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Two blunders over village's council tax bills see council fork out £7,000

PUBLISHED: 15:16 13 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 13 April 2019

Breckland Council mistakenly told residents of Weasenham, between Dereham and Fakenham, the wrong amount that they had to pay for council tax. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council mistakenly told residents of Weasenham, between Dereham and Fakenham, the wrong amount that they had to pay for council tax. Picture: Ian Burt

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A council tax bill blunder - and a second mistake included in an apology letter - has seen a council fork out £7,000 to cover a shortfall caused by the errors.

Breckland Council mistakenly told residents of Weasenham, between Dereham and Fakenham, the wrong amount to pay for the Weasenham Parish Council precept part of their bills.

The original bills said the parish council precept was reduced by 21.8pc compared to the previous year, when actually it should have shown an increase of 56.4pc.

Breckland Council sent a letter to inform those who were affected by the mistake, but the second letter also included an error.

The letter said the correct amount that should have been shown was a 6.3pc increase, but really it should have shown the actual increase of 56.4pc.

A one off payment of £7,000 will now be made to Weasenham Parish Council from Breckland Council’s reserves in order to make up for the shortfall caused by the mistake and to ensure that the parish council gets the money it was expecting.

The letter sent out to residents affected also said: “Please be aware that the bill issued in March 2020 may show a bigger change than most years, as it will be comparing a normal year’s tax with this year’s mistakenly reduced figure. The action we are taking to address this matter means it will have no bearing on the tax you pay next year.”

Breckland Council has apologised for the error and said it is taking steps to ensure it does not happen again.

A spokesperson said: “We regret that due to an administrative error when compiling this year’s tax bills, the full precept set by Weasenham Parish Council was not included in the calculations and so tax bills for that area were mistakenly set too low.

“Having considered the options to address this, Breckland Council has decided to fund the shortfall of around £7,000 from its reserve fund and has written to around 170 households which are affected to confirm the situation.

“This option is more cost-effective than the alternative of convening a special meeting of full council to review and again agree council tax levels and then re-issue new bills.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for the error and to reassure our residents that we are taking steps to avoid this happening in the future.”

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