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April 2019 - Error in Council tax bills explained

posted 8 Apr 2019, 02:37 by N Day   [ updated 28 Nov 2019, 09:36 ]
The recent council tax bills had an error in the way they showed the percentage increase in the County Council component of the bill. The following explanation has been issued by HDC - but basically, the error is purely in the explanation of how the figure was calculated, and NOT an error in the final amount that we all have to pay:

Amanda Burns, Revenues and Benefits Manager, said: “Huntingdonshire District Council collects Council Tax on behalf of a number of organisations including Cambridgeshire County Council. These bills have been issued within the last week setting out the Council Tax amounts that are due to be paid in 2019/20, and details of these organisations and their charges are clearly stated on the bill.

Following media coverage over the past few days, we can confirm that the total amount of Council Tax shown on residents’ bills and the respective amounts for each of the organisations is correct. However, the percentage figure for the increase in the County Council general charge has been overstated at 3.2%, rather than the actual 2.99% correctly requested by the County Council. Cash figures remain unaffected.

As the amounts billed for are correct, there is no need for the Council to reissue Council Tax bills. Payments should be made in line with the instalment schedule shown on the Council Tax bill. Information about the Council Tax charged by other organisations can be found in the leaflet sent with the bill, or on the appropriate authority’s websites”.

The reasons for the issue are as follows:

National changes in 2016/17 enabled the County Council to levy an additional charge to meet Adult Social care pressures, and the funding raised is used specifically to provide adult care services.

Any County Council tax increase in subsequent years is then calculated in terms of the increase on the previous year’s total charge; that is the Cambridgeshire County Council general charge plus the separate Adult Social Care element. The figure shown on this year’s HDC bill represents the Council Tax increase on the general charge without last year’s ASC increase included. This is in line with how the calculation took place prior to introduction of the Adult Social Care charge. This had the presentational effect of overstating the CCC general charge increase at 3.2%, rather than the actual figure which is 2.99% in real terms. Importantly the cash figure that people pay is absolutely accurate.
This issue has now been manually addressed, and any future bills sent by HDC will show a 3.0% increase in the County Council’s General charge, as the law requires us to round the 2.99% increase figure to 1 decimal point.