A MODERN-DAY “Poor Law” introduced to prevent benefit claimants moving to Tendring could be illegal.

Tendring Council introduced a residency clause to its council tax support scheme last year to cut down on what has been dubbed “benefit tourism”.

It meant no-one could claim council tax benefit unless they had lived in the district for five years.

But a High Court test case decision means the policy could be illegal and the council could face paying back more than £1million. The council was due to renew the policy last week, but suspended it after a court ruling against Sandwell Council in the West Midlands.

Paul Honeywood, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “I am satisfied our policy does not discriminate in the same way as Sandwell’s policy.

“The judgment is currently being considered and we are still awaiting confirmation as to whether Sandwell Council will appeal to a higher court.”