People queue for two hours at pawn shops to cash the tax refund check – despite a £15 fee

A pawnbroker in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, had to turn customers away on Thursday because demand was so high they ran out of money

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Desperate Brits have been lining up in pawn shops to collect their £150 tax rebates because they can’t afford to wait for the money.

A pawnbroker’s cash shop in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, had to turn customers away briefly on Thursday because demand was so high they ran out of money.

The shop charges 7.9% commission and a £2.99 handling fee, meaning those cashing a £150 rebate check should expect to pay around £135.

More than 50 people queued in front of the cash shop on Wednesday after 200 people were reported there the previous day.

Cash was delivered at 1pm – some customers had waited two hours by then.

The line outside the Cash Shop in Rotherham was very long on Thursday


Matthew Lofthouse SWNS)

Other downtown pawnshops had put up signs that read, “We don’t cash checks.”

The money will be distributed by local authorities to the poorest households to help with the cost of living crisis.

For those who choose not to pay their council tax by direct debit, a check will be issued instead.

Rotherham Council advised using a bank, post office or local authority to avoid charges.

But some of those waiting said they couldn’t afford to wait days for a check to be cashed at their bank.

Terri Sykes gave up when she saw the snake


Matthew Lofthouse SWNS)

Terri Sykes, 34, went down to the store to cash the check and gave up when she saw the line.

The Rotherham woman said: “They sent it to my partner even though I’m the one who handles all the finances and he doesn’t have a bank account.

“We’re in the middle of moving so I don’t have time to queue, it’s a mess.”

Carly Stubbs, 32, was standing in line at a Ramsdens pawn shop. She said: “I’ve been down three times now and the queue is a mile long each time.

“I’m with Monzo, so there’s no personal bank, you have to mail it and it takes weeks.”

The demand was so great that Cash Shop had to get more money delivered


Matthew Lofthouse SWNS)

Aaron Parker, 39, told a local radio station his bank had closed its local branch and would have had to walk seven miles to Sheffield to cash it at his bank.

He said he was desperate for cash as he had no gas or electricity and all he had to do at night was rummage through bins for food.

Aaron said the money from his council tax refund would allow him to pay some bills and buy back his phone from Cash Converters, which he previously sold for £35.

Carly Stubbs, 32, said she’s seen long lines outside pawnbrokers three times recently


Matthew Lofthouse SWNS)

He said: “I got £134 so lost £16 but that money will get me through today.”

A man, who asked not to be named, criticized the council’s provision of the rebate, which has seen 31,000 checks written over the past week.

Outside the Cash Shop, he said: “It just goes to show that those in power don’t really know what’s going on in people’s lives.

“Not everyone has access to a bank account or can wait for the money to be released. We need the money, I know I do. I’m covered So if I put it in my bank I would just reduce my overdraft, I wouldn’t really see the benefit so I’d rather cash it in and be able to use it.”

Signs at other pawnshops tell customers they don’t cash checks


Matthew Lofthouse SWNS)

Councilor Chris Read, Chair of Rotherham Council, said: “Paying these Council Tax energy support payments within the criteria set by the Government has been a major challenge for all councils.

“We know people are struggling so our aim was to get them the money as quickly as possible and we looked at a number of options to do this without the need for an application process.

“Over 114,000 payments have been made to date, accounting for nearly all eligible households in Rotherham. We believe we are one of the few regions in the country that has managed to do this so quickly.

“In the last week, 31,000 checks have been written, mostly to people who don’t pay their council tax by direct debit. We encourage people to deposit this into their bank account.

“Those who prefer not to cash the check themselves or deposit it into a bank account have the option to return it with their bank details if they wish so we can deposit the money directly into their account free of charge.

“We also offer unbanked people the option to return the check with their phone number so we can schedule an appointment for the cash payment.

“Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution or template for payments of this magnitude that suits everyone’s circumstances and everyone is trying to make the best of this difficult situation.”

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