More than £500,000 council tax refunded in 2017/18

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Town hall bosses in South Tyneside dished out more than £500,000 in council tax refunds last year.

Figures provided by South Tyneside Council (STC) through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed a total of £575,525 was handed back in 2017/18.

Throughout the year, the council received 2,861 applications for total or partial refunds.

This included 146 discounts and 126 exemptions issued on the basis of a severe mental impairment.

This is open to people with conditions such as dementia.

The council currently estimates there are 155 households eligible for an exemption on their council tax and a further 200 that could qualify for a discount.

A spokesman for the council said: “We are fully committed to making residents aware of the discounts available for Council Tax.

“These discounts are publicised both on the Council Tax leaflet which is sent out with every Council Tax bill and the Council’s website.

“However people must apply for the discount.

“We would encourage people to contact the Council Tax Team who will provide comprehensive advice on the qualifying criteria and supporting evidence required.

“This will ensure that where appropriate, discounts and exemptions are fully backdated.”

Council tax is used to pay for a range of council services, including schools, social care for adults and children, libraries and bin collections.

Annual bills are based on a property’s value, which leave a household in the highest rating, Band H, paying £3,395.70 a year.

This is triple the £1,131.90 paid by households in the lowest bracket, Band A.

Discounts to council tax are available to full time students, student nurses and some apprentices.

People living alone are entitled to have a quarter sliced off their bill, while anyone who has been in care in South Tyneside and still lives in the borough is entitled to an exemption up to the age of 25.

A disability reduction is on offer to those who have needed to have their home adapted to meet their needs.

Council tax support is also an option and can be claimed by households which are already receiving discounts.

Visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/counciltax to find out more.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service