pursuing persistent debtors and will use any remedy available in law, including applications for committal to prison.
‘The council would always prefer to deal with these matters without resorting to court action but if we are unable to collect the charge through all other means, legal action will be taken, which could result in a prison sentence.
‘The revenues and benefits service is in court weekly pursuing council tax collection.’