COUNCIL tax protesters rallied outside St Albans Magistrates Court yesterday to support a father facing bailiffs - and possibly a second spell in prison - over his unpaid bill.

Around 12 members of the Tax Payers Alliance supported Steve Peers and his family outside court waving placards and handing out leaflets.

Steve Peers, 40, from Welwyn Garden City, was summoned to court by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council after refusing to pay £65 of his 2007/08 council tax bill.

Withholding the amount - the increase above the rate of inflation - is part of his protest against ever increasing council tax bills which he says are crippling families.

The court granted the council a liability order for the amount, which rose to £172.65 with costs.

Steve, who has three-year-old twin daughters and an eight-year-old step-son, told the magistrates: "I'd like to apologise for taking up your time, I assure you I take this very seriously. I don't believe the council has executed its duties in a responsible fashion. I have had a 138 per cent increase in my council tax over the last 11 years for less than 138 per cent increase in quality of services and amenities.

"I have no choice for me and my family but to oppose the council's own self-awarded increases. I do not believe I am liable to pay this amount of council tax."

In response District Judge Allison said: "I hear your protest but our hands are tied. I have to administer the law."

In January his refusal to pay £42 of his 2006/07 bill saw him jailed for seven days, and Steve says he is prepared to do it again if he has to.

After court Steve said: "The magistrates were very gracious and I'm pleased they heard me out. This is not a good place to find myself, but it is a worthwhile sacrifice.

"I expected a liability order to be granted. I'm prepared for the bailiffs and I know my rights, so I expect I'll be back in court facing prison.

"I'll do this for as long as I am able."

Tim Aker, campaign co-ordinator for the Tax Payers Alliance which campaigns for lower taxes, said its protest and support for Steve was well received in St Albans.

Steve can be contacted at