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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Woman 'ready for jail' over tax
Angela Richards leaving court
Angela Richards leaving Rhondda magistrates' court
A woman from south Wales says she is prepared to go to prison rather than pay her council tax.

On Friday, magistrates in Llwynypia, Rhondda, ordered Angela Richards to pay almost 1,000 arrears.

But she says the tax is unfair and she will face the consequences even if that means jail.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council said it had "explored all the options available to assist Mrs Richards meet her council tax liability".

Mrs Richards said her house in Aberdare was damaged by building work in a neighbouring property five years ago.

Since then she claimed it has been uninhabitable - and has been refusing to pay council tax on the property.

The council said the house was fit to live in and she had chosen to live elsewhere.

Magistrates granted a liability order to make Mrs Richards pay the money she owes.

But Mrs Richards, who is leader of the "Is It Fair?" campaign against the council tax in Wales, said she would not pay and was prepared to go to prison.

Campaign banner
Mrs Richards is involved with an anti-council tax campaign called "Is it Fair?"

She said the tax discriminated against people on lower or fixed incomes and the re-banding announced in Wales this week would make matters worse.

"The system is completely flawed and unfair, it doesn't take into account the ability to pay," she said.

"There are people affected by this all over Britain from all walks of life."

Keith Griffiths, the council's group director of corporate services, said council tax benefit regulations did not permit the council to consider an application for assistance on the house.

"Mrs. Richards has been advised to make an application for council tax benefit on the rented flat she now lives at, but she has chosen not to do so," he said.

An independent valuation tribunal heard an application for the Dean Street property to be deleted from the council tax valuation list.

"After considering all the evidence the tribunal decided to dismiss the appeal and the valuation was confirmed as correct," said Mr Griffiths.

"In view of this, under council tax legislation Mrs Richards is liable for payment of council tax on the property."




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