Neighbours help us carry on camping say women in fifth week of tent life

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A widow and her daughter made homeless over a council tax dispute are facing their fifth week of living under canvas.

Marilyn Robinson-White has been living in a two-man tent with her daughter, Sarah Robinson, 41, behind their former home in Kempston after they claim Bedford Borough Council forced her into bankruptcy and they were evicted.

The pair have vowed to stay there, remaining convinced the council has made a clerical error over council tax exemption documents.

Mrs Robinson-White said they could not survive without the support of her neighbours.

She added: “They have been excellent. They bring us hot water and toast in the morning. We feel safer knowing they are checking on us.”

The 63-year-old’s personal belongings were due to be cleared from the house on Monday but remain inside as the clearance was cancelled.

The dispute dates from 2006 and a legal battle has taken costs to more than £50,000.

Bedford Borough Council does not accept that the council tax arrears are the result of clerical errors made by the council.

A spokeswoman said: “Bedford Borough Council continues to offer support and helpful advice to Mrs Robinson-White. Our staff would do this for any member of the public with housing needs.”

The pair have laid extra paving slabs and covering the path with branches and twigs.

Mrs Robinson-White added: “It’s not easy living like this. We spend a lot of time clearing the mud and it is quite treacherous when it rains.”