New hope on Council Tax bills

By Richard SmithCOUNCIL Tax campaigners have stepped up the pressure for the widespread introduction of 12-monthly bills.Now Suffolk County Council is considering the request from the campaigners to urge all billing authorities to spread payments over 12 months, instead of a 10-month arrangement.

By Richard Smith

COUNCIL Tax campaigners have stepped up the pressure for the widespread introduction of 12-monthly bills.

Now Suffolk County Council is considering the request from the campaigners to urge all billing authorities to spread payments over 12 months, instead of a 10-month arrangement.

The Protest Against Council Tax Suffolk (PACTS) group held a two-hour meeting with the county council on Saturday to discuss fairer ways of billing taxpayers and to try to ensure this year's huge rise of 18.5% is not repeated.


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Bryony Rudkin, council leader, said yesterday the authority did not have the power to make district and borough councils, who bill taxpayers, impose a 12-monthly system.

There are some councils in Suffolk who currently only spread the payments over 10 months and that leads to higher monthly bills, compared with councils who ask taxpayers to pay every month.

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Suffolk Coastal District Council has warned switching to 12 payments would have a major impact on its cash flow and would "inevitably" mean an increase in bills.

Officers have said the current system allowed people who ran up arrears to have two months to clear them before the next bills arrived.

Reg Hartles, of PACTS, said: "A lot of people find it very much easier to pay over the whole year, but the council said they can only suggest, they cannot dictate this."

The pressure group also asked the county council to establish if the Government could bring in new rules to increase the amount contributed by staff to their pensions.

Ms Rudkin said the issue of 12-monthly Council Tax bills would be raised at a meeting attended by all council chief executives in Suffolk.

She added the Government was analysing pensions and that was being discussed through the Local Government Association.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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