'I worry about how I am going to live one week from the next'

Stanley Sheinwald's council tax has gone up 21 per cent, while his pension has risen by just £2 a week.

Stanley Sheinwald's council tax has gone up 21 per cent, while his pension has risen by just £2 a week.

The pensioner, 65, lives on his own in a one-bedroomed flat in Hatch End, Middlesex. His wife suffers from multiple sclerosis and is cared for in a nursing home.

Until last year, Mr Sheinwald's council tax was £93 per month.

In the last budget, Mr Sheinwald found himself £2 a week better off. But that has been wiped out by the £19 a month hike in his council tax to £112. The rises by Labour-controlled Harrow Council have left pensioners among the hardest-hit.

A lifelong Labour voter, Mr Sheinwald is infuriated by the increase and has set up a pensioners' action group to campaign against the rises. He said: "Last year, I used the first week of my pension to pay my council tax; now I'm having to dip into the second week as well just to pay the bill, and that's outrageous.

"I have to worry all the time about how I'm going to live from one week to the next, but I don't see the local services getting any better. The bins at the bottom of our road are overflowing and the schools are in debt. There are 11 million pensioner votes out there, and Labour is going to lose them if they are not careful, because council tax is hitting us so hard."

Sandra Finch has been hit by one of the biggest council tax rises in London – a 27 per cent increase imposed by Croydon Council. The widow, 55, lives in Coulsdon, Surrey, and is about to take medical retirement from the Home Office. She lives in a detached, four-bedroomed house graded as Band F for council tax purposes. As a one-person household she receives a 20 per cent discount on the council tax, and up until last year paid £92 a month.

Last month her monthly payments went up to £115.

"It does make a difference to what I can afford to spend on myself," she said. "Living on my own and not being well, it is nice to get out, but £23 extra a month is equivalent to going out for a meal."



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