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Council says sorry to disabled residents over tax bill blunder
12:40pm Tuesday 5th February 2013 in News
COUNCIL bosses have apologised to disabled residents who were incorrectly told they would have to fork out hundreds of pounds extra in council tax.
Tendring Council leader Peter Halliday has issued an apology to those sent a letter about changes to the amount of council tax they will pay from April 1.
From April, the national council tax benefit scheme will be abolished and local councils have been forced to come up with their own schemes.
In Tendring, working-age households that were previously exempt from paying council tax will need to find an average of £5 a week.
But some on Disability Living Allowance (DLA), who currently pay no council tax, were told they would have to pay the full amount.
One resident who said he was “already almost on the breadline” was told he would need to find an extra £1,200 a year to pay his council tax bill.
Mr Halliday said the letters had “regrettably” been sent to a small number of residents and he is “extremely sorry” for any distress it has caused.
The letter said the disability allowance would be counted as part of their income under the authority’s new council tax support scheme.
“DLA was never meant to be counted in income calculations under the new scheme and I apologise that a very small minority of people have been sent incorrect information,” he said.
“These people will receive a new letter to put their minds at rest and clear up this matter for them.”
He said that other benefits such as Child Benefit, War Widow’s Pension and Attendance Allowance are also exempt and would not form part of the income calculations.