Fenland Council Tax collection rate is up thanks to weekly payment scheme
- Credit: Archant
Allowing weekly payments on the Council Tax has led to a better collection rate according to officers at Fenland District Council.
Fenland’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee was told by Rob Bridge, council’s Corporate Director, that the change in the way people can pay their bill has made a “huge difference” with the collection rate up.
A chance to pay over 12 months instead of the statutory 10 months has also helped.
Mr Bridge was responding to comments made by Councillor Virginia Bucknor, who was worried about the way householders are forced to pay the entire amount outstanding when they miss payments rather than just catching up with the months they have missed.
Geoff Kent, the council’s Customer Services Manager, said people are aware of the rules especially as many of those who fall into arrears have lived in the district for a number of years and know they will be expected to clear the whole balance if they fall behind.
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Mr Kent told the meeting: “It is a challenging issue and difficult to separate the people who cannot pay and who will not pay.”
The report to the meeting also stated that the number of reminders sent in 2014 was down by eight per cent on the previous year despite a reduction in the amount of Council Tax Support available to those on benefits.
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Pensioners are protected under government rules, which means they can still have up to 100 per cent of their Council Tax paid, But under a changed scheme introduced by the government last year working age people were not protected.
They were facing a drop in the amount of support they were entitled from 100 per cent to 80 per cent, which meant they would have to pay at least 20 per cent of their Council Tax bill.
However Fenland was able to implement a scheme whereby those people faced a maximum bill of 14 per cent after the council cut exemptions given on empty properties across the district.
And the recommendation approved by Overview and Scrutiny recommended keeping it at the same level for the forthcoming financial year, and this was officially rubber stamped by the full council on December 18.