Broadland and Norwich councils claw back more than £400,000 of false benefit claims

PUBLISHED: 19:02 20 September 2012

City Hall. Picture: Denise Bradley

City Hall. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright Archant Photographic 2011

Council bosses say they have clawed back more than £400,000 from people who were wrongly claiming council tax benefit.

And Norwich and Broadland officials are hoping to uncover more false claims as they launch their latest crackdown.

Both authorities take part in projects which use data-checking technology to ensure claimants of single resident discount – a 25pc reduction offered to people who live on their own – are not living with more people.

If evidence emerges a wrongful claim is being made, it is cancelled.

In 2011/12 Norwich City Council failed to collect £2.7m in council tax benefit, although in the same period it recovered almost £300,000 from false claims.

Broadland District Council was Norfolk’s best council tax collection performer, missing out on £601,000, or 1pc, in 2011/12.

Its last checks identified 400 households out of 16,000 where people were wrongly claiming a discount. This recouped £120,000.

Checks for 2012/13 in Norwich and Broadland are expected to begin next month.

Paul Carrick, left, a councillor and finance cabinet member at Broadland, said: “People who claim a discount to which they are not entitled place an unfair burden on those residents who pay their full liability.

“The council is now using the most up-to-date technology available to ensure that people do not abuse the system; the fact is it is no longer easy to cheat the system.”

The city council says it has 63,976 properties which have a council tax valuation and 26,766 receive single person discounts.

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