A BLACKBURN woman dependent on benefits is struggling to pay her household expenses after her council tax payments more than doubled.

Susan Anker’s bill shot up from £215.21 for 2018/19 to £446.58 for 2019/20 mainly because the town hall now charges her an extra £5 a week for her 22-year-old student daughter Jade who lives with her.

Miss Anker, 44, of Queen Victoria Street in Mill Hill, is one of 1,029 residents of Blackburn with Darwen hit by this year’s change to the borough’s Council Tax Support Scheme.

She does not work as she cares for her 45-year-old partner David Simpson, who has a back injury and suffers from depression, and her 73-year-old elderly father Les who has dementia and lives nearby.

The family’s total benefits income is around £350 a fortnight while her monthly council tax payment has risen from £21.50 to £44.50.

Miss Anker said: “I am really struggling to pay my household bills now.

“I couldn’t believe the increase in my council tax.

“Our benefits have not changed for several years but costs have gone up.

“So far I have not charged Jade, a student at Blackburn College who works part-time at McDonald’s in Clitheroe, for board and lodging as she is saving to leave home.

“Now I am going to have to which means she will have to stay with us for longer.

“It is not fair. I just want people to know what is happening to families like ours.

“There will be many other people who are a lot worse off than we are who will be even harder hit. I blame the government and its cuts, not the council.”

Cllr Andy Kay, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s finance boss, said: “This is really difficult.

“I will check her bill to make sure it is correct. She can apply for the exceptional hardship fund we brought in this year.

“We had to change the council tax support scheme to save money. The council has to pay for front-line services such as children’s services and adult social care.

“The government’s cuts are ultimately responsible for this.”

Mill Hill and Moorgate wards Cllr Damian Talbot said: “This sounds like a hard case. I will support her application to the exceptional hardship fund.”

Cllr John Slater, leader of the council Tory group, said: “There are unfortunately hard cases but the council has to reduce its spending for the national good.”