The Guardian publishes letter signed by more than 50 CCA partners calling for council tax reform
The Guardian published a letter signed by 57 supporters and partners of the Centre for Criminal Appeals, calling for a reform in the way we use imprisonment for council tax debtors. The letter, written by the Centre and signed by representatives from the Howard League for Penal Reform, the Criminal Bar Association, Women in Prison, Reprieve, the Centre for Women's Justice, Transform Justice and Just for Kids Law called on the government to take these four actions:
1. Abolish regulation 47(3) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, that allows the committal to prison for council tax non-payment.
2. Review the court files of all those imprisoned for council tax debt in England and Wales between 2010 and 2017 to identify those who may have been wrongfully jailed and to inform them of this fact.
3. Create an ex gratia award scheme, overseen by independent adjudicators, to afford compensation to those who have been wrongfully imprisoned for council tax debt.
4. Ensure that in all courts where proceedings for council tax debt are under way, defendants are told of their right to free legal assistance, pursuant to the decision of the European Court of Human rights in Benham v UK (1996) 22 EHRR 293.
Debt is not a crime. Let's stop treating it like one.