Council admits administrative error in council tax bills but says cash figure is ‘absolutely accurate’

The error, in red, on Council Tax bills issued to householders

The error, in red, on Council Tax bills issued to householders - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) insists it will not need to distribute new Council Tax bills to homes in the area despite a printing error.

This week, thousands of homes across the district received tax bills which stated that Cambridgeshire County Council’s share of the bill for 2019/2020 had increased by 3.2 per cent, which it should have shown 2.99 per cent.

The district council have admitted the general charge has been ‘overstated’ but the cash figures were ‘absolutely accurate’ and remained ‘unaffected’.

The council also confirmed that new bills will not need to be issued.

Amanda Burns, revenues and benefits manager at the district council, said: “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 per cent, rather than the actual 2.99 per cent 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.”

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According to the district council, 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 are 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.

A spokesman for the district council said: “The figure shown on this year’s HDC bill represents the Council Tax increase on the general charge without last year’s adult social care 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 county council general charge increase at 3.2 per cent, rather than the actual figure which is 2.99 per cent 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 three per cent increase in the county council’s general charge, as the law requires us to round the 2.99 per cent increase figure to one decimal point.”