Review on Single Occupancy Council Tax Discount
Cornwall Council is undertaking a review its single occupancy discount for council tax. For those qualifying for this, you receive a 25% discount off your bill. The reason for this review as it is estimated via national studies, that between 4% and 6% of discounts are fraudulent. The council currently has 78,000 people claiming the discount to the value of £23.8 million, and the council estimates it could be losing £1 million annually. Hence the review.
There has been a few people not very happy with receiving this letter. More so, as a private firm Capita, is doing the review on behalf of the council.
The council via Capita is writing to those properties where an account indicates that the discount maybe incorrect or inappropriate the account holder will be contacted by letter and therefore establish the correct details of the people living in at the address. Capita are also matching all of the accounts, which currently have a discount, against data held by a credit reference agency in order to establish the likelihood of the discount being awarded correctly or incorrectly.
I did wonder how much this firm was being paid, so I asked. The response I got was the company is not being paid anything upfront, but they have some sort of no-win-no-fee arrangement with the council. For this fee to be paid, an account has to be removed, and remain removed for a period of three months. Though, I am not told (yet) how much this fee is.
I am also told Cornwall Council will not have access to data from the matching exercise once letters have been sent. So it is likely the council will not be able to answer queries in relation to specific matches. You will have to contact Capita direct via a specific team set up to manage queries and responses from the review.
They can be contacted by phone on: 0345 302 2311. Phone lines are open: Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm (excluding public holidays) and calls are charged at the local rate. It would be better if it was a freephone. Nor are 0345 numbers charged a local rate from mobile phones.