'Misleading' claim over Norfolk council tax bills

Norfolk County Council is to ask the public what they think of an increase in their share of council

Council tax bills have been criticised as being 'misleading' - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

'Misleading' council tax bills, which state the adult social care element paid to Norfolk County Council is going up by 2pc - when it is actually a hike of around 23pc - have come in for criticism.

Council bosses acknowledged the way bills are presented has caused "confusion", but say the government mandates how they are displayed.

This newspaper has been contacted by people who have questioned the published percentage change in the adult social care precept  - money ringfenced for adult social care.

Norfolk County Council agreed to an overall 3.99pc increase in its share of the council tax bills - with that figure based on a Band D property - in February.

That includes an adult social care precept - a 2pc increase on the entire council tax paid to County Hall the year before, rather than a 2pc increase on the adult social care element.

But the bills describe the adult social care precept as a 2pc change.

Yet, for a Band B property, the adult social care precept went up from £95.83 a year to £117.81 and in a Band D home it increased from £123.21 to £151.47 this year.

Those are both 22.9pc increases, not a 2pc change.

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Reader Kevin Webb, from Fakenham, has raised the issue with councils and MPs and said the way the bills are presented is "misleading".

He said: "I have no real objection to the overall increase, although it is, of course, far above the rate of inflation and any increase in pay I am likely to receive.

"However, I am aware funding to local councils has been dramatically reduced by the current government and, as such, increases in certain areas are inevitable.

"All I expect is that these increases are presented in an honest way so that everyone is provided with facts."

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: “The manner in which a resident’s council tax bill is presented, including the adult social care precept increase being expressed as a percentage of the county council’s total council tax charge for the previous year, is mandated by the government and not at the discretion of the council.

"We are aware of some confusion that this has caused, and have previously raised the concerns of council taxpayers about this presentation with the government.”

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