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Dad refuses to pay council tax so he can afford heating and food for daughters


David McCarthy, 46, and his family are feeling the pinch, like millions of households across the UK, due to the rise in living costs and hike in energy prices. David, who has two young children, was outraged to find supermarket vouchers are not being dished out to low-income families in his town during the Easter holidays.

The taxi driver, of Middlesbrough, Teesside, has vowed not to pay his council tax as a result of the struggle.

He said: “I know Middlesbrough Council will send me a lovely nasty letter out for failing to pay my council tax but they’ve failed to provide a much-needed lifeline to quite a lot of people in our area at the time of the worst cost of living crisis I’ve ever known in my lifetime.

“A time when it’s literally heat or eat for many, for my children, I am choosing for them to have both while they’re off.

“I seriously couldn’t tell you anything that hasn’t gone up apart from people’s incomes to match these rises.”

He told Teesside Live it was a “terrible” move to stop the supermarket vouchers for the school break.

The council, which Labour lost to the Independents in 2019, said the government cash which paid for the scheme stopped on March 31.

David raised his concerns with Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston on Twitter and was told that “huge efforts” were made to help people and he was urged to get in touch if he was facing hardship.

The Government left it up to individual councils to decide whether they would continue the voucher scheme for the Easter break.

While Middlesbrough Council and Norfolk County Council, for instance, scrapped theirs, eligible families in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, can still claim £30 worth of vouchers during the holidays. Other authorities, like Camden Council, have capped theirs.

In response, a Middlesbrough Council spokesperson said: “This funding from the Department for Work and Pensions was part of a covid-19 support scheme that closed at the end of March.

“Central government has recently announced that the scheme is to be extended, and the council is awaiting further clarification on the eligibility criteria. An announcement will be made as soon as we’re in a position to do so.”

During the spring statement, it was announced that there would be £500million of new cash for the Household Support Fund.

Council tax, the rate of which varies between different authories, helps to fund local services.

It was introduced in 1993 in England, Scotland and Wales replacing the short-lived and controversial Community Charge, imposed by Margaret Thatcher in 1989.

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