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‘Mistake’ claim over thousands of Norfolk council tax bills, but council stands by figures

PUBLISHED: 19:33 30 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:42 31 March 2018

Council bosses have said their hands were tied over how to present council tax figures. Picture: Denise Bradley

Council bosses have said their hands were tied over how to present council tax figures. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

Council bosses have defended the way people’s council tax bills have been presented, after people questioned the accuracy of the statements.

The Eastern Daily Press has been contacted by people querying the claim that the percentage change in the adult social care precept - money ringfenced to pay for adult social care - has gone up by 3pc compared to last year.

For instance, in bills for Band E properties, the adult social care precept was £71.65 last year, but has increased to £117.40 for this year. That is a hike of 64pc, yet bills state a 3pc change.

One man who raised the issue said: “I’m not complaining about paying it, but I am annoyed by dishonest figures given in black and white.

“Come on, let’s have a bit of honesty about the costs of local government finance and social care.”

Norfolk County Council, which levies the adult social care precept, said the total payable was correct, but they had to present the bills in a way stipulated by the government.

That means the 3pc change for adult social care is not the increase in the adult social care element itself, despite what the column states.

Rather, the adult social care precept is 3pc of the share of council tax payable to Norfolk County Council.

Bills are split between elements payable to County Hall, district councils, the police and crime commissioner and, in some cases, town and parish councils.

The county council said the stated increase in the adult social care precept was arrived at by adding together the Norfolk County Council share (£1,453.61 in the case of those Band E properties) and adding the adult social care precept of £71.65 to give £1,525.26.

That total is multiplied by 3pc to give the 2018/19 increase in the adult social care precept of £45.75, which is added to the 2017/18 precept of £71.65 to give the total adult social care precept charge of £117.40.

A county council spokesman said: “Neither Norfolk County Council, nor the districts as billing authority, have any discretion over the presentation of council tax bills which is prescribed by government in regulations each year.

“This requires the council to state the change in the adult social care precept compared to the total 2017-18 council tax level - a 3pc increase.”


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