HC Deb 17 May 1999 vol 331 c244W
Mr. Bob Russell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what procedures are available to a local authority to take action against individuals who wrongly claim the single person's household council tax discount; and what monitoring he undertakes to ensure that local authorities check the validity of those claiming such a discount. [84034]

Mr. Meale

Billing authorities are under a duty in relation to each financial year to take "reasonable steps" to ascertain whether any discount applies to a dwelling before calculating the bill. It is for individual authorities to decide what action to take in the light of local circumstances but it usually takes the form of a written request for information from each household. Authorities also have powers to request information from certain public bodies such as the electoral registration officer. if a person receiving a discount fails to notify the authority that he is no longer (or never was) eligible for it he may be subject to a penalty 0f £50. It is for the local authority's auditor to satisfy itself that the local authority has the necessary procedures in place to fulfil its statutory duties.