Merton Council has called on the government to abolish outdated laws that allow councils to jail residents for non-payment of council tax.

The council says that, although they haven't jailed anyone for non-payment of council tax in more than ten years. The practice still happens across the country – with around 700 people jailed in that period because they can’t afford their payments.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance Councillor Mark Allison, has written to Secretary of State for Communities, Robert Jenrick, to ask for "common sense to prevail."

Councillor Allison said: “It’s a fundamental wrong that in this country you can be jailed for being poor or living in poverty.  

"I hope Mr Jenrick listens to these concerns at this critical time for so many hard-working families.

Yes, everyone needs to pay their council tax – it pays for the services to help those in need, and our services have never been more critical than during the pandemic. But how can it be fair to jail someone because they can’t afford to pay it?

“With thousands in London on low incomes currently staring at an even longer period of hardship, we need to scrap this unnecessary threat to people who are simply struggling financially.”