November 8, 2011

UK: Elderly woman, 87, hit with bill for one pence

DONCASTER, England / South Yorkshire Times / November 8, 2011

Anne Quince pictured with the Council Tax bill she received for her mother Emily totalling £1.06. Picture: Marie Caley 

A PENSIONER living in a care home has been left reeling after being slapped with a council tax bill for a penny!

Emily Keilty, 87, was shocked after her daughter Anne Quince opened the Doncaster Council letter which included a bill for 1p for 2011/12 plus a further £1.05 for a balance brought forward from 2002/03.

On the bill the authority said Mrs Keilty, who lives at St Mary’s Nursing Home in Thorne Road, had until October 26 to pay the penny and that she must pay the overdue £1.05 “immediately to avoid recovery action being taken”.

Mrs Quince, who helps her mum with her letters and bills, said the four sheets of paper was a waste of council money in a time when the authority should be making savings.

“It’s ridiculous and probably cost them more to send out the letter in the first place than the cost of the bill itself,” said the 60-year-old, of Wolsey Avenue, Intake. “My mum just laughed at it when I told her, we both just couldn’t believe it. “They’re telling us they need to make all of these savings but then they’re sending out four bits of paper with a silly amount on them, wasting paper, time and money.

“It beggars belief. It’s very stupid indeed. I help my mum out with paying for bills because she can’t do it by herself anymore so settling this could have meant I would have had to get on the bus which would cost me £4, all to pay off a £1.06 bill. I just want to make people aware of this because I’m sure my mum is not the first and may not be the last.”

After the Free Press contacted the council about Mrs Keilty’s bill, the authority said the pensioner would not have to pay - however Mrs Quince had already settled the bill.

Steve Mawson, Doncaster Council’s assistant director of finance and performance, said: “We are committed to reducing spending as much as possible and do not usually send out bills for less than £1.

“We have looked into this particular case that relates to a balance from a previous financial year. Given the nature of this small amount we are satisfied to write this amount off and no further recovery action will be taken. We have reviewed our processes to make sure this doesn’t happen again and apologise for any confusion this may have caused.”

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