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Council Tax Crackdown

All households in Tameside claiming a single person discount of 25 per cent on their Council Tax bill are being checked for their authenticity using sophisticated data matching technology.

The move is part of an ongoing review to validate legitimate Single Person Discount Claims and identify and remove those being claimed in error or fraudulently.

The 25 per cent discount, worth a minimum of £250 a year, is given to anyone who claims to be living in a property on their own. At present, 37,051 people in the area claim the discount.

Tameside Council is checking  to see whether people are genuinely living alone, by cross-referencing with other sources of information about their household such as, but not limited to, the electoral-roll registers and financial sector information.

The review process will be carried out for the council by Capita Local Government Services this month and next.

Capita will work with Equifax, the credit reference agency using up-to-the-minute, data-
matching technology to identify cases where people are claiming discounts that they are not entitled to.

Any residents whose claim for Single Persons Discount is under question will be contacted via letter.

If the checks carried out during the review process indicate another adult is living at the address, then the single person discount will be withdrawn.

The single person discount will also be withdrawn in cases where people fail to respond.

Councillor Jim Fitzpatrick, first deputy of Finance and Performance at the council, said: “We will be contacting all those we believe may be claiming incorrectly.

“In the meantime, I would urge anyone who is claiming the discount and whose circumstances have changed to contact us immediately by telephone on (0161) 342 2015.

“The longer you leave it, the larger your backdated bill will be, so it makes sense to tell us as soon as possible.

“Even if you were living alone when you received your bill for the year, if another adult is living with you now, we will need to re-calculate the amount you need to pay.

“People who are genuinely claiming the discount have nothing to worry about, but anyone found to be deliberately misleading us could face a fine of up to £70.”