Crackdown on false ‘alone’ claims for council tax reduction

FENLAND District Council is actively pursuing people who falsely claim that they live alone in order to get a 25 per cent discount in their council tax.

Councillor John Clark, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for finance, said: “We are taking part in a countywide review aimed at identifying anyone who is cheating.

“More than 12,000 Fenland households get the discount. Most are entitled to it but we know that some claimants are not. In some cases that will be unintentional or simply because someone has recently moved or not told us about another person living with them.

“In such cases, individuals need to contact us immediately and we can resolve the matter. But where changes have happened and we have not been told, this could be fraud and we may need to take the discount away.

“People that commit fraud affect everyone who legitimately pays their council tax. This is because when the council tax is set we have to take account of the households getting reductions.

“The law also allows us to prosecute people who fraudulently claim council tax discounts and force them to pay back what they were not entitled to. We have a responsibility to everyone to do all we can to stamp out council tax fraud in the same way that we stamp out benefit fraud.”