Tax protestor jailed on 40th birthday

PUBLISHED: 12:47 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:05 26 October 2009

Steve Peers pictured last year with his family

Steve Peers pictured last year with his family

LIFE begins at 40, as the old cliché goes. But for council tax protestor Steve Peers, it begins behind bars after he was sent down for seven days on his milestone birthday for refusing to pay his total bill. The father-of-three has been campaigning agains

LIFE begins at 40, as the old cliché goes.

But for council tax protestor Steve Peers, it begins behind bars after he was sent down for seven days on his milestone birthday for refusing to pay his total bill.

The father-of-three has been campaigning against year-on-year rises for the 12 years he has lived on Woodhall Lane, WGC, which he says equate to a 130 per cent increase.

Since 2005, he has refused to pay above the rate of inflation on his monthly bills, but was saved from prison in 2006 by an anonymous donor.

He currently owes £44.62, plus court costs.

However, at Central Herts Magistrates' Court on Monday, and after several chances to pay, there was no reprieve.

Speaking before the sentence, he told the WHT: "Going to prison is not on my list of things to do.

"But I don't see any alternative - I have lobbied councillors, MPs and even considered becoming a councillor, but nothing has worked."

He added: "This is a massive increase for which I can see no justification because I am not seeing any improvement for it.

"It is quite simply an abuse of power."

In the St Albans court room Jacqueline Smith, speaking for Welwyn Hatfield Council, said he owed a total of £224.62.

She requested he be sent to prison.

But Peers, a security consultant, said: "It is my 40th birthday today and this is not exactly how I planned to spend it.

"I apologise to the court.

"But my children are already now going without things and it will be about £6,000 for a band D property for them if this carries on.

"I want to be able to look them in the eye and say I tried to do something."

Mrs Mitcheson, chairman of the bench, said he had been given every opportunity to pay, including a suspended sentence, so sent him down for seven days.

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