AN unrelenting council tax protester has spoken about his five-day stint in prison, and says he's prepared to do it again.

Steven Peers, 40, endured the punishment at Bedford Prison earlier this month after refusing to pay the amount above the rate of inflation on his monthly bills.

The father of three believes that rising council tax rates have become "a major abuse of power", paying 130 per cent more than when he moved from St Albans to Woodhall Lane, Welwyn Garden City, 11 years ago.

On Monday, January 7, Steve's 40th birthday, he was sentenced to seven days at St Albans Magistrates Court for withholding £44.62 of his 2006/2007 bill.

Steve, who was released two days early, said: "The aim has always been to change things, not to go to prison.

"I was crestfallen when they put the handcuffs on me.

"I'm an average working, law-abiding father, and I think it's terribly sad that civil disobedience is the only way to make a difference.

"The thought of going to prison was scarier than the reality.

"I'm not saying it's great to go to prison, but it wasn't as bad as I thought - I have stayed in worse B&Bs.

"It was very bearable.

"I had time to mentally and physically prepare but it was horrible to see Sarah upset and to not see the children.

"I think sending people to prison for not paying their council tax is a measure of how scared the system is that people are rebelling.

"With the prisons in the state they are in now, it just makes it me even more mad.

"I haven't met anyone who isn't astounded - not least in prison.

"Even criminals inside for robbery and assault charges said what is this country coming to?'.

"It was interesting to learn what other people had done, and then hear the laughter when they heard what I had done.

"I didn't feel threatened or intimidated at all, and in fact the others were very supportive. "

Steve began research into council tax around four years ago and worked out that if it continues to rise at the rate it is now, his three-year-old twin daughters will be paying £6,000 a year by the time they are living independently.

He added: "Nobody likes paying taxes, we do it because it's necessary but this is now a major abuse of power at all levels.

"Councils have a duty to deliver their services within a budget, but for the last 11 years council tax has risen above the rate of inflation.

"I feel aggrieved for my family. How on earth will our children and grandchildren cope, or the elderly on fixed pensions?

"What incentive is there to be an upstanding and hardworking member of society anymore?

"It's right that we support vulnerable people in society, but we need to look after ourselves - the people who really contribute to our society.

"I need to tell my family I tried, I didn't just sit on the sofa and moan about it but that I did something to make a change."

Steve's offence is not criminal but civil, which makes a difference to the way it affects his life.

He has no criminal record, neither his DNA or fingerprints have been taken and it has not affected his credit history.

He vows he will do it all again if it comes to it, and has already thrown his latest outstanding council tax bill for 2007/2008 away.

  • What do you think? Would you go to jail to put a stop to spiralling council tax bills? Tell us below.