Felixstowe: Families charged extra 17p a week on council tax after forms error

Felixstowe

Felixstowe - Credit: Archant

A TOWN’S mayor has apologised over an administrative error which will mean households having to pay an average of 17p extra a week in council tax.

It has now transpired that while Felixstowe Town Council has only increased its budget by 2%, taxpayers will have to pay extra because of a figure mistakenly put on the council’s tax submission forms.

Councillors were told reversing the situation for such a small amount of money per household would be very expensive and not a good use of taxpayers’ money.

The error was made during a complex, confusing and changing set of new Government rules.

Mayor Mike Deacon said: “The Government made an absolute mess of local government financial arrangements and I find it quite easy to understand how our error was made. It’s unfortunate and as mayor I would like to apologise to the community.”

The council had agreed to increase its budget by £10,000 to £508,420 as an insurance against the possible loss of grant and capping next year, but the error will mean it receives an additional £64,904 – the amount it stands to lose next year if grants are axed.

The money will be put into a special reserve fund with the priority for its use to offset the council tax, possibly leading to a tax cut or a long-term freeze.

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Councillor Andy Smith said there was a strong possibility that in future people paying full council tax in Felixstowe could in effect be asked to cover the cost of council tax benefit for the rest, and if the tax was not increased, significant cuts in services may be unavoidable.

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