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Beccles man's shock at 2p council tax demand

PUBLISHED: 10:36 18 February 2011 | UPDATED: 10:36 18 February 2011

Beccles pensioner John Sharp who has been sent a 2p council tax bill by Waveney District Council.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Beccles pensioner John Sharp who has been sent a 2p council tax bill by Waveney District Council. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

A PENSIONER from Beccles has hit out after being sent a council tax demand for 2p.

John Sharp, of Nicholson Drive, was amazed when he opened a five-page letter from Waveney District Council telling him that he owed them just two pence.

The great-great-grandfather was assured that the money would be taken out of his account using direct debit after his council tax benefit had been “adjusted”.

Mr Sharp said: “2p and they sent a five-page letter by post!

“I was so wild about it, I thought I had to contact somebody and tried phoning them but got an answerphone.

“I’m not going to send a letter because it is going to cost me more than the 2p.”

The letter, which was issued on February 3, explained that the 2p related to his bill for four days from March 28 to 31, and that the money would be taken from his account on March 1.

It said that the council tax benefit had been adjusted from March 28 because “the government have introduced a new scheme for pensions from October and this affects your benefit entitlement.”

Mr Sharp, 79, said: “I can’t understand half of it as there is so much jargon.

“All it means is that they want 2p off me which is nothing in a sense. It is the principle of it, especially as it relates to something that happened in October and I have no idea about this.”

Mr Sharp, a retired transport manager, described the letter as “crazy” and wondered how many other people had received a similar demand.

A Waveney District Council spokesman said: “Council tax benefit is ‘means tested’ and automatic calculations can sometimes throw up these somewhat odd figures.

“We completely understand why this may appear unnecessary and, of course, it would make sense simply to write such a small amount off.

“However, we cannot do this as we must, by law, notify all benefits claimants of their entitlements and payments regardless of the actual amount.

“Additionally, there was no additional cost as we are now sending out benefit notifications with council tax bills, unlike many other councils, which send them out separately.”

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