Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to ensure they collect all the council tax due and that any relief granted, such as the 25% single person discount, is only awarded where there is valid entitlement.
Argyll and Bute Council chief executive Sally Loudon said: “The council has a legal and social responsibility to collect all the council tax due to ensure that everyone in Argyll and Bute receives value for money.
“Any discount given to residents reduces the revenue we are able to collect. We therefore need to ensure that only those people who are due a discount receive one.”
There are currently 15,000 residents claiming the single person discount. Rather than contacting every resident who currently claims, the council will undertake a residency check which will enable it to most efficiently target those residents whose circumstances differ from those recorded on its systems and who may therefore no longer be eligible for the discount.
As part of the review, residents contacted will be given information on the various benefits they may be entitled to claim. This will include details of the type of benefit available, an indication of eligibility criteria, and contact details for residents to use when enquiring about claiming.
Where these checks have been done by other local authorities, the savings for council tax payers have been substantial as a result of ineligible claimants ceasing to claim. This has enabled greater resources to be devoted to vital services.
Any residents who think they may no longer be entitled to a council tax discount should contact the council’s customer service centre on 01546 605511.