A man from Hadleigh has said it was a "joke" when he opened three envelopes that contained a combined total of 16 double-sided printed pages, informing him of 1p overpayment to his housing benefit.

Donald Cox labelled it as a "comedy act" when he received three letters from Babergh District Council over the course of three months - all three of these are legal requirements on the council.

Mr Cox, who receives housing benefits, was contacted by the council notifying him of his entitlement to the benefit and changes.

Babergh District Council said that Mr Cox had received three letters over the last three months, all of which are required by law they send out, and all printing and postage was covered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The first letter Mr Cox received was on November 30, stating that he was overpaid by 1p, and a penny was written off, this envelope contained a total of five double-sided pages enclosed.

East Anglian Daily Times: The letters received by Mr CoxThe letters received by Mr Cox (Image: Don Cox)

The second envelope sent out on January 11, claimed Mr Cox had received a second overpayment of 2p, which had also been written off.

Mr Cox then received the final envelope on January 22, featuring just two pieces of double-sided paper, stating that withdrawals had been stopped.

Mr Cox said: "When I got the first group of letters, I was reading it all through, and it was telling me that I had been overpaid, and I was starting to get a bit worried because I didn't know by how much.

"I get to the final page, and it said by 1p, which had been written off and I didn't have to pay it, so I thought that was that.

East Anglian Daily Times: Mr Don CoxMr Don Cox (Image: Newsquest)

"Then after Christmas, I received another envelope with nine pages.

"I phoned the council and they put me through and I was told that it was all done by computer.

"She said she would go in manually and sort it out, and then a couple of days later, I get another two pages double-sided come through, just informing me that 2p had been written off."

Mr Cox added: "I think it's just a joke, a bit of a comedy act.

"The serious side of this, is that the council is short on money. They are looking to introduce parking charges in towns to help balance the books.

East Anglian Daily Times: The first letter Mr Cox received notifying him of 1p written offThe first letter Mr Cox received notifying him of 1p written off (Image: Don Cox)

"But then they go and spend all this money to send out letters for 1p or 2p."

A spokesperson from Babergh District Council said: "On November 30 we wrote to Mr Cox advising him that he had been overpaid 1p in council tax benefit and that it would be written off.

“We then wrote to him again on January 11, advising him that he had been overpaid housing benefit by 2p. This amount was also written off.

“Notifying customers of their entitlement to benefits is a statutory duty placed on local authorities, even if the change is only by a penny.

East Anglian Daily Times: The letter highlighting 2pThe letter highlighting 2p (Image: Don Cox)

"The DWP funded this work, including the print and postage costs, however, it is fair to say that sending paper bills generally is one of the rising costs the council faces, which is why, together with the environmental benefit, we encourage everyone to sign up for paperless billing and manage their council tax and rent online via our website.

"It will, however, take more than cutting postage costs to close the budget gaps that local authorities up and down the country are facing. 

"That’s why Babergh’s leaders are calling on the Government to review how councils are funded, so we can continue to deliver the services that our residents and communities rely upon."

East Anglian Daily Times: A final notice stating all withdrawals had been madeA final notice stating all withdrawals had been made (Image: Don Cox)