Falkirk Council’s SNP Group Leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, has blasted recently introduced changes in Council Tax collection procedures as “a full frontal attack on hard working families and diligent pensioners”.
The SNP leader was reacting to new procedures implemented this week for the first time whereby Falkirk Council are referring Council Tax Accounts to the Sheriff Officers if taxpayers don’t pay their account by the 1st of each month even though they have a record of paying their account mid-month or at the end of each month.
This has resulted in fees being added on to the account of 10% of the outstanding value of the remaining balance causing hardship and misery to hundreds of local families and individuals already suffering through the recession according to the SNP.
Mrs Meiklejohn said,
“The new collection procedures introduced by the Labour / Tory Administration are nothing short of a scandal.
People are facing court warrants and surcharges on their Council Tax Bills for no other reason than they pay their Council Tax when they receive their salary or pension. All of the people who have approached SNP Councillors are diligent Council Tax payers who pay their account monthly and who have faithfully paid their bills midmonth or at the end of each month for years.
The Scottish Government have funded the Council Tax freeze for the last seven years because they recognise the difficulty many families are facing at this point in time. However, that relief is lost if the Labour / Tory Administration within Falkirk Council are going to slap on 10% surcharges for no better reason than the taxpayer pays at the end of the month rather than the beginning.”
Councillor Meiklejohn has written to Labour Group Leader Craig Martin and Tory leader, Depute Provost John Patrick calling for the scrapping of this policy and return to “sensible management with a human face”.
Said Cllr Meiklejohn,
“From speaking to staff these warrants are generated automatically without a single human being having the opportunity to check the pattern of payments to the account.
This is not only unfair but a license to print easy money for the Sheriff Officers at the expense of hard pressed families.
This policy therefore runs contrary to the public statements made by the current council leaders.
With the Tory welfare reforms about to kick in, reforms the council’s current leaders have refused to condemn, there could not have been a worse time for the council’s coalition administration to have introduced this latest attack on hard pressed families and individuals.”
In addition to her call for these surcharges to be removed Cllr Meiklejohn is seeking clarification of when these changes were agreed by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee as the SNP suspect that no such authority exists.